Cook for Good!

Americans spend on average 32 cents out of every dollar on groceries and household items, according to ICFE director Paul Richard. Most people I know spend between $45 and $60 each week on groceries. But for people in many states receiving food stamps, they're expected to live on just $1 a meal.

Cue visions of Ramen noodles and ketchup on pasta.

Not so, says Linda Watson, whose 2007 experiment to see how well a person can eat on $1 a meal has turned into a food revolution called, simply, Cook for Good.

The concept is simple: Instead of spending your dollar on the most calories you can get (a common, foolhardy supposition of those buying food on a shoestring budget), you maximize your nutrition. Mrs. Watson swears that after the first day of this brave new diet, she never felt like she was starving herself or missing out on anything. Check out a sample Cook for Good winter menu:

With some basic ingredients and supplies, Mrs. Watson swears you can have an extremely healthy diet on next-to-no money. But don't take my word for it—check it out for yourself and report back.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.