Most low-income families cook at home at least five times per week and consider healthy meals to be both important and realistic, but a struggle.
I was invited to a press event to announce the results of a survey conducted by Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters program. The program and the survey, "It's Dinnertime: A Report on Low-Income Families' Efforts to Plan, Shop for and Cook Healthy Meals," are sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.
I went because I was interested in the survey and also because I admire the work of chef Sara Moulton who, among many other things, works with Share Our Strength on this program.
Cooking Matters is part of Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign. Its goal is to help low-income families increase access to public food resources (food assistance benefits, farmers' market coupons) and produce healthy meals at low cost. It does this through a six-week course that teaches shopping strategies, meal planning, and cooking.
The research produced some important findings, perhaps obvious:
- Eight out of 10 low-income families cook at home at least five times per week, more if they are poorer.
- Eight-five percent of low-income families consider eating healthy meals to be important and realistic.
- Low-income families struggle to put healthy meals on the table: food costs and preparation time are big barriers.
- Low-income families are eager for cooking and budgeting tips and tools.