How Low Can You Go…And Stay Healthy?

Recently, NPR aired a series entitled “How Low Can You Go?”, in which listeners, website users, and chefs share recipes which can feed a family of four for under $10. The first episode of the series features Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés preparing a chickpea & spinach stew.

The recipe isn’t for everyone –Andrés recommends using dried chickpeas (which must be soaked overnight, then rinsed & boiled for an additional hour) and several commenters on NPR’s website note that Spanish olive oil, sherry & saffron aren’t exactly common kitchen items – but this isn’t the point. For increasing numbers of food insecure families, a $10 dinner (regardless of what’s in it) is a luxury, and many think the only way they can afford to feed their family is with macaroni, spaghetti & fast food combos – dishes full of calories, but with nutrition even lower than their price. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else – during MAZON’s Food Stamp Challenge last year, I lived off potatoes, ramen noodles & frozen burritos, and as a result became dazed and sluggish. I was only looking for calories; I just assumed fresh food & nutritious meals were out of my price range.

Andrés’ recipe leans towards the fancy, but it feeds four for less than $10. And it’s pretty healthy. If NPR’s series and recipes inspire even one family to go low and still go healthy, then that’s worth setting alarms & checking the beans.

One more thing; NPR recorded José Andrés & his recipe at DC Central Kitchen, where Andrés volunteers. For the last 20 years, DC Central Kitchen has recycled tons of food in the Capitol area that would otherwise go to waste. Their program entails culinary job training that empowers homeless & hungry people with professional skills while helping nourish their peers & strengthen their community. We are proud to include them amongst our grantees, and wish them the best on their 20th anniversary. You can learn more about them at:

NPR’s original feature is available at:

MAZON’s Food Stamp Challenge video blogs are available at:


1 Comment

Filed under Hunger in the Media, Interviews, MAZON Grantees

One response to “How Low Can You Go…And Stay Healthy?

  1. Becky

    This is a very powerful article. It really hit me close to home especially seeing this constantly day to day. It makes me realize how much I can actually be doing when I am not doing as much as I could. It makes me feel very fortunate for what I do have and what I am able to do in my life, because of my family. And it made me realize how much other people do suffer and how hard it is to survive and keep up your family in the circumstances. This really puts into perspective how much people are struggling around us, that we may not even know. And it shows how much they really need our help, and every one counts and can do something. It makes me want to go and help more, because I would hope that if I was ever in that situation that other people would help out.