Part of Challenge is learning proper diet (column)

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July 15, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Over the past two weeks the Register has participated vicariously in the one-month SNAP Challenge by interviewing locals who are either on food stamps or are seeing what it’s like to be on a food budget determined by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

For those willing to take this short walk in the shoes of the poor, they often trip up on the stipulation that they cannot dine out at fast food or regular restaurants. Per SNAP guidelines, such enterprises are not allowed to accept SNAP payments. The reason, of course, is that it’s more expensive to eat out than to make a meal from scratch. And though it’s not stated, it’s implied that cooking from scratch is healthier. One reason typical restaurant fare tastes so good is that it’s loaded with salt, sugar and fat.

Even so — or because our palates have become addicted to salty and sugary food — dining out has become an American way of life. According to the Department of Commerce, Americans now spend more eating out than they do buying groceries. Millennials, those between 18 and 34, have tilted the spending scales in this direction, generally favoring fast food, delis, or ethnic food options.

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