Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!- Budget101 Discussion List

I came across an interesting article this evening . . . the Governor of Maine is proposing that certain foods be "illegal" to purchase with Food Stamps, namely Soda. Although it seems certain that if it's passed more "foods" will follow. Here's the article: WGME 13 - News - Gov. LePage

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    Default Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    I came across an interesting article this evening . . . the Governor of Maine is proposing that certain foods be "illegal" to purchase with Food Stamps, namely Soda. Although it seems certain that if it's passed more "foods" will follow.

    Here's the article:
    WGME 13 - News - Gov. LePage proposes ban on purchase of soda with EBT

    Do you think that unhealthy food purchases should be prohibited? If so, what should/shouldn't be included in the


    • Potato Chips
    • Cookies, Cakes, Pies
    • Sugar?
    • White Flour?
    • Little debbie cakes?

    Who decides what is "healthy" and what is "Junk"... and where does it end?


    If you're a low carber, pepperoni is a fine food, but if you're a low fat dieter, you wouldn't touch the stuff and may even look upon it as crap.



    Personally, I find tofu and soy products to be the bane of my existence.. but to a vegetarian, these are delicious morsels.



    So.. who is right, who is wrong? What are your thoughts?
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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    Just my opinion here:
    WIC requires specific food allowed to be purchased and helps in so many ways. It isn't such a bad concept to limit foods that could be purchased with EBT's. Not allowing chips, pop, candy, etc could improve the lives of many. With that said, I can buy all of the chips, meats and vegetables etc available but if I deep fat fry them I have now made them unhealthy. It might look like I am being healthy if I purchase apples but when I get home and make them into a pie I just destroyed the healthy part of that apple. We can limit what foods are purchased but it will not lead to improved health. Putting time, energy and money back into teaching kids how to appreciate foods and prepare them healthy is what will work. Since cutting of cooking classes in schools and the increase in fast foods kids have no idea how to cook anything other than opening a box and throwing it in the microwave for a few minutes. I learned math, science, reading and writing through cooking. I might not be genius but I am not ignorant on being able to function in day to day activities. The government should focus on bringing back the cooking and life skills classes for all students and not worry so much about scores on a test.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    Not trying to play 'Devil's Advocate', but I can see both sides of this fence...

    Personally, and just MY OPINION, I don't think sodas, energy drinks, chips, , pop tarts, cooked deli goods, pre cooked cakes, pies, pastries, candy, frozen fries, ice creams, pre packaged cookies, and such foods should be allowed to be purchased using food stamps. ((Of course, if I was enrolled in such a program, I may have a different mind set, cause sometimes I DO buy these, but then again, I'm not any type of Gov't program, it's all on us.))

    I DO have a relative who receives food stamps, and I try to talk her into making better choices at the stores, that the 'money on her card' will go much further, but...::shrugs::

    Yes, I -DO- think all basic pantry ingredients, including sugars, syrups, white flours, and ALL fruits and veggies, frozen, fresh, or canned, should be allowed. I understand bad foods can and probably will be made from these ingredients, but so can many other good foods, or at least better options than buying fast food, or the pre packaged alternatives.
    If being limited to only buying basic staples, basic cooking know-how will be required and will take much more effort than just opening an package or running through the local drive in...BUT in the long run, it's more health conscious and economical.

    Of course, that could bring up the unholy debates of whether it's fair or legal to limit what can be purchased. Would it be an infringement on other's rights...Who is qualified to determine either sides?
    That being said, I can honestly say, I don't think I would appreciate anyone telling me what I could or could -NOT- buy for my family.
    Hhhhmmmm....

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    The government should focus on bringing back the cooking and life skills classes for all students and not worry so much about scores on a test.
    I Agree 100% with this- there are few "classes" that should be Required Core Classes at school:


    • Cooking & Baking
    • Menu Planning
    • Budgeting
    • Basic Accounting

    It continually amazes me when the kids have friends over and they have NO concept of cooking/how to measure certain ingredients (like packing brown sugar and NOT scooping flour out of the bin with their measuring cup!!). It amazes me even more how the school district pushes Algebra to the nine, but the kids are unable to balance a checkbook. My son can write a polynomial expression, but had to ask how to fill out the deposit slip for his paycheck.

    Are we bringing up a generation of kids without common sense basic skills?


    Of course, that could bring up the unholy debates of whether it's fair or legal to limit what can be purchased. Would it be an infringement on other's rights...Who is qualified to determine either sides?
    That being said, I can honestly say, I don't think I would appreciate anyone telling me what I could or could -NOT- buy for my family.
    Hhhhmmmm....
    It's hard telling how I would feel, we don't get FS either, but I'm not a fan of "convenience items". Perhaps all new recipients of FS cards should have to take a mandatory Nutrition/Basic Cooking Class.

    The problem with that idea (or should I say one of the problems) is that I'm not overly fond of what our Government "deems" nutritious. For example, milk is shoved onto every lunch tray, but the "health benefits" of it are extremely questionable.

    I'm not sure what the answer is on this question, I completely understand the thought behind it, but like the soda ban in NY, I don't more legislation will cure the actual issue.

    Perhaps if we added some basics back into our school curriculum, we wouldn't have these increasing issues.
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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    I agree also with needing the cooking and life skills classes back.
    In our local school systems, the classes were "Home economics" I, II, and III, and "Parenthood".
    Ironically, when I was in school and these classes were available, there was very few teen/high school pregnancies. VERY FEW. In my -large- graduating class of 1985, there was a TOTAL OF 2. ONLY 2. Big difference between then and now. ((Sorry, went off topic...))
    *AND Liss, I truly understand about your Son not knowing how to fill out a deposit slip.
    My Son graduated WITH HONORS, and had no clue how to write a check, balance his check book, or fill out the deposit slip. As a matter of fact, I had to "educate" him on the issue of OUTSTANDING CHECKS. Sheesh...that one was fun.

    Between the two of you, ((Liss and wilbe95)), it sounds as if there are some VERY good ideas that could actually HELP alleviate some of these specific issues...
    Hhhhmmmm, maybe one or both of you should contact the powers that be, and pose your suggestions to them. It's a thought...

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    I don't think more government is the answer to anything, but if they really need the foodstamp program, they should be given a class in how to manage the amount. I was in the grocery line checkout one day when the lady in front of me tried to purchase dogfood using her card, the clerk told her she could not. So the lady sent her son to the meat counter to get hamburger and said, if I can't feed him dogfood, I'll feed him hamburger. She will be out of stamp funds before the end of the month and have to go to the food kitchen for her meals. In another line a man in front of me was buying wisely and had oranges, canned tuna, some type of formula, and other basic supplies. He went over the amount he had on his card and was trying to figure out what to put back. I knew the clerk and nodded to her that I would cover his balance. Just to indicate the difference in attitude of the users.

    But I have also had doctors that told me to give my sick son 7 UP, which I could not have purchased according to the proposed law. We don't need more laws, we need more education as to the use of what we have.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    Education, from schools to Food Assistance Orientations, seems to be the general consensus so far and something I think is desperately needed.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    I've been on food stamps and was VERY greatful for them when we had them. This is a tricky topic. Food Stamps are not free food for all of us. My husband and I both have blown out backs to prove it. Along with tax statements. Should we have been told we couldn't buy a Soda with money we paid in? should we tell the little old lady down the road, who worked and payed taxes when she could, that she can not buy a box of oatmeal pies?
    But then there is the couple down the road, who don't work and ain't gonna work. For them, food stamps is free food. And ciggerettes. And Beer. Etc. You see the kid's eating potted meat and snack cakes while Mom and Dad smoke pot off money they made selling their stamps. And it won't do any good to test them for drugs. They'll stop getting food stamps before they stop getting drugs and then it get's worse on the kids.
    Yes, the old lady should be told she can not buy them. And no, we shouldn't have been able to buy soda with them.
    Just like everything else,the people trying to do right carry the weight for those who do wrong. They shoplift, we have to have a hack saw to open a bag of peanuts. Pay higher prices and have security eyeball us like we may be stealing.
    T.V. dinners are not healthy but they keep a lot of kid's and old folks fed.
    It's much better to eat a peach cobbler made from scratch than a peach flavored, pre packaged, chemical filled, snack cake.
    I think all pre-packaged candy,cookies, chips, cakes ,pies and sodas should not be allowed on food stamps and People receiving food stamps should have to be educated on cooking from scratch with real food. I know some parents will still sell their food stamps and buy the junk. But, it makes them work a little harder to do wrong.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    In our state, you can get cash back on your EBT (food stamps) card to buy other necessities.

    I don't think we are going to get anywhere trying to legislate nutrition. Nutrition education, how to budget, knowing where the best buys are to stretch our dollars (regardless of the source of the money we have available for food) makes a whole lot of sense.

    You are 100% correct about those who chose to abuse the system. My husband and I did an outreach with our church in a crime and drug infested area, and we discovered that our role was to specifically feed the kids, and stop trying to control adults who were going to do whatever they wished to do with the family food money.

    We have provided groceries only to see the bags go across the street to "Grandmas" where they were exchanged for drugs.

    On Thanksgiving, there were some families we did not give turkeys to for them to cook their own meal. We cooked the meal and had them invite their friends and then we served the whole group. We knew that the kids and their parents would not have gotten a meal otherwise, because drugs were their master. It was probably the first time the children had a family meal around their own table.

    In every group you discover that there are all sorts of people. Those on welfare may be hard working people who need some help, or druggies, or the teen mother who is a bit confused about what to do next. Even the very rich are not exempt from drug addiction, alcoholism, run-ins with the legal system or other problems.

    When we stop looking at the group as a whole and throw away our stereotypes we discover that people are pretty much the same. Some make good choices, some make poor choices, this is not likely to change because someone creates a law to restrict junk food - sadly we just end up paying for the enforcement of yet another law with no real change in behavior.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    There is education for those interested it is called SNAP-Ed. Every state offers it free through the Extension Service. It isn't mandatory it is for those receiving assistance who really want to make their money stretch and how to make the food from scratch and make it healthier. Problem though when the government has to make a decision on money and funding programs and more and more people are in need of help they pull money from the education portion and use it to help feed more or cover other expenses. If you are one who likes looking at the bills passed the Farm Bill is moving $100,000 from the educational portion into covering the cost of milk expenses. Many politicians have lived on food stamps for a week to "understand" the situation, yet they really can't get the full picture...they know that when that week is over they have money to buy the foods they desire. It is a vicious circle.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    One of the reasons the politicians need to live on a food stamp allotment for 4-6 weeks is that they need to realize that the Moms who buy the .88 TV dinners are doing their best to budget and from their perspective they have just fed a meal that costs less than $1.00 per person. If you have $4/person per day, you can start saving a little money eating TV DInners or frozen burritons, so that you can stock up on pantry essentials and start working toward building the ingredients that permit home cooking from scratch.

    Think of the cost of the ingredients that go into a TV dinner - salisbury steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and a small desert. It is cheaper to cook at home, but only if you can afford to have the ingredients on hand, and those ingredients aren't in individual serving sizes. It takes a few weeks of saving to purchase sugar, flour, oil, milk, baking powder, rice, beans, spices while still feeding the family on that amount.

    The other obstacle is that many young mothers haven't learned to cook from scratch, nor do they have access to space to garden, or a good knowledge of nutrition. It takes them quite a bit of time and effort to survive.

    I wonder if a more pro-active approach would be to would offer budgeting, nutrition and cooking lessons as coursework to qualify for a completion bonus that includes pantry basics with the cookware / utensils, upon completion of the course. We don't have Home Ec in the school curriculum any longer, and we have young adults who do not understand how to to manage their finances, budgets or eat healthy. Nutrition education goes far beyond avoiding sugary drinks, soda pop or chips.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    I don't see a problem with them restricting certain foods, such a soda, ice cream, cookies, etc. But they should allow flour and sugar, the basics to bake with.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    We also need to consider the elderly people who are on Food Stamps. One of the problems that faces the elderly is that their sense of taste is minimal and they forget to eat. Ice Cream, or a snack cake is a cheap way to supplement their calorie intake so that they don't lose weight and end up decreasing their muscle mass.

    We've been going through this with my father and Aunt - thank goodness for Klondike Bars! (Something they'll eat) in addition to Ensure High Protein Chocolate flavor disguised as hot chocolate. Prior to starting this "supplementation" my Dad was eating 3 meals a day but lost 16 bounds in four months. Most of the weight loss came while he was in the hospital and receiving home health care after a minor stroke. My Aunt lost 12 pounds after a knee replacement during hospitalization and physical rehabilitation. Dad is almost 89 and my Aunt is approaching 93. Both are active seniors and they need the snack food to boost their caloric intake.

    Nutrition is not a one size fits all proposition, and that is why legislating nutrition ends up costing more than the benefits received. We took the snack and soda vending machines out of the schools, but most schools did not replace them with healthy food (unless you consider Gatorade and Power Drinks healthy!)

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    Quote Originally Posted by jrodgers View Post
    Nutrition is not a one size fits all proposition, and that is why legislating nutrition ends up costing more than the benefits received. We took the snack and soda vending machines out of the schools, but most schools did not replace them with healthy food (unless you consider Gatorade and Power Drinks healthy!)
    I agree with this. In my son's school, they took out the vending machines that has mostly junk and they give more veggies and such however, because most the children don't eat salads, my son's teacher won't let the children choose this option. My son LOVES salads and fruit and yogurt...granted he's starving when he gets back home, which I think is the reason behind her stopping the salads. But, we sent a note about that.

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    Default Re: Potential Food Stamp Legislation . . . No More Junk!


    Our cafeteria used to throw away lots of food especially fruit and salad everyday, because it was paid for with money specifically to feed students, by law it was illegal to feed anyone else so it had to go in the trash. What a tremendous waste of food.

    I can't imagine a teacher restricting a student from eating the salads, fruit and yogurt. If she wants the students to be filled up longer just add sunflower seeds, nuts, tofu, hummus, cheese or nut butter to go with the fresh fruits and veggies. I'm glad to hear that you sent a note to the school questioning her practice.

 

 

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