Manhattan's Chinatown outdoor market September 2021 offers local and international fresh produce and fish. Photo credit: Preet Patel

Get the most bang for your buck this Thanksgiving as food costs rise: Nine delicious foods that balance the budget

With inflated prices, food insecure Americans are searching for discounts wherever they can be found this holiday season. New Yorkers can stretch their dollar a little further by purchasing fresh fall food favorites.

“Low-income households are struggling to access food as prices rise…When prices go up, they have less slack in their budgets to offset and they are quick to fall into hardship,” tweeted the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.

Many Americans have taken to twitter urging President Joe Biden to take on the brunt of the inflation by issuing a $2,000 stimulus check. “My Whole Family could use another #Stimuluscheck. Each Member of My Family has their own Family. We like other #Americans are Struggling to Live, Pay Rent, etc. Our circumstance is even worse, we’ve been moving still,” said twitter user Angel

Months since the U.S. opened back up, the cost of food has skyrocketed. The USDA predicts that beef and veal will increase by 6.5 and 7.5 percent. As well, seafood will see a 4.0 and 5.0 percent rise. Included are the price of eggs that are expected to go up 3.0 to 4.0 percent by this year. While food prices remain inflated, President Biden has kept quiet about a fourth stimulus check. However, some states have opted to take financial matters into their own hands. 

From Oklahoma to Tennessee to Michigan, stimulus programs have been implemented for part-time and full-time teachers. Also Georgia and Florida rewarded educators who stayed committed to teaching throughout the pandemic. But, in Connecticut and Arizona, the two states broadened the scope of their stimulus program by introducing a $1,000 bonus to residents who return back to work. In Arizona, residents who go back to work full-time are eligible for a $2,000 stimulus payment. Similarly, Vermont is offering a $7,500 stimulus for Americans who relocate there to work in the hospitality or the construction industry.

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Even on the west coast Californians with a salary between $30,000 and $75,000 can receive $600 or $1,100 in stimulus money, if they have a child under the age of 18. 

Meanwhile, seniors feeling the financial pinch of inflation and fixed incomes have taken drastic measures such as exhausting their retirement savings. Another change is that they eat one meal per day or cut their medicine intake in half to save money on prescription drugs. Consequently, the Senior Citizen League started a petition calling for a one-time $1,400 stimulus check. Currently, the petition has over one million signatures.

“A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough. The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

To that end, there is also a petition circulating the internet calling for a $2,000 per month recurring stimulus check for adults. The petition points out that it took Congress nine months to send a second stimulus check and one moment for Americans to spend it.

| Read: This Thanksgiving, in the year of revelation, must come with atonement and action for Native people

Until now, the petition has amassed 2.9 million signatures. Should it reach three million, it would be the top signed petition on Change.org.

Though a check has not been cut, the USDA has been encouraging owners of Direct Marketing Farmers and Farmers’ Markets (DMFs/FMs), to sign up with the government to accept SNAP benefits. Now that Farmers Markets are accepting SNAP Benefits, it will be critical with the recent 25 percent increase of food stamp benefits for needy families. Presently, Americans living in the New York region, who use their EBT card at select farmers markets can earn up to $10 in health bucks for every $2 spent in SNAP benefits.

What many may not know, is that NYC is dotted with small outdoor markets selling the last of their harvests before locals bear down for the winter. Since there is more bang for your buck at farmers markets, here are eight fall fruits and vegetables that can be found at your local farmers market that are perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Vendor in Manhattan’s Chinatown selling fruit. Photo credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash

Peaches

Who ever heard of Thanksgiving without peach cobbler? Albeit messy, there is something that is so appealing about peach cobbler. If this dessert is too messy for you, get creative and make a signature cocktail or a peach bellini. 

Raspberries and blackberries

Berries are always a staple during the holiday season. This year stop by the farmers market for some berries to bake a pie. Raspberries and blackberries are also a great topping for a yellow cake or ice cream smeared with whipped cream. 

Pears

There is so much you can do with pears.On one hand, their soothing aroma fills up  your entire home when cooked, and it also is a great source of fiber, Vitamin C and Copper. From pear sausage to roasted pears with Camembert cheese, even a pear tart to warm the belly in a sumptuous dessert, pears are a must for Thanksgiving dinner.  

| Watch: Yoga during the fall season is about balance and gratitude

Apples

Apples are the it fruit of the fall. With the many varieties ranging from the rich, sweetness of a red apple to a tart sugar bite in a Granny Smith, apples carry so many options. Making apple cider from scratch with the whole family is always fun. Getting everyone involved makes for a memorable experience. Use the leftover apples to make apple sage stuffing, or enjoy a family favorite—apple pie. 

Broccoli 

From anti-aging to anti-inflammatory properties, there are so many health benefits attached with eating broccoli. Plus, adding cheese to it is a great way to trick the kids into eating their veggies during dinner this year. 

Potatoes

Now this is the kind of food that sticks to your ribs. Kick things up a notch by adding minced garlic cloves, onions and chives. Filling up on mashed potatoes packed with flavor at a discounted price is always a great idea. Or, it can be the base to a hearty autumn soup.

Collards + Greens

Before and after kale is sexy, there will always be an affinity for greens, especially the cherished collards. With more nutrients than kale, collards and other greens such as turnips and mustard greens provide a great side dish, or addition to a soup. Because it tastes good with so many seasonings, get bold and creative to play with your palette such as sauteed greens with olive oil and garlic, or them cooked down with a hearty vegetable or chicken broth. 

Cauliflower 

Cauliflower just hits differently during the holidays. Not only is it a great source for antioxidants, it’s the perfect pre-dinner snack when eaten with carrots, cheese, celery, crackers and dip. Also, it can be grilled with great seasonings such as paprika or even curry, or get daring and fry it with a rich Creole-flavored batter.

Butternut squash

Butternut squash is a fall favorite because of the many ways you can eat it. Besides that, it’s also a great source of fiber and healthy for your eyes. From a creamy soup to roasting it with butter and honey sprinkled over it, butternut squash is the ultimate side piece. 

With almost two years behind us since the pandemic shifted life as we knew of it. Many are just thankful to be alive in these uncertain times. Others are grateful to break bread with those they love. This year, Thanksgiving has a new meaning that also includes are new relationship with food.

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

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