MARTIN DE RUYTER / STUFF
Lauren Ensor, Nelson Marlborough Health and Rob Blake, Pacific Trust make a “meal in minutes” developed by the Nelson Marlborough Health to feed a family for less than $ 10.
Chicken mushroom pasta, teriyaki chicken or nachos for less than $ 10 are on the menu for families struggling in Te Tauihu (the top of the south).
As the cost of living increases, food affordability has become one of the biggest challenges for many families.
Now, Nelson Marlborough Health has developed a set of five recipes cards for families to bust out on days when they’re struggling to get food on the table.
Health promotion manager Lauren Ensor says it’s part of a meal-in-minutes kit project to help community agencies and food banks with food provision ideas.
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The project aimed to “provide whānau with affordable, balanced, and easy-to-make food options when money is tight, cooking facilities are limited or in preparation for emergencies,” she said.
The recipes use canned or dry foods, and come in at less than $ 10 for three to four serves. All require just a microwave and minimal kitchen equipment.
“With ongoing food security issues for whanau, increased demands on foodbanks, and the need for affordable and easy food options during difficult times, the meal in minute kits are designed to help take the stress out of meal preparation.”
The recipes are all designed to make balanced meals.
While the meals shouldn’t replace fresh fruit or vegetables, they were good options to have on hand for emergencies, Ensor said.
“These recipes are based on non-perishable food and while they have been designed to be nutritionally balanced, they do not replace them for fresh or frozen whole foods where possible.”
Long term, they plan to partner with local Supermarkets, so shoppers can grab a complete kit to Donate to Charity.
The aim was to help shoppers know what they could buy cheaply if they needed help, or – if they were in a position to help others, what to Donate that could be made into a meal, she said.
“We want people to understand how to donate better.”
They have also developed an “emergency preparedness kai plan” with the recipes.
The plans helped families purchase enough non-perishable food to have on hand to get them through three or five days, she said.
“It is hoped these recipes will be well utilized by not only food banks and community organizations, but also for whanau to have on hand for emergencies / natural disasters when non-perishables are a vital resource.”
Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust general manager Rob Blake said there were a lot of people in the community struggling to put food on the table, so these resources were a good option to help people out.
“More and more people are actually asking us for food vouchers or ways to find cheaper options for food.”
His team had loved the options available for families, he said.