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Ensure SNAP dollars are spent on nutritious foods

There already is an accepted list of healthy foods that could be used by the administrators of the SNAP (food stamps) program to ensure the best use of public dollars. The WIC program has a detailed list of foods, including brands and nutritional requirements, that could be used as a starting point.

My husband, twins and I qualified for the WIC program during their first two years. We understood that we were taking tax-dollar funded assistance and therefore had an obligation to be as efficient as possible with the money. At that time, there were actual paper vouchers, each good for a specific quantity and type of food, and the allowed foods were printed on the folder the voucher came in. It was an incentive to use the program for the minimum time our family required. As recipients, we had no problem with the limits on allowable purchases, and as taxpayers, we see no reason why we should not be able to ensure that SNAP dollars are going for nutritionally rich foods rather than empty calories.

It would not be cumbersome or stigmatizing for SNAP recipients to pay separately for foods not on the SNAP list. Grocery stores have people paying for separate items all the time. This is not a question of saying SNAP recipients are not smart enough to choose their own foods; it just makes sense for us to get the best use of tax dollars. Build on the WIC-approved list and make this change easy, efficient and swift. Why would people who are willing to go through the application process be opposed to learning as much as possible about healthy, effective food choices for themselves and their families?

Kathy Metivier


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