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Mac and cheese study reveals Canada's social inequality

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Mac and cheese study reveals Canada's social inequality

Simple meals like Kraft Dinner can be unsatisfying for the millions of Canadians who live in a state of food insecurity, found a new study released by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

The year-long study, published Wednesday in the international journal Agriculture and Human Values, compared the perceptions of Kraft Dinner, a popular macaroni and cheese kit, by "food-secure" Canadians against those on low incomes who are "food-insecure."

"When people are worried that they're going to run out of food, when they have to make nutritional compromises, we have a state of food insecurity. We have a real public health problem," said Melanie Rock, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary.

The study, which interviewed people in Montreal and in Atlantic Canada, found higher income Canadians believe Kraft Dinner is an acceptable donation to food banks because it is convenient as a meal in a box, easy to prepare and tasty.

Respondents also said because their own children liked the taste, they felt kids in lower income families would as well.

In contrast, those on lower incomes said they bought or ate Kraft Dinner as a last resort, usually near the end of the month when money has run out.

The study also pointed out that fresh milk, necessary to prepare Kraft Dinner, is the most precious commodity in many food-insecure households, which often can't afford it.

"For many of us, Kraft Dinner is a comfort food, but what we heard very clearly from low-income Canadians is that Kraft Dinner is not comforting when you cannot always afford basics like milk and butter," said Rock.

Some single mothers told the study authors that their children often refused to eat Kraft Dinner because they had to consume it so often.

Rock said it's unacceptable that nearly 10 per cent of Canadian households don't have enough money to buy food.

She suggested that people donate cash instead of food items to food banks and social agencies so they can buy nutritional food for clients.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labr...dy.html?ref=rss

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Couple of comments.... first of all, Kraft dinner, as much as my son loves it, contains Tartrazine... it's a yellow color that a lot of countries have banned because of the link to behavioral issues. I get him an organic version instead, and yes, he would have it daily if I allowed him to.

Secondly (and not very importantly :P)... a big-### jar of cheez-whiz? #######? I am not thinking from a nutritional standpoint even.. I just don't know how people can eat that orange gelatinous goo :P

Because I haven't been here that long, I should point out that this post was meant in good nature and without judgment :)


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Couple of comments.... first of all, Kraft dinner, as much as my son loves it, contains Tartrazine... it's a yellow color that a lot of countries have banned because of the link to behavioral issues. I get him an organic version instead, and yes, he would have it daily if I allowed him to.

Secondly (and not very importantly :P)... a big-### jar of cheez-whiz? #######? I am not thinking from a nutritional standpoint even.. I just don't know how people can eat that orange gelatinous goo :P

Because I haven't been here that long, I should point out that this post was meant in good nature and without judgment :)

Absolutely none taken! I agree with you. I hate the stuff - but oddly enough - its like security and I can't not have some in the fridge.

As for the yellow dye, I never knew that! That would explain a lot of my problems :blush:

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Couple of comments.... first of all, Kraft dinner, as much as my son loves it, contains Tartrazine... it's a yellow color that a lot of countries have banned because of the link to behavioral issues. I get him an organic version instead, and yes, he would have it daily if I allowed him to.

Secondly (and not very importantly :P)... a big-### jar of cheez-whiz? #######? I am not thinking from a nutritional standpoint even.. I just don't know how people can eat that orange gelatinous goo :P

Because I haven't been here that long, I should point out that this post was meant in good nature and without judgment :)

How about the White Cheddar Mac & Cheese - my kids prefer that one anyways.


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I agree with getting nutritional foods out there for lower income families.

My husband thinks its funny that I call it Kraft dinner. :lol:

Second that one :lol: I had to get used to Mac & Cheese :P


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I agree with getting nutritional foods out there for lower income families.

My husband thinks its funny that I call it Kraft dinner. :lol:

yeah my hubby has no idea what I am talking about when I say Kraft Dinner so now I have forced myself to say Mac and Cheese.. :P but Kraft Dinner does still slip out once in awhile :P

oh and Cheese Whiz FTW!!! :thumbs:

but not the stupid American "Cheese Whiz" :P:no: that stuff sucks ...


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Ugh. I remember having to eat krap dinner for a month solid when I was a young army wife and we were broke. (On sale, it was 10 boxes for a dollar back then.) It took me a good 10-15 years before I could eat that stuff voluntarily again. icon8.gif

I feel weird calling everything mac and cheese. It's like I'm speaking a foreign language and I'm uncertain if I'm saying it right. Macaroni and cheese is much easier to say. :lol:

Cheeze Whiz rocks!!! (But only periodically. lol)


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We buy the stuff too...but I usually beef it up (no pun intended :) ) with ground beef and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Didn't think about the yellow dye stuff...hmmm...gotta read up on that. Now, if we're gonna have just plain ol' M&C I make homemade. Almost always when I ask "box or real" both Joel and Anna say "real".

Interesting article though. :)


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All of this makes me so sad.

Even the fact that so many people do not know about yellow dye in food (mostly cheese) is a carcinogen and worse....as is red dye, etc.

Cheese whiz is not food.

The first time I ever had any kind of mac & cheese was "Annie's", it is bunny approved.

(And that was not that long ago.)

Please see this purple box at your grocer.

Annie's also makes delicious and healthy salad dressing for those times when one is too lazy to mix one's own.

There are so many alternatives.

Grocery stores are like a trip to Disney Land in the U.S. except for the ones that have a small organic section, and some smaller grocers.

The junk! How could any one even avoid it?

You would have to be super conscious.

Nutritionists have said, when you read the labels, if there is anything on there that is suspect, do not ingest it.

Same with stuff you apply to your skin!

Yes people yes!!

Oh I could go on and on, and the reality is this:

If you care about your health, you will do the work.

Research and know what you are doing.

At least when I choose to eat licorice (not when I get the healthy stuff, just the junky red ones), I am aware of how bad it is for me.

Ha! I just don't do that often.

Since many of us here seem to have time on our hands, go to Dr. Mercola, check out Youtube videos on agriculture and Monsanto and pesticides, and read up on how bad sunscreen is for you. etc etc etc...oh once you choose to go into the rabbit hole, there is much to discover.

Have fun!

Thanks for letting people know that although some (a lot) of our society is without, this does not mean that the part of the society that is trying to help could not become more aware of what is needed and what is their perception.

It is good to turn our attentions locally and stop thinking "we" need to aid the rest of the world first.

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I've been poor enough that KD and ramen noodles were about all I could afford to eat. So I totally understand the not wanting to eat it :P I do prefer the Canadian KD over the US mac n cheese though.

Powdered milk should also be a "staple" in anyone's donation box to the food banks, please think of that next time you make a donation. We're using powdered milk these days ourselves since milk went to $4 a gallon recently :P


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Spirit though i totally agree with what your saying. Its terribly sad that low income families don't have that option. They are going to get what we give them. Low income families can't afford a lot of this stuff. I always said we should be investing more in community gardens and stuff. Many low income families can't afford fresh vegetables.


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I've been poor enough that KD and ramen noodles were about all I could afford to eat. So I totally understand the not wanting to eat it :P I do prefer the Canadian KD over the US mac n cheese though.

Powdered milk should also be a "staple" in anyone's donation box to the food banks, please think of that next time you make a donation. We're using powdered milk these days ourselves since milk went to $4 a gallon recently :P

Same here...and that's for the store brand. Name brands, like Mayfield Milk, around here are over $6 a gallon. :blink:


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