Today is the first day of the food stamp challenge, and I’m feeling pretty good. I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store until around lunchtime, so I skipped breakfast, which meant I could spend the full $4.40 I have on lunch and dinner. I walked around the store strategically as I searched for the best deal on apples. Normally apples are around $1.99/lb and weigh about half a pound each, but I found a particular apple that was on sale for $1.29/lb!
Then I walked to the frozen food section because I figured I could find a frozen meal that is cheaper than the individual ingredients used to make a meal. I found a frozen stir-fry entrée costing $1, and a tortellini entrée at $1.20. I figured those three things could get me through the rest of the day, so I splurged a little and got an individual serving of Ben & Jerry’s. My total came out to be $3.93, leaving me with a little wiggle room for the rest of the week.
So far I’ve eaten one of the frozen food trays, which I noticed doesn’t consist of much substance but has a very high fat content (28% of the daily serving), the apple, and some of the ice cream ;). The frozen meal did contain some vegetables, so I would say it was a semi-balanced meal.
My goal for when I go shopping for the entire week is to start buying individual ingredients and combining them in different recipes to make them last. The grocery list will include eggs, pasta, peas, Parmesan cheese, olive oil (if I can afford it), apples, bananas, rice, and other miscellaneous vegetables that are on sale.
If today is a predictor for the rest of the week then it looks like I may start living off of chips and pop tarts. My weekends typically don’t consist my healthiest meals but I thought for sure I could scavenge something better than pop tarts and tortilla chips. I should also mention that I am terrible about following the 3 meals a day “rule”. As I’m sure you’ll notice throughout the week I stay busy and simply forget about lunch or wake up too late for breakfast. I really just don’t eat too much in general so I’m hoping that maybe my diet this week can focus a little more on quality rather quantity.
So I should probably explain how I ended up eating pop tarts and chips today…Feel free to judge my poor planning and eating habits haha. This morning I woke up starving so I wanted something quick to eat and with the convenience of a BP two blocks from my house the decision was easy. The pop tarts totaled about a $1.50 since it was an individual package. My plans for dinner at this point consisted of something much healthier to try to balance the diet out; however, by the time dinner actually came around my friends had different plans in mind.
Every Sunday Yo Burrito has half of burritos and I try to go whenever I can because I love the food. Obviously with only $2.90 left in my budget I couldn’t afford one of my beloved burritos so I had to make some tough decisions. I could either go eat with friends and order tortilla chips (aka the only thing within budget there) or cook vegetables alone in my apartment. My friends and tortilla chips won out.
The unexpected challenge I faced today was realizing how often I eat out with friends. I always suggest to my friends that we should grab breakfast/lunch/dinner to catch up so I’m realizing now that’s one habit I’m going to have to break this week if I want to eat more than one meal a day.
Total money spent: $3.50
I woke up around 10 and had a sesame bagel for $1.10. I started planning out some food items to get and what I was going to eat this week. I was wondering if it would be better to only eat two meals a day or small meals consistently throughout the day. $4.40 is probably only enough for the two meals though. Another problem I came across with planning is what cheap foods are there that are healthy. I’m only doing this diet for a week, but how is a person suppose to survive when they are eating unhealthy everyday? The easiest way to plan this out would be to find something with a lot of carbs, protein and vitamins and eat that every single day. It seems like the time of day in which you eat meals will also be a big part of this life style. Later in the day I bought I pack of ramen noodles($.67) to tied me over till dinner and Velveeta macaroni and cheese($2.60). I ate the soup around 3PM and plan or eating the macaroni around 8 PM tonight. The only thing I had to drink was water, but that wasn't really much of a life change. Coffee is going to be the hardest thing to plan in my budget. It’s going to be an exhausting week without food.
I woke up this morning with a phone call from my boyfriend asking if I wanted to come over for breakfast, and a text message from a friend asking if I wanted to go get brunch with her. Normally, I would have had the trouble of choosing between the two options, but one would have eventually been chosen either way. But today, I chose neither; I remembered that I promised to live for one week, starting today, with only $4.40 per day allotted for food. I can’t eat anything already in my refrigerator, and I can’t accept free food from anyone. (My roommate offered to pay after I reminded her that I only have $4.40, and my boyfriend of course was not going to charge me to eat breakfast at his house, yet I still had to turn them own.) So far, it looks like one issue I'll run into a lot this week is turning down offers like these. I always make an effort to eat with others, and usually we cook for each other whatever we feel. This week, however, I still plan to eat socially, but I feel I will be eating something quite different (and less) than that my friends eat.
So today I had this brilliant idea of, keeping with my values of reduce-reuse-recycle, going to the Bagel Shop and buying their day-old bagels. So, for $3.32 I got 6 assorted bagels, AKA breakfast for the week. I know I’ll be going shopping for the week tomorrow, and had to think of something I could get a good deal on that was close by. These bagels will likely be all I eat today; with my remaining $1.08 I’ll perhaps get a banana or something to complement my bagel at dinner. It will be easier to buy for the week tomorrow rather than just for one day; don’t worry, I won’t be living off of bagels three meals a day for an entire week. I plan to add some substantive rice and beans in there as well. I’m so up for the challenge!!