Eating Disorder Recovery While Living on Food Stamps

Girl in Deep Though

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

For countless Americans across the nation, making ends meet is a struggle, including having enough food for all family members. Food insecurity is a reality that many individuals and families struggle with on a daily basis, and the challenge of knowing where the next meal might come from adds additional stress and anxiety towards food and eating.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, helps low or no income families with food assistance. This federal aid program provided by the USDA, allows receipts to purchase food goods with the use of an EBT, or debit card. For many families who are struggling with an adequate and consistent food source, the SNAP program can prevent ongoing hunger and be a life saving intervention.

Maintaining Eating Disorder Recovery While on Food Stamps

Food insecurity can create tremendous challenges for someone in eating disorder recovery. Utilizing benefits offered through a program like SNAP can help ensure that basic food needs are met. IF you or someone you love are a receipt of food stamp benefits while attempting to maintain recovery from an eating disorder, it is essential to have and follow a meal plan that works within your food budget.

Working with a registered dietitian can be helpful in order to best determine how to meet your daily meal plan needs within your expected food budget under the SNAP Program.

Working Through Food Insecurity Challenges

Young woman on meal plan at  the marketA lack of food can be triggering for an individual struggling with an eating disorder. For some individuals dealing with anorexia, a lack of food can further exacerbate a desire to restrict overall caloric intake. On the other hand, for someone with bulimia or binge eating disorder, food insecurity can trigger binge episodes.

Adequate meal planning can help ensure that food needs are appropriately met, even with a low income or budget for food. Your treatment team may also be able to assist you with ways to help supplement your food budget to ensure that you have adequate resources to support your recovery from an eating disorder.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some other challenges eating disorder sufferers may face who are also dealing with food insecurity or a lack of resources for food?


Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 12, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

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