Foodie to Foodstamps: Day 1

September 28 2010 - 8:08 AM

 So, yesterday was my first day of the SNAP foodstamp challenge ($4.35 a day) and there was plenty to learn. Much of it was about retail. The notion of a food desert is more clear to me now. Without the right store, this is a very difficult proposition. I have the advantage of living a block from the Devon Market where I can get better prices on certain things. I did have a moment when I remembered weighing produce with my mother as a kid and how I don't ever do that anymore.

The plan was to break the week into at least 2 $15 shopping trips but that was scuttled when I realized I could pick up family packs. At $0.49 a pound, chicken leg quarters were a sure bet. That also changed my mental menu for the week. Let the ad hoc shopping begin.

Produce is the tough part. I got a head of broccoli, a pound of spinach and a bunch of cilantro. Proteins were varied and cheap enough but I would have preferred to load up on veggies. Starches will also make this a non-hunger event. I have a box of pasta, small bag of rice and 3 lbs of potatoes. That should keep me pretty well. A dozen eggs, tomato sauces, hot sauce, carrots, onions, black beans, butter, fresh rosemary, Michigan apples and corn tortillas rounded everything out. I spent all my money – all at once.

I did have to take off a couple of items at the register, the Total cereal, lactose-free milk, and Sabri hummus (it was on sale).

$30.49 was the damage. Add the $99 Clif bar and I nailed the number. Looking at the receipt I realize I should have put back the $1.89 jar of pasta sauce, because it tastes lousy and I could have substituted 2 tiny cans of tomato paste and more than doubled up on broccoli. Otherwise, no ramen!

At home I also cooked almost everything at once. Given my schedule I don't have too much time to cook during the week and I had about an hour before the Packer-Bears game so I prepared most of the week's food: rice in the rice cooker, roasted chicken which will be a meal on its own and then be a couple other smaller ones as well in taco form with beans and rice, spaghetti with meat sauce and Chicken soup. I'll post recipes shortly.

Yesterday I ate: 3 apples, 1 Cliff bar, corn tortillas, spaghetti with meat sauce, rice carrots and water. I was hungry during the day but not unusually so. I did miss my breakfast/coffee in the car on the 2 hour trip to a client's office.

Today I'm bringing roast chicken to work and for dinner chicken soup and chicken tacos… hmmm. I may have purchased too much chicken. I'll just make them beef tacos.

*My only adjustments are:

1– that I gave myself a bonus coffee a day, $.55 for the pod – a single cup, not Starbucks or a thermos. It's medicinal. I usually drink more than a few…
2 – I am participating in 2 events this week. And am making exceptions for them.