What is the Thrifty Food Plan & why does it matter?
Since the 1930’s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has maintained food plans to estimate what it costs to consume a nutritious diet at various price points in America. 1
The Thrifty Food Plan was first introduced in 1975 to reflect a minimal cost diet based on dietary recommendations and common habits, as well as food composition and price information. This plan has served as the basis for calculating maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit allotments.2 Our brand Knorr has been active in supporting SNAP and has developed a breakdown to learn more.
There has been more recent U.S. dietary guidance, and major changes to food prices, and what Americans purchase and eat since the Thrifty Food Plan was first introduced and last updated in 2006. That is why the recent release of USDA's reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan is so important. The reevaluation concluded that “the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost effective diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan.” As a result of the Thrifty Food Plan reevaluation, SNAP participants will receive an additional $36.24 per person, per month beginning October 1, 2021.
Embracing Family Meals Month
Many Americans, including but not limited to those receiving SNAP benefits, struggle to afford healthy meals. This became even more apparent after COVID-19 hit, disproportionately impacting families previously facing food insecurity and leaving them facing even greater hardship. Companies like Unilever worked to support feeding assistance programs, including sending letters urging Congress to boost resources through SNAP.
SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. To support this program, Unilever is working with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to showcase nutritious, budget-friendly recipes and ideas for all Americans, including those receiving federal assistance.
This September, Unilever joins FMI in celebrating National Family Meals Month, an industry-wide movement to raise awareness of the benefits of frequent family meals. Several states, including Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin, have officially proclaimed September as Family Meals Month.
There are many compelling reasons to eat together as a family at home. Frequent family meals enhance family connection and communication, contributing to self-esteem in children and teens. Meals at home are also associated with lower Body Mass Index, not to mention often being more economical than dining out. Further, children and teens who eat more meals with their families are more likely to be successful in school. 3
Elevate ‘affordable’ by making meals nutritious AND delicious with Knorr!
Daily life may be hectic as families adjust to evolving schedules and routines as a result of COVID, often while managing tight budgets. That is why Knorr is here to help provide inspiration for your next family dinner. With Knorr Sides, all you need to do is choose your family’s favorite vegetables and lean protein or plant protein.
What’s to love about Knorr Sides?
- Affordable. Knorr believes that affordable, good food should be accessible to all. Recognizing many are on tight timelines and looking to minimize costs, Knorr has created Dinners Under $10 in 10 Minutes to help cook delicious, balanced meals for less.
- Versatile. Whether you ran out of an ingredient or someone in your family just won’t eat it, you can easily swap in another ingredient in our recipes. With Knorr Sides Pantry Pals, you can get inspiration from the types of lean meat or plant-based protein, veggies and spices & herbs that work best for each flavor. If your family is looking for a ‘Meatless Monday’ option, try this Harvest Sweet Potato & Lentils or Mediterranean Chickpea Pilaf recipe.
- Nutritious. With Knorr’s Better-For-You recipes , you can easily prepare delicious and nutritious meals by adding your choice of veggies and lean protein or plant-based protein. Knorr Sides to Center recipes can help consumers increase their intake with at least 1/2 cup of veggies per serving, helping to increase their intake of positive nutrients such as Potassium and Fiber, like in this Cumin-scented Chicken & Pan-Roasted Chickpeas or Salmon & Kale with Lemon Herb Topping.
- Shareable. Meal prep is a perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved, especially during Family Meals Month! Children can help measure, stir, pour, cut (always keeping safety in mind) or simply take part in choosing the vegetable or protein to include. This Pineapple & Chicken Fried Rice or Creamy Chicken Florentine are good options to consider. Don’t forget, spending time together as a family is the real not-so-secret ingredient!
As the new school year starts, we challenge you to renew your commitment to creating and serving meals at home that nourish your kids and help them flourish for life. Pledge to Raise Your Mitt to Commit™ to sharing one more family meal at home per week. You can also join the conversation on your social channels by using the hashtag #FamilyMealsMonth!
Carlson, A., Lino, M., & Fungwe, T. (2007). The Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal Food Plans, 2007 (CNPP-20). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
USDA Food and Nutrition Services https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2021/08/12/thrifty-food-plan-what-it-and-why-it-matters