How Might Trump Plan For Food Boxes Affect Health? Native Americans Know All Too Well

How Might Trump Plan For Food Boxes Affect Health? Native Americans Know All Too Well
Image from: NPR

Updated to correct quote attribution: "If you want to know what eating primarily shelf-stable and packaged foods does to a household or family or community, I think you could look closely at the Native American experience," says Valerie Blue Bird Jernigan, a citizen of Choctaw Nation who studies the impacts of food environments on Native American health.

Read More: NPR


snap program, poor policy, universal healthcare, fresh food, zero health care, good idea, fresh healthy food, impact health, garbage food, free food, american health,


  1. Trump and the GOP idea: Feed you garbage food, not give you access to good affordable or universal healthcare so you can die young because you are a surplus human.

  2. If this comes up as a real bill every person in The Congress should be forced to eat this for 3 months. Then see what they say.

  3. How much is this going to cost to deliver boxes of food? What about people with diet restrictions....children? This is as dumb as arming teachers. Will be create a new agency to handle this.....what Trump pal will get that appointment? What minion will get the contract to provide the food? This isn't going to save anything....what a joke.

  4. I remember the blocks of cheese that never melted, the canned pork that looked like it was from a human cadaver, the butter that smelled rancid, powered milk & other 'culinary delights'... Giving it to poor people, hell any human being, is grotesque and malicious. It's a quality of food that most people wouldn't even give their pets... If anyone thinks that shelf stable dairy is a good idea, you need to have your head examined.

  5. No one's forcing people to accept free food. Maybe this is really just a scheme to incentivize getting off govt. assistance

  6. It’s going to negatively impact health and healthcare costs. Packaged food is never as good as fresh and it never will be. This is also going to take money out of communities that SNAP put into local economies. It helped create jobs and that’s going to be gone now. On top of all the bureaucracy and costs of putting these boxes together and shipping them. This is just very poor policy.

  7. This type of food will greatly increase diabetes type 2 and other chronic illnesses. Communities need to set up community vegetable gardens and orchards to provide people with fresh healthy food.

  8. 1) Make fresh food unavailable to the poor

    2) Make basic survivability impossible for the poo with zero health care

    3) Provide no source of income by exporting or mechanizing labor

    4) Offer all of these via entrance into the military

    5) Pump them full of propaganda

    6) Endless army of slave soldiers willing to continue the Empire

  9. sugar, plastic, salt, the first time I heard 45 talk about this plan, it sounded like a slow way to kill poor people.

  10. The Snap program works - the only reason for this proposal is to feed into the Republican meme of Food stamp recipients dining on lobster and expensive steaks - this is defined to humiliate and punish poor people - sort of “here’s your government cheese - choke on it”

  11. Got a spot? Plant it. Share what you grow. Is that the answer? Maybe. Maybe not. Will it feed people a little extra? Yes. The information to do this is available, and until further notice, SNAP buys vegetable seeds!!! Take full advantage!!!
    Don't have a spot? Find one or find somebody who shares their extra.
    There are a lot of us out there who plant way too much on purpose. Find some and ask them to teach you.
    Don't wait for that moron, and his idiot cronies to feed you. He's an idiot eating fast food and junk all day. He wouldn't know a vegetable if Melania slapped him with it.

  12. That combination looks like a good
    variety to me with plenty of protein
    Much of the sodium can be rinsed
    away from the beans, peas & corn
    It's a lot better than sugary cereals

  13. Great. Lets restrict food benefits of the mostly working poor - provide them with things full of salts and starches. (80% of food stamp recipients work.) Take away their choices in the matter - so those who try to budget food stamps and eat in a healthy manner can't afford to. That way they will become obese and develop diabetes, heart disease, and generally decline in health. Since they are likely working, but cannot afford healthcare premiums - we can take care of removing any subsided health care next. Then we can blame them for being irresponsible enough to need health care after not eating healthy. So glad I live in a country full of compassion. #sarcasm

  14. I think the psychological damage is just as harmful to people receiving assistance. The government is basically saying, "Here's the worst of our leftovers. You're not worth anything better. Now be grateful." How low it must make people feel.

  15. This is absolutely ridiculous.

    First, people have health issues and allergies that such boxes wouldn’t be able to address. These will be high sodium cans, peanuts, dairy, wheat - some of the most common allergens and food sensitivities.

    Second, many people who have SNAP are homeless or have unstable housing - and may not have a steady address where to receive these boxes.

    Third, there’s absolutely no evidence that this will be cheaper in any way - shipping heavy boxes? I’m sure, however, that Trump & cronies will find a way to partner with some corporations to make it financially beneficial for themselves.

    Let’s call this what it is: a way to strip people already in poverty of the dignity of choice.

  16. The very idea of someone as dense and clueless as DT planning meals for anyone else is just insane. This is a terrible idea that will waste tax dollars and ruin health. Stupid.

  17. The name, Harvest Box, conjures up an image of fresh foods, recently harvested, healthy, a beautiful bounty.
    What’s in a name, right?
    If the recipients end up with illnesses like mentioned, and a lack of healthcare, along with the stigma mentioned, seems like the harvest box will morph into a coffin box. 😥

  18. Trump and his republican minions are thinking only of ways to keep people from scamming SNAP. Everyone knows there is some scamming going on with the SNAP program. But nothing like the scamming going on with corporate welfare. So let’s punish and humiliate families who honestly need the help, like our military families including Vets, as well as the working poor. Send them boxes of outdated processed foods. Let them eat the old cans of okra and Harvard beets and creamed corn. If the kid is hungry enough, he’ll eat it, right? Or maybe he’ll go out and commit a crime so he can get a good meal for himself and his family.

  19. We grew up on canned foods during World War II, although those of us who could, also had vegetable gardens. We did have fresh milk, but also had to use powdered or canned at times. And oleo that had to be colored with a little dye pellet to make it look like butter. And we ate lots of Spam. That said, what the government is proposing is ludicrous. The SNAP program works. Don't fix it if it ain't broken.

  20. Trump's rich friends will send crap food and we will pay more taxes for this boxed food so the rich can get richer..

  21. Here's an idea. Support education programs for healthy cooking and eating so those on SNAP can select real food and not have health issues later down the road. These stupid decisions from our "leader" are so tiresome.

  22. Aren't we told often enough about the food deserts in the poor urban areas and in the rural areas where only junk food is available

  23. I think this sh*t should be mandatory for Trump and everyone in the White House, plus all members of the US Senate and House, to eat every day!! This "food box" isn't fit to feed anyone!! Canned food is full of sodium and sugar and creates health problems. This article is excellently written. It's not just someone's opinion, but a thoroughly researched article.

  24. 👍🏆Trumps diet as we’ve witnessed consists of McDonald’s, cake with two scoops of ice cream, and well done steak with ketchup. I don’t think he’s someone with dietary knowledge.

    But Michelle Obama is!🙏🙋

  25. Very helpful article. I remember as a kid eating canned spam swore I’d never eat that stuff again.

    I knew when they proposed that box that it would be not healthy. I’m 69 and diabetic. I would not do well on starchy, fatty food.
    Don’t think many people would.

  26. Go to a supermarket on the first week of the month and observe how SNAP actually works. Many times it doesn’t. And these benefits should not be for a lifetime and especially not for a childhood. Community gardens and other ways to increase fresh food intake can and should be utilized whenever possible.

  27. Diabetes, heart attack and obesity in a box. The SNAP program is much better that encourages shopping at farmers markets. Local shopping. Helping the local tax base. Getting more people more jobs. I think it sounds pretty good and healthier.

    The other way is a box of death.

    Former Diabetes Educator for a tribal health system for 10 years

  28. It would be interesting to see a study on what is actually purchased most to least with SNAP benefits. Where would fresh fruits and vegetables be on that list??

  29. I wonder what percentage of these people who will possibly be receiving these Trump food boxes actually voted him to power ... wish some organisation would do a survey ... it would be interesting to know

  30. There are many reasons why I think this is a terrible idea, but the one I keep coming back to is: how is there a cost savings? SNAP is a very small stipend to begin with, so how much can the government possibly save when you include ballooning admin, warehousing and shipping costs?

  31. Backwards we go. Everything this admin does is taking us decades back and against the very fabric of this nation. Shame.

  32. Who’s making the boxed food? A Koch Brothers’ owned company, or some other mega- donor to the Republican Party?

  33. “Non-perishable food” is an oxymoron. Although there is clearly a place for canned foods, this should not be the mainstay for anyone’s diet. Nutrient rich foods are fresh and natural and are thus perishable.

  34. These food boxes are a foolish idea for many reasons. It won't save any money, it will cost more. It won't provide healthy food. It doesn't take dietary restrictions into account. It's demeaning to the recipients.

  35. Rich. Heartless. Nra members. Worth millions and billions. That’s who this administration cares about. F the poor people. F the environment. F wildlife. Votes these f’ers out.

  36. We depended on food stamps for years because my husband was disabled. My kids would not be as healthy, strong and mentally sharp if not for the healthy fresh food we bought. When my husband for cancer he required a healthy diet with lots of fruit and greens. Boxed and canned food is asking for a slow death.

  37. Take it from me it would most likely killed me. As a child I had severe allergies to - wheat, milk, cheese, green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, rye, etc etc etc. Had we had to rely on those food boxes I couldn't eat a single thing shown in this picture!!!

  38. Diane Gardner this is what I was talking about when I said food packages instead of offering choices for fresh fruits/vegetables would have long term negative health outcomes for the poor. It doesn’t make sense to cut a program that overwhelming helps those most in need of assistance in our country. People abusing the system is wrong, but not enough for me to want to cut or get rid of the food assistance program or removing access for people to opt for fresh fruit and vegetables.

  39. I think that's their plan. They see the poor and less fortunate as deadweight and want to get rid of them. That's why they're so against affordable healthcare. They want to kill the poor. Jello had it right 40 years ago.

  40. Does Trump care? Or the fake self-Frighteous conservative so-called christians? No one with plenty to eat has any right to criticize those who don't.

  41. Am sort of shocked at how many responses don't acknowledge that we sort of took their land away, killed them and the buffalo for starters, shoved them to small pockets of non-tillable ground, far away from places to work, let alone shop for something half-way decent and you think they should be grateful to get boxes of soggy sodium filled peas? But I forgot- they aren't white.
    Name me one person that would gladly live on this canned or dried diet for a month, let alone years.

  42. I understand wanting people to use the benefits for healthy choices, and really being on food stamps probably shouldn't feel like something a person would be content on forever. But I always think about how hard this would be with my daughter. She's 6 and an extremely problematic eater. Nothing can make her eat food if she thinks she won't like it. It's beyond, "picky", it's like trying to convince her to eat a lightbulb. It's just not food to her. Luckily she loves a wide enough variety of healthy foods so I can make it work. I shop on a budget for myself and her, and I would say at least 2/3 of the grocery bill is healthy food I buy for her, even if it's out of season strawberries or the expensive cheese, etc. If I needed foodstamps I would want to channel the bulk of that toward her nutrition too, but I'd need the flexibility to choose to go hungry myself or live off ramen if need be.

  43. The flaw I see in this is that is not all welfare recipients are buying fresh foods right now anyway. Look at the amount of frozen or pre cooked meals that are bought on the welfare system. Look at what schwans foods started doing to diversify their ice cream sales and deliveries.
    In my opinion the best way to adjust the welfare system is to follow that of the LDS Bishop storehouse system. Where there is only high quality products like meat, some canned foods, fresh produce, milk, cheese, bread and tortillas, and other basics that will provide a quality diet.
    On top of this issue, why not take a look at what needs to change to get people off the welfare system. for those that are still on or need to learn, get them into some basic cooking and homemaking skills classes.

  44. I remember the half houses on the Chippewa reservation in Mt. Pleasant, MI. The government built half a house and the native Americans were supposed to finish them. Not sure how they figured that anyone who wasn't a builder could accomplish this.

  45. It would affect my health for sure. I have IBS.
    Most canned foods, packaged foods, frozen foods really make me sick. I also can't eat most beans, as well as certain fresh fruits and vegetables.

    If I were to rely on this food..... I would be too sick to leave the bathroom, let alone the house. I would have severe intestinal and abdominal pains.
    The food itself, would prevent me from being able to earn income...

  46. Why should people who need assistance be forced to eat food that is ultimately going to contribute to medical problems? Especially after this administration cut funds for Medicaid. They should be working to find healthier alternatives and encouraging more fresh fruits and vegetables.

  47. I have actually lived and worked on two reservations. Native Americans were given what was considered the most useless, barren land to live on. Many of the Indians I knew did try to maintain gardens, but it's not easy in a place like ND where the growing season is so short.The good bottom land by the Missouri River was flooded long ago by the govt. to create the Oahe Reservoir on Standing Rock. It destroyed good farming land, as well as native plants like buffalo berries that the Lakota used to eat. There was also only one crappy grocery store for many miles.

  48. Children in families currently getting SNAP are also getting free breakfast and free lunch at schools. Many schools are now providing bags of food for children to take home to eat over the weekend. If parents are using SNAP to buy food for their kids, why are these kids coming to school hungry and needing bags of food for the weekend? The WIC program is much better than SNAP because recipients are required to purchase whole foods, not sugar and white flour based food for their children.

  49. Are there any studies that show how current food stamp recipients are spending their money? Perhaps this is a more balanced diet than some are buying on their own? Theoretically, since this would be only half of what they are allocated, couldn’t people still choose to purchase fresh fruits and veggies with the rest? Also, I’ve read several articles citing the lack of fresh foods available in some communities, so is this truly different than what some people are already purchasing with their food stamps? One last thought-if these items are purchased in bulk, perhaps it’s a way to get more food for the money and provide more to those who need it?

  50. Hey people that cannot afford groceries should be happy they will even get food to eat. I bet it will be healthier food than what a lot of people buy with food stamps.

  51. First, the genetic disposition to diabetes implies that the food did not cause most of the health issues. Second, maybe the program could be structured like WIC, where there is choice but foods have been selected to have whole grains, high protein, balanced fat plus an $ for fresh veggies. And last, if 80% of SNAP recipients work (as commented above) they can buy supplemental produce to make meals to their taste, culture, ethnic preference.

  52. I think people whose companies declare bankruptcy should also have to eat dried peas until they pay their debts, instead of tossing down cheeseburgers.

  53. I’m not for this, but anyone can have a garden. Even a container garden. Spinach and tomatoes, herbs are easy. Lettuce is easy. I’ve even grown carrots in containers. Peppers. Potatoes. We need a better food delivery system. I don’t think boxes of pasta do it.

  54. It will actually be MORE expensive AND worse nutritionally.
    Think costs...
    A reloadable Card in 49 ¢ envelope vs a box at whatever the per pound shipping cost is.
    A card which is secured by a pin # and traceable
    vs a box which can be stolen by porch pirates, or possibly vengeful ex partners.
    Full of food which has the same high starch, high fat, high sodium characteristics as the junk food everyone rails about.
    Fine, I don’t want to hear one more word about people who supposedly buy steak or lobster with their SNAP. You can’t even GET lobster where I shop which is mainly Wal*Mart and Safeway.
    As for steak, sure if it’s reduced for quick sale I might get some.
    Mostly I eat hamburger.
    If you are so jealous of what poor people are supposedly buying, ask yourself why are you not just buying some of that for your own family?
    The Commodities Program destroyed the health of whole tribes of Native Americans.
    It is not practical or moral.
    It will cost more too!
    I remember when the Navajo Nation transitioned from the Commodities Program over to Food Stamps in the mid 1970s.
    The Navajo Nation experienced better health outcomes on Food Stamps vs Commodities.

  55. A diet of processed / canned foods is a good way to wreck people’s health and usher them into a system of sick care...

  56. When I visited the Native American reservations, our family went to the local village center store to buy food to put together for a picnic supper. The ONLY "fresh" vegetable was some wilted lettuce, or canned. Don't remember any fresh fruit whatsoever. The meats were the cheapest and fattiest- bologna, etc. Our family could not find enough we wanted to buy. There was lots of wonder bread, fried snacks, and gallons of soda. A shock to us!

  57. Why do we keep demonizing poor people in this country? They aren't the problem. There is less than 4% fraud in the SNAP program, one of the lowest among all government programs. Let's look at taking a teensy bit of the obscene military budget if SNAP needs a boost. There's more fraud there than.... in a Trump business. Lol. And whatever happened to "the common good"? None of the programs this administration is promoting seems to benefit anyone but large corporations and wealthy Republican donors.

  58. Some is better than none?! Plenty of people out there who are lactose intolerant (so dairy makes them sick; most POC have this problem), peanut allergies (very common), diabetes (needs to be low carb). This plan forces poor people to give up a big portion of their grocery allotment for stuff they can’t use, only to spend the little money they get for items they can use, leaving nothing for important extras like toilet paper, soap and tampons.

  59. Pre-selected foods will cause horrible allergy issues for those who are allergic to commonly used foods like corn. Who will pay for the extra medical assistance needed for those who rely on food boxes filled with allergens?

  60. FREE food is better than No food....still will get $ for what they want to add to food intake. Hopefully this program will be better than before and stop needy people from eating better than hard working people that get NO assistance as well as stop wasted $ on nonessential items...Maybe employ thousands to make and distribute better food to improve needy peoples diets ?????

  61. It's free and suppose to be supplemental.....its better than nothing at all. I bet less fortunate people in other countries would be grateful.

  62. There is nothing traditional about Navajo/Indian tacos. That junk is traditional
    Government commodities. Try eating that everyday and see how you feel.

  63. I can understand why it would be thrifty and cost-effective on the side of the Government, but the health effects should be monitored. There are so many urban areas in this country where there simply are no grocery stores that offer fresh meats and produce. This should be given a great deal of thought before the SNAP benefits are changed.

  64. Ok so most people on SNAP are also on WIC. WIC gives you a set amount for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, bread or tortillas, cereal and beans. It can be customized at the local office to accommodate any allergies. I know this because I have been on SNAP and WIC and Medicaid. Now this next statement might get me in trouble, and you do not have to believe me, of course. But it is the truth. We applied for SNAP several months ago and were denied based upon our reported income, even though it didn't match my own records. I offered to show them pay stubs. They declined, but told us they only way we would be approved under our income was to either have another child or change our skin colour. Now I am not asking for sympathy and I know all the statistics. And mostly it seems there are more white people on SNAP than anybody else. It is just my experience.

  65. I remember seeing government subsudized food at daycare centers. Huge blocks of highly processed 'cheese' and powdered milk. I wouldn't consider feeding it to my family.

  66. You could just look around at the average citizen. Obesity seems to be out of control. No expert here, but I would guess it has to do with "shelf stabile" manmade overly processed junk people eat because it's cheap to buy. Regardless of having to utilize government help, money is tight, time is short and healthy eating is costly.

  67. This is yet another way for Trump to funnel money to business. Someone will have to sell these boxes and someone will have to deliver them. The electronic transfer of the benefit amount is Inexpensive and allows the beneficiaries to purchase fresh, healthy food.

  68. Good Lord, many, many American's grew up on food like that because its what we could afford. We were just glad we jad enough money to buy it. And buy extra for the pantry when something came up unexpected like a doctor visit, so we could still eat that week.

  69. I am already living this nightmare. I have not eaten any fresh vegetables this year, none. I have only had old, but still okay, apples for fresh fruit. Does my body know this? Oh yes it does. Living on food from cans is not healthy, it is calories, it is not nutrition.

  70. I read the opening statement and quit reading. I live in South Texas and worked at a grocery store when I was in high school and I hardly, if ever, saw fresh food being bought with food stamps. It was usually two-three carts of junk food and occasionally meat for bbq’s.