Rice and beans
Cannonfire has an excellent post on eating on food stamps. I agree with him, it was nice that Gwennyth Paltrow at least tried to imagine what it would be like to live on food stamps. It is nice to see rich people with an agenda that goes beyond more tax breaks for me, so kudos to Paltrow for at least trying. However, I disagree with his solution.
Having spent time on Dr. Michael Greger's Nutritionfacts site, I have become a vegetarian, well, his site plus those pictures of chickens in cages and pigs in crates. I do not think that meat raised in factory farms is safe to eat.
Unlike Cannonfire, there is no Latino grocery store within 10 miles of where I live, nor are there any Latino grocery stores near any subway stop. There are no farmer's markets close to me nor road side stands, the other sources of good cheap food.
Let me say up front that my solution will not work unless you have access to a decent food bank, and, in a pinch, a decent soup kitchen. For breakfast I have oatmeal. During the Clinton administration I made oatmeal with milk and put raspberries on top. Now I make it with water and put nothing on top. Oatmeal it cheap, filling, and incredibly good for you.
Most of my meals consist of brown rice and beans. I also have sandwiches for lunch, this is a luxury because I buy whole grain bread at $4 a loaf. This is not sustainable unless you have access to a good food bank which provides 3 or 4 days worth of food. Obviously plan your shopping around you food bank food. If you get rice and beans you have money for whole grain bread, fresh spinach, nuts and other luxuries. If you get peanut butter you can buy blueberry preserves and so on.
If you are poor you probably are not using spices in your food. But I strongly advocate using cloves, ginger, rosemary, and tumeric. This is admittedly expensive. For example tumeric and black pepper (black pepper greately enhances the health benefits of tumeric) will cost you two days allotment of food stamps. Unless you can replace that somehow, it just is not possible to buy spices. But the benefits of turmeric are so varied and so great, that it is really worth it if at all possible. One bottle will last for months, so it is not as if you have to buy it every month. I also recommend garlic. Garlic will cost your one meal's allotment, so you have to be able to replace that meal. However, the benefits are so great it is worth going to the soup kitchen for one meal so that you can afford garlic.
Recently I have started to use ginger in my cooking. I find that it has removed my food cravings for sweets and salty snacks. As I did not expect this, I don't think it is a placebo effect. However, I know of no actual research to support this.
Finally I recommend flax seeds. I found they really helped with my susceptibility to fatique. One bag of ground flax seeds will cost you 5 meals allotment, and it will only last one month, so you will have to be able to replace those meals. I spinkle ground flax seeds on applesauce and oatmeal. I also use it to thicken sauces.
It is possible to eat nutritious meals on food stamps, but it is extremely difficult.