I buy groceries, cook and eat three nutrient-rich meals a day, and do it all as involuntarily as my heart beats. I have plenty. More than plenty. And I take it for granted. I don’t think twice about adding more vegetables and fruits to my shopping cart. And lately more of the produce in my cart displays the organic sticker on its exterior, totaling my bill a little higher. I have plenty. But that’s not true of everyone—nearly 48.8 million Americans “lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis.” (source)
A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Nicole, of Eat This Poem and The Giving Table, asking if I would be interested in participating in Food Bloggers Against Hunger. In my head I said yes and then I read further. “Buy and cook a meal around $4.” Four dollars—the average amount an American on food stamps receives per day to supplement their food budget. (source) It sounded too difficult. And it was.
I decided to make sweet potato tacos (inspired by Naturally Ella), something we make nearly every week, knowing it’s fairly inexpensive and stretches over several meals for us. However, my total quickly added up. Two sweet potatoes $0.42. One can of black beans (BPA-free) $0.89. Half of a sweet onion $0.25. One bell pepper $1.00. One lime $0.29. One avocado $1.00. I was already at $3.85 not including the other ingredients I had sitting around the house like the taco shells necessary to hold that sweet potato goodness together.
I get the problem. Nutrient rich food is expensive compared to the processed food the government subsidizes. My husband works with children of a low socioeconomic status (SES). The stories he comes home with are no different than the ones you’ve probably heard or the ones told in the A Place at the Table documentary. (Check the website for a viewing near you. It’s coming to my neck of the woods this week.) The nutrient-rich food I so often take pride in serving around my table is a distant idea to my neighbors on food stamps. It doesn’t have to necessarily be this way. We can petition the government to allocate more funds towards the existing nutrition program rather than cutting funds, as is currently proposed. It takes less than 30 seconds to send a letter to congress. It’s already written, just fill in your info. Join with the other 150+ bloggers taking a stand. To learn more about the issues surrounding child hunger, check out the Share our strength website.
It’s times like these I am reminded—to whom much is given, much is expected.
- In a large saute pan, add in pepper, onion, and olive oil. Cook on medium-high heat for about two minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes and broth. Allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Salt to taste.
- Add remaining ingredients—beans, honey, lime, chipotle, garlic, and cilantro. Stir well and continue to cook on medium-low heat for another 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes have just softened. Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Bake taco shells according to directions.
- Garnish with avocado, spinach, and salsa. Serve.
• Leftover taco mixture is great on salads, quesadillas, and nachos.
• Cut sweet potatoes as pictured and then dice. Be sure to cut them around the same size so that they cook evenly.
• To maximize the amount of juice from your lime, try this tip.
Taco recipe inspired by Naturally Ella.