I’m lucky. So very lucky. My family and I always have good, healthy food on our table. My kids never have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from or going hungry; unlike 16 MILLION children in this country. That’s 1 in 5 American kids living with food insecurity.
To help promote awareness about this issue, today I am participating in The Giving Table’s Food Bloggers Against Hunger campaign. The campaign has asked food bloggers to share a recipe using a very modest budget of about $3-4 per person. For my recipe, I made an effort to incorporate protein, complex carbohydrates and lots of fresh vegetables.
In truth, this was an eye opening experience for me and made me realize how much I take for granted when I shop at the grocery store. I had to put a lot of thought into finding healthy food that I could stretch the furthest for the least amount of money. This meant that for the most part, organic was not an option.
(I bought all of this food for $14.71 at my local grocery store.)
I went with a staple meal, beans and rice, that is relied upon by many cultures around the world. This is a healthy meatless option that provides the body with much of the nutrients it needs. After making it, I had enough rice and cabbage left over for at least one more full meal.
Red Beans + Rice
2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
28 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
Prepare rice according to package directions. This should take 35-40 minutes on the stovetop. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery and green pepper and cook until onion is opaque and vegetables are softened. Add kidney beans and cajun seasoning and heat through. To serve, place generous portion of rice on plate and top with bean mixture.
1/2 head cabbage, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into strips or grated
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp sugar
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, red pepper, carrots and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, seasoning and sugar. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Can be made ahead and refrigerated before serving.
Ways We Can All Help
Several years ago, my family decided that hunger would be the cause that we support. We make monthly contributions to the Houston Food Bank and volunteer our time. About every 4-6 weeks, we take our teenage boys to work at the food bank’s warehouse. There we assemble bags or boxes of food for kids to have on the weekends or for seniors on a fixed income. Our shifts usually last about three hours. It’s a service that we enjoy doing together and hope in some small way we are making a difference for someone in need. If you are interested in finding ways to help in your community, you can go to the Share Our Strength website and type in your zip code.
Recently, our family watched a deeply moving documentary, called A Place At the Table, addressing the issue of hunger in America. It follows several families around the country as they struggle to put food on their tables. The movie shows the devastating impact hunger has on the health of growing children and how it affects their performance in school. I can’t recommend this movie enough, I learned so much from it.
If you’d like to watch it, you can choose from the following options:
Alarmingly, federal funding for childhood nutrition programs, including SNAP, WIC and school meals, is in jeopardy of being severely cut. Please take a moment to send a letter to Congress supporting these vital programs. Share Our Strength, the hunger advocacy group, has made this easy to do with the following link: call to action.
Thank you for reading this post, which is very special to me. I truly believe that in this, the most prosperous country in the industrialized world, no person should ever go hungry.