SNAP Challenge Day Seven
So here it is Day Seven of my SNAP Challenge. I have eaten well this entire week and in all honesty, I can tell you that I wasn’t hungry once the entire time I was on this challenge. I continued to work and I even drove up and back to Vermont (5 hours total) one day.
Here are the final numbers: In New Hampshire, the median benefit amount is $30/person/week which is what I was challenged to work with.
For this entire week I ended up spending $28.16 (if you need to see the receipts contact me and I’ll send a scan) which means that I would now have $1.84 credit on my “benefits card.”
If I bought for the *exact* same menu for next week (and there’s really no need not to as I was never bored with any of my meals) there are a few items I would not need to buy because of food that is leftover:
- Tea – 1.00
- Pasta – .88
- Oatmeal – 1.68
- Butter – 2.28
- Raisins – 1.48
- Total $7.32 saved for 2 weeks
If I bought the same groceries for 4 weeks, I could potentially create a surplus of (1.84 x 4) + (7.32 x 2) = $22 (and even this number is on the low side because one box of tea would last the entire month at 3 cups/day.)
My point is that I have now created a buffer from which I could draw to start buying staples (a bag of potatoes is much cheaper than buying them singly) or items that have gone on sale or foods for a celebration (like a cake mix for a birthday.)
Remember that we have 8 people in our family. If all of us saved $22 for this 4 week period this means that my family could potentially create a SNAP surplus of $176.00 for the month. Do you know what I could do with an extra $176.00 at the grocery store? I could start buying a little more cheese, a little more meat, and some more fruit. I could start building up a reserve, a pantry.
Do you see where I’m going with this? I could start fishing for myself.
I realize that this is all hypothetical, prices vary, the bread I got might not be on sale next week, etc, but even though it’s hypothetical, don’t discount it entirely because it *is* possible.
It takes planning, education, a shift in priority back to in-home food preparation, access to food, and it takes people who are willing to teach what they know.
By the way, the extra $1.84 from this week went into the holiday Red Kettle. Granted it’s not much, but just like this challenge was, it’s a start.
- Oatmeal with bananas
- ½ cup uncooked oatmeal
- 1 banana
- 2 pats of butter
- Nutmeg (on hand but you could have also used cinnamon)
- Tea bag
- Roasted Vegetable Frittata
Don’t be afraid of the name, it’s really just a beat egg poured onto vegetables (or anyother leftovers) after heating vegetables in a pan with butter on medium heat, pour two beaten eggs onto the pile cover (to cook the eggs on top) and let cook until the egg sets.
- Toasted English muffin with butter
- 2 eggs
- Leftover roasted vegetables
Yup, even on the last day.
- 11 Vanilla cookies (1 serving)
- Cup of tea
I saved this meal for last. I know that a lot of people on this challenge are saying that there is no food at the end of the week and that they are hungry (and if they haven’t planned, I’ll bet they are!) But here’s a hardy, final meal with a few surprises. Bacon is full of fat and so it stores well (unlike the deli ham that will go bad in a few days) which is why I’m able to still use some meat for flavoring at the *end* of the week. The key to this meal is to also add a pat of butter (for fat) after the bacon cooks (which adds its own fat) to add a little substance to the dish. Once you’ve added the sauce, turn the heat down and let it simmer. Simmering is not just heating food up, simmering is slowly cooking the food which allows the flavors to release and meld. A 5 minute simmer will do much to the overall taste of your sauce.
The corn muffins come from a Jiffy mix, just be sure to use oil in the muffin cups (I used some of my butter) otherwise they will not come out of the tin. I’m using 2 of the 8 muffins that I made for this meal which means on my final day of the week, I have the option of eating a lot more of the muffins if I wanted to or just putting them aside for next week. I’m ending the week with extra yummy food.
Note – the mix calls for 1/3 cup of milk, I never have milk on hand because of lactose issues in the house. Years ago, I discovered that using water works just fine.
- Pasta with a bacon and vegetable red sauce
- Corn muffins
- Apple slices
- 1 slice of bacon
- Handful of frozen vegetables
- Box of tomato sauce
- ½ cup of uncooked Pasta
- Corn muffin mix
- 1 egg
- ½ apple
To drink –water.
Slice of toast with butter or some of those lovely corn muffins.