So I'm sharing this picture with the world as a part of the USDA's "What's on Your Plate" buzz day, and I have to be honest with you: I haven't always eaten like this. My lunch today consists of a takeout salad topped with quinoa and chicken, which is a far cry from what my lunch would have looked like last year. I'm in marathon training mode, so this is what many of my lunches will resemble until the Chicago Marathon this fall (but I do miss a good, double-stuffed sandwich).

This lunch cost me $11, which is a pretty affordable luxury for me, but perhaps not for a lot of the clients we serve. When I think about it, that same money could have stretched a lot further to purchase non-perishable meals or food with higher-caloric content. For many of us, low-income or not, the decision sometimes boils down to getting more bang for your buck. This is why so many individuals in need are disproportionately facing chronic diet-related diseases.

But we at Feeding America see an opportunity to help people live their healthiest lives. We know we can empower the 37 million individuals who come to the network for help with resources they can use to build better meals, and we've already started laying that groundwork:

  • Feeding America has signed on as a national strategic partner of the USDA MyPlate Initiative. We plan to increase the amount of food highlighted by MyPlate throughout the network.
  • This year, we are on track to secure nearly half a billion pounds of produce. By 2015, we hope to reach a baseline of 1 billion.
  • Nearly 70 percent of our member food banks already offer nutrition outreach and education for their clients.

Our services won't offer a magic cure to the rise of diet-related diseases in the United States. That's going to take a lot of collaboration across many organizations, with much of the work essentially coming down to the individual. But by giving struggling Americans access to these resources, we can ensure that even those who don't have access to the tools that the rest of us can afford in our quest to live healthy, productive lives.


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