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Take the $5 Challenge: Sept. 17, 2011

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Kick fast food to the curb with slow food!

Are you up for a challenge? This one has great appeal when you consider your objectives: Get together with family, friends and neighbors and enjoy a slow food, fresh meal that costs no more than $5 per person to make.

Take the $5 callenge

According to Slow Food USA, slow food -- the opposite of fast food -- is healthy, local and delicious. It's food that's good for you, good for farmers and workers and good for the planet. On Sept. 17, 2011, the $5 Challenge will take place around the country. For this challenge, everyone who participates is likely a winner!

The $5 Challenge

The $5 Challenge was organized by Slow Food USA as a way to show the public that a "value meal" doesn't need to come from a fast food restaurant ($5 is typically the price you'd pay for a fast-food meal). The organization also wants to send a message that it's too difficult for people in many communities to get access to healthy, fresh food.

Consider the fun you can have along with teaching others that good food doesn't have to cost too much, and that you can have an enjoyable meal surrounded by family and friends sharing stories and the events of the day! How often does that happen when you pick up a meal from the drive-through window?

Think you're up for the challenge? If you open your meal event to the public, you can visit slowfoodusa.org to register it within your community. Anyone can organize a challenge and there are many challenges already set to take place. Find one in your community.

Slow vs. fast food

Healthy eating is possible no matter what your budget. Slow Food USA is making the challenge easier by providing meal ideas and tips as well as additional resources. Some suggestions include hosting a potluck event, a cooking contest challenge for a group and encouraging your children to get involved in your meal prep. Teaching new cooking skills is a great way to help ensure continued participation in slow meal prep!

Stephanie Romine, DailySpark editor, put together several shopping comparisons that will really make you want to drive past the drive through. For about $20, you could buy either four Combo Meals at Burger King or:

  • 1 box Morningstar Farms Grillers Original Meatless Burgers
  • 1 pound 96% lean ground beef
  • 16 ounces cashews
  • 1 pound of strawberries
  • 10 pounds of potatoes
  • 1 gallon of 100% organic orange juice
  • 1 pound of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1 pound bag of dried pinto beans

It doesn't have to be difficult to make fresh, slow food for a reasonable price. To help you with meal planning ideas, consider the following resources:

EatingWell provides a list of $5 meal recipes.

NPR online has a "How low can you go" section with great meal ideas.

Cook for Good offers tips and ideas for meals you can make with seasonally available foods.

Slow Food San Francisco has "Get Cooking!" dinners for $5 and under.

At Slow Food USA you can find chapters local to your area that may have events that take place on Sept. 17. If a chapter doesn't exist near you, there is also information on how you can work to start one!

Slow Food USA isn't only for a once-a-year event. The organization is in existence to "work to educate the public and promote local and regional foods, safeguard biodiversity and connect people around the country with their food and the people who grow it."

Step up to the challenge and slow down to enjoy a healthier diet and lifestyle!

 

Tips to make your meals go farther

Save money: Eat locally and seasonally
10 Frugal cooking tips for family-friendly meals
How to save money on groceries
Meals that save money and time
10 Strategies for healthy family meals
Save money with coupons

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