The grocery stores are full of really cheap junk foods and prepared foods, most of which aren’t really conducive to optimal health, but which might appeal to the frugal shopper, the penny pincher, and those on a limited income. And if you don’t have the skills or the recipes necessary to turn basic staple ingredients into healthy meals, eating poorly can turn into a self-sustaining habit that yields a diet low in nutrients and high in added sugars (and other subpar ingredients).
One big factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family is sticking to a good diet made from real foods, which is all well and good if you’ve got a decent food budget, but another thing entirely if you’re just scraping by every month. But thanks to the work of Leanne Brown, you can learn how to put healthy food on the table, without sacrificing taste or variety, even on a very limited budget of $4 a day.
For her final project for a master’s degree in food studies at New York University, Leanne Brown created a beautiful and practical cookbook, titled Good and Cheap, which includes over 130 pages of recipes that fit into a $4 a day food budget, along with enticing photos of the prepared dishes.
“It bothered me that so many ideas for fixing the food system leave out the poor: it seemed like they didn’t have a voice in the food movement. I wanted to create a resource that would promote the joy of cooking and show just how delicious and inspiring a cheap meal can be if you cook it yourself.” – Leanne Brown, Good and Cheap
While the book was originally written with the intent to help poor families, who may receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) benefits, to eat better, learning how to eat healthy on a tight budget is something that many of us aspire to, especially families that are already trying to stretch their budgets thin enough to cover all of their expenses.
The good news is that you don’t have to go out and buy another cookbook in order to learn how to eat on as little as $4 a day, as Brown is giving away her cookbook as a free PDF download from her website. But because not everyone has access to a computer, especially in the kitchen, a print version of the book is in the works, and the crowdfunding campaign to finance its production is also helping to underwrite a ‘buy one, give one’ initiative that aims to put the cookbooks in front of those who could most benefit from them.
If you’d like to have a print copy of Good and Cheap for yourself, and want to help get this cookbook in the hands of organizations that support low-income families, consider backing Brown’s Kickstarter campaign, where pledges of $25 and up will receive a copy, and will underwrite a donated copy for someone who needs it.
For those who would just like to learn how to eat well on $4 a day, grab your free download of Good and Cheap at Brown’s website, and take a look at her other free cookbook, From Scratch, while you’re at it. If it’s at all helpful to you, take a minute to say thanks to Brown via her Good and Cheap Facebook page or on Twitter.
By Derek Markham, TreeHugger
Image: screenshot from Good and Cheap video