As good as the EBT program is, it does come with a lot of restrictions. You only get a set amount of money each month, which is dependent on how much income your household pulls in. That money is almost never enough to buy the full scope of nutritious groceries to ensure you’re as well fed as possible, causing you to take shortcuts when shortcuts shouldn’t be taken. To top it off, the kinds of food you can buy may not always be what you’re looking for. If we could have our way, here are 4 things we’d be able to buy with food stamps that we can’t currently buy.
Grocery stores usually have a section of the store dedicated to hot foods, but EBT cards can’t be used for them. We’re not entirely sure why this rule is in place, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Often, hot foods, like roasted whole chickens, are a much more efficient option for people on food stamps because it saves them time and energy having to cook it themselves. Being able to prepare hot foods that are nutritious takes a lot out of a person, and it’s not usually something they look forward to after a long, long day at work.
Canning Jars and Lids
We can sort of understand the reasoning behind EBT cards not allowed to be used for prepared foods, as they cost more than preparing it yourself. But for people who do want to take that route, the EBT program makes it a lot harder. You can buy foods in bulk, but you can buy things like canning jars to actually preserve the food for leaner times.
Granted, this may not be an option that appeals to everyone. But for people who live in a suitable area, keeping an animal can be an invaluable resource for moving up in the world. Think about it for a second: if you could have your own cow, you can easily pasteurize the milk at home and save money at the grocery store. Or if you have chickens, there’s a supply of eggs and meat for you. In Alaska, you can buy equipment to help you catch animals, but the food stamps program doesn’t actually allow you to buy the animals themselves.
As we covered in the beginning, a food stamps budget isn’t the greatest when it comes to trying to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Because things like fresh fruit and vegetables are more expensive than cheap, processed foods, the choice between blowing your food stamps budget on one week to eat healthy for that time or stretching it out to make the money last the entire month is often not a choice at all. If vitamins were part of the food stamps program, though, this problem could be somewhat fixed. It’d enable families — particularly children — to get a larger portion of the vitamins and nutrients they need.
There are many shortcomings with the food stamps program, with one of them being what you can actually buy. And though we don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon, it doesn’t hurt to put together a wish list of things that would really make more sense if we could use food stamps to buy them.