I think I’ve come one step closer to solving food insecurity, using ChatGPT in a spreadsheet!

To expand further upon my idea, GroceryMarketKit, here is my process and prompts to address leftovers, food already in the fridge, and making the most of healthy SNAP-eligible items.

GroceryMarketKit seeks to address specific issues of food insecurity, including:

  • Accessibility and Reading Comprehension Levels: Each recipe/meal card will have 16-point font and be written at a 3rd-grade level, with illustrations and videos. This is crucial as people in poverty are disproportionately elderly and disabled, and in many circumstances, kids need to make meals themselves.
  • Minimal Resources Required: Each meal will be able to be cooked with one pot or pan, and usually with multiple methods (microwave, stovetop, etc.). No blenders, electric mixers, or complicated equipment will be needed.
  • Affordability: Each serving will cost $5 or less, helping people budget their SNAP benefits effectively and stretch them further.
  • Stress Reduction: By making SNAP budgeting and meal planning stress-free, these kits address the fact that impoverished people are often stressed, which affects their ability to reason and plan, adding to the cycle of poverty.

My Process and AI Prompts

I did this in SheetMagic (an AI spreadsheet tool), after getting inspired while playing with prompts to give me a weekly meal plan from my household food inventory. The benefit of using SheetMagic is that I’m able to connect to ChatGPT-4 via the API, for lengthier responses and input.

Here are the prompts I used towards creating SNAP-eligible recipes that are nutritious, easy to make, use minimal equipment, written at a 3rd-grade level, and use leftovers.

(Where A2is the list of food already in my pantry and fridge):

=gpt4long("give me 10 easy recipes which can be cooked in only one stovetop pot or pan using only these ingredients, and which consecutively make use of leftovers from the previous recipes: ", A2:A58)

=gpt4long("give me 10 easy recipes for a family of four which can be cooked in only one stovetop pot or pan for $5 or less per serving, using only SNAP eligible food items from https://schnucks.com/shop - include the itemized pricing for each ingredient and keep it at a 3rd grade reading level")

=gpt4long("give me 10 easy, healthy recipes for a family of four which can be cooked in only one stovetop pot or pan for $5 or less per serving, using only SNAP eligible food items from https://schnucks.com/shop - include the itemized pricing and exact name for each ingredient and keep it at a 3rd grade reading level")

=gpt4long("give me 10 easy, healthy recipes for a family of four which can be cooked in only one stovetop pot or pan for $5 or less per serving, using only SNAP eligible food items from https://schnucks.com/shop - include the itemized pricing and exact name for each ingredient and keep it at a 3rd grade reading level, make use of leftovers from previous recipes when possible")

=gpt4long("give me 10 easy, healthy recipes for a family of four which can be cooked in only one stovetop pot or pan for $5 or less per serving, using only SNAP eligible food items from https://schnucks.com/shop - include the itemized pricing and exact name for each ingredient and keep it at a 3rd grade reading level. When possible, make use of leftovers from previous recipes, and utilize food in my fridge from this list first", A2:A58)

Results: 10 Realistic Recipes

Here are some examples of the realistic recipes generated using a mix of food already in my fridge and SNAP-eligible items that build on leftovers:

AI suggested recipes, ingredients and prices:

1. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

  • Ingredients: 1 sweet potato, 2 cans Schnucks black beans ($0.89 each), 1 can Schnucks diced tomatoes ($0.89), 1 chili seasoning packet, 1 frozen diced onion.
  • Steps: Cut the sweet potato into cubes & sauté in oil with the frozen onions. Add the beans, tomatoes, and chili packet. Cook until everything is heated.

2. Turkey Burger Soup

  • Ingredients: 4 frozen turkey burgers, 1 can Schnucks kidney beans ($0.89), 1 can minestrone soup ($1.49), 1 can diced tomatoes ($0.89), frozen mixed peas, corn, and carrots.
  • Steps: Sauté the burgers, then add the soup, beans, tomatoes, and vegetables. Cook until heated.

3. Chicken & Quinoa Stir-Fry

  • Ingredients: 1 can chicken, 1 cup quinoa, frozen asparagus, sweet peppers, and onions for grilling, soy sauce.
  • Steps: Cook the quinoa. In another pan, cook the chicken & vegetables in some soy sauce. Mix together.

4. Enchilada Casserole

  • Ingredients: 1 can chicken, 1 can Schnucks enchilada sauce ($1.49), 1 can black beans ($0.89), 1 can diced tomatoes ($0.89), corn chips, cheese.
  • Steps: Layer the chicken, sauce, beans, tomatoes, and chips in a pan. Top with cheese and bake until melted.

5. Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

  • Ingredients: Gluten-free rotini, 1 can kidney beans ($0.89), 1 can diced tomatoes ($0.89), olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
  • Steps: Cook the pasta. Mix with beans, tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, and seasoning.

6. Pancake Apple Rings

  • Ingredients: 2 Fuji apples, Kodiak flapjack and waffle mix, cinnamon, sugar.
  • Steps: Slice the apples into rings. Dip into pancake mix and cook. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

7. Chicken Tenders & Sweet Potato Fries

  • Ingredients: Frozen gluten-free breaded chicken breast tenders, 1 sweet potato, olive oil, salt.
  • Steps: Bake the chicken. Slice the sweet potato into fries, toss with oil and salt, and bake until crispy.

8. Popcorn with a Twist

  • Ingredients: popcorn kernels, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt.
  • Steps: Pop the kernels. Toss with yeast, oil, and salt.

9. Taco Bean Soup

  • Ingredients: 1 can chicken, 1 can black beans ($0.89), 1 can diced tomatoes ($0.89), 1 taco seasoning packet, frozen diced onion.
  • Steps: Cook chicken with onions. Add beans, tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Cook until heated.

10. Apple Butter Oatmeal

  • Ingredients: Old fashioned oatmeal, apple butter, cinnamon, sugar.
  • Steps: Cook oatmeal. Mix in apple butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Conclusion

If you read no further, I’d love to collaborate or share what I’ve done so far on this project. I still have my slides and research from my 1 Million Cups pitch last year. Due to time constraints, I haven’t been able to fully launch GroceryMarketKit, but this breakthrough using AI feels like a significant step forward.

Stay tuned for more updates as I continue to refine this process and explore the potential of AI in solving food insecurity.