Take Back the ‘Value Meal’ With Slow Food’s $5 Challenge

Slow Food USA is challenging people to cook nutritious meals that cost $5 or less to prove that healthy, delicious food shouldn't break the bank.

By Reader's Digest Editors
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    Healthy Eating Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

    Slow Food USA is challenging people everywhere to make a nutritious meal that costs no more than $5. Why? To demonstrate that eating healthy, delicious food doesn’t have to break the bank—and is something everyone in America should be able to do every day. (Unfortunately, many people who live in “food deserts” simply don’t have access to affordable fresh food.) Up for the challenge? Why not make it a party? Invite friends to join you in whipping up tasty $5 meals and have a blast on a budget. Here’s how...

    1. Host a $5 Potluck

    Ask your guests to bring a nutritious, homemade meal that cost $5 or less to make. Along with their dishes, guests should include a recipe with the price of each ingredient. After the event, email all of the recipes to your guests, or copy them and make recipe books as party favors.

    2. Hold a Cook-Off

    Decide on a theme such as a Chili-Bowl, Grill-Off, or Pie Contest. Make it a rule all entries must be made for $5 or less. Have guests vote in several categories, like "Most Creative," "Best in Show," "Spiciest," etc. Offer $5 prizes for the winners and give extra points for local and sustainable entries!

    3. Plan a Block Party or Community Dinner

    Build community while eating on a budget! Organize a pancake breakfast, spaghetti dinner, or fish fry that costs $5 or less per person. Or assign certain houses on your block to bring specific courses (with each dish coming in at no more than $5). Talk to your neighbors about the challenge and consider making it a regular event.

    4. Cook With Your Kids

    Make a $5 family meal at home and involve everyone in the process (even the little guys!). Plan, shop for, and prepare the meal together. As you go, explain why healthy, affordable food is important for everyone and that “slow food” can taste just as good as (or better than) fast food.

    5. Organize a Cooking Class

    Find a gung-ho chef and invite your friends and neighbors to a cooking class where no dish costs more than $5 to make. Stick with a specific genre, like Chinese cooking or pasta, or ask the chef to demonstrate a variety of foods that can be made on the cheap. Pass out recipes and tastes for all.

    Learn more about the Slow Food Challenge by visiting slowfoodusa.org.

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