SNAP Hunger Awareness Challenge: Day 2

I woke up hungry, and early. But I had gone to bed earlier the night before, primarily because I really wanted to eat something and I knew I could not. Since it was only about 7am, I decided to hold off as long as I could to eat breakfast. I love oatmeal. This was an especially good-tasting bowl.

  • oatmeal, 1/2 cup: .08
  • applesauce, 1/4 cup: .08
  • raisins, 1/8 cup: .08
  • vanilla soy milk, 1/4 cup: .12
  • breakfast total: .36

A cheap, healthy, and filling breakfast. (I think I’ll be eating oatmeal all week, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Lunch was a lucky find. I don’t use many processed foods, but at the going-out-of-business sale at Jerry’s IGA (SAD!), we picked up two Taste of Thai noodle kits (noodles + sauce) for $1.99 each (30% off). One box is two servings, and although I ate less than half of the box, I counted the whole serving toward the total. I think it probably compensated for the tiny bit of oil I added to the wok for stir-frying.

You might have noticed by now that I’m not eating meat. Or eggs. Or dairy. I was mostly vegetarian before this week, but today I am also beginning the first week of PCRM‘s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. I had thought it would be a bad idea to do both at once, but as I planned my SNAP menus, I noticed a distinct lack of products like cheese. It’s expensive, not very healthy, and I would like to learn to eat less of it, especially since reading The China Study. So expect more plant-based meals all week.

For this pad thai, I stir-fried an egg and some chicken for the non-veg people in my house, and added it back in after I’d taken my portion.

  • pad thai kit, 1/2 box: .99
  • bean sprouts: .33
  • whole wheat & honey fig bars (clearance at IGA): .66
  • crushed peanuts: .08
  • cucumber & onion salad: .55
  • lunch total: $2.28

Confession: the pad thai plus cucumber salad (cucumber slices + pickled onions from the refrigerator pickle jar) did not fill me up. While cleaning up lunch, I ate 4 whole wheat and honey fig bars, which are normally more expensive – but I had obtained them on clearance from a store that was going out of business. Were it not for luck, I probably would have walked away hungry.

In the afternoon, I grabbed a few pretzels from a large bag for .32.

Dinner was disappointing. I had cooked up some brown rice, and half of a bag of fresh spinach that was about to go bad. I’m trying to get better at using produce before it goes bad, and someone on SNAP would certainly not want to waste food… so I steamed the spinach. I added this to a cup of brown rice, along with some curry powder. Although quite nutritious, the taste and texture were not good. I left about 1/4 cup behind, but counted the full serving toward my total. A person on SNAP would not have the option to throw it out and eat something else.

Thankfully, I was able to eat the ear of sweet corn that my son didn’t want, and it fit into my budget. Still, I went to bed hungry, but probably because I walked for more than an hour after dinner.

  • 1 cup brown rice: .18
  • 1 cup cooked spinach (12 oz bag): 1.29
  • corn on the cob: .25
  • dinner total: 1.72

I usually run at least 3 times a week, but I did not have the energy. My calorie intake for the day was approximately 1260. On day 1, it was even lower, at 1060 – far below my Basal Metabolic Rate. I know I could have easily chosen cheaper, more calorie-dense foods, but I’m trying to eat as healthfully as I can on this budget. I don’t see how anyone who has a physically demanding job or leads an active lifestyle can sustain this level of calories.

Day 2 total: $4.68 (+ $.01 for the week, with leftover cents from yesterday)
Fruit/vegetable servings: about 6 (a lot of spinach)

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