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daily eats: 7.10.12 {SNAP Challenge}

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Two down, 5 to go! I was wondering last night if I could count wine as a condiment…


milk + coffee at work!


peanut butter sandwich (again)

Lunch: More bread… Lunch was delicious but I was still hungry after eating it. Overall, it contained protein, healthy fats and vegetables but if I were to have something similar normally, I would change a few things. I would normally use the entire can of tuna over a huge bowl of salad greens and other raw vegetables with some whole grain crackers on the side. I’m not sure if it is the lack of volume from the vegetables in these meals that isn’t filling me up or smaller amounts of protein and fiber…maybe both?

1/2 can tuna + 1/2 avocado sandwich + 2 carrots

Snack: 10 saltine crackers (only thing I had at work!)

I wanted to stop by the grocery store to pick up a few more vegetables, possibly fruit and SNACKS but I was running late and needed to get home to the dog (we are dog sitting)…is this what it is like to be responsible for someone or something else?! ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a few more crackers with some cheese as it was my only snack option. (Originally I mixed some beans with a bit of cheese, but I couldn’t do it, so bad.)

Dinner: Has an interesting story. We were at the meat counter shopping the other day and I noticed a yellow sticker that read “$.99 special!” and found a pound of ground bison a day away from the use or freeze by date, so they had marked it down to 99 cents! I originally picked up one of them and was going to use it instead of the chicken sausage I had planned on. It turns out that the one pound of chicken drumsticks that I was planning on getting ($1.48/pound) were only available in a value pack so they were way out of the budget. I ran back to the meat/fish counter and they had one more pack of the ground bison left so I grabbed it! We totally lucked out, I have no idea how often you can find these sort of deals, but I would doubt very often.

bison patty (about 3 oz) + lettuce + tomato (from the garden) + mushroom rice (packaged)

ย I was still a bit hungry after dinner so I had 4 more saltines with some peanut butter. I know that yesterday I said the saltines were tasty, but I’m kind of getting sick of them now…

Nutrition Stats: About 1,860 calories, 83 grams of fat, 205 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, 82 grams of protein.ย 

Would you guys like to see another day or two of the SNAP Challenge meals? I don’t want to bore you, so let me know! I would also LOVE your suggestions for cheap, filling snacks!ย 


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  1. Faith @ For the Health of It

    Wow, you sure did luck out on the bison! And YES, please keep posting the SNAP challenges! I’d love to see the whole week, if they don’t get too repetitive for you. Everything about it is really fascinating (even if the food itself makes you feel rather boring about your diet!)

  2. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef

    i’d love to see the whole week too! this is fascinating, and definitely gives some perspective on what it would be like to live on a tight food budget. though if you were living that way long term it might be possible to do some buying ahead in bulk (but obviously would depend on your situation). as for cheap, filling snacks…what about popcorn? we have an airpopper and kernels aren’t that expensive. or you can make them stovetop. maybe that’s only filling to me because i eat so much of it!

    • Emily

      Yes, if this was long term, I could definitely buy some things in bulk and it would make sense to do so.
      My mom also suggested popcorn, I’m going to see if the store has a bulk bin of popcorn!

  3. sumayya

    Great job on the challenge! Looking forward to the rest of the week. I saw your comments on the bread, and made me think what type of bread do you reccomend? Regular healthy as well as GF healthy? I never knew that wheat bread can sometimes be as bad as white!


    • Emily

      I personally think sprouted breads are the healthiest you can buy, but you could also look for breads that are 100% whole grain. If the label says “wheat bread” it can be made mostly with refined (white) flours.

  4. sarah @ sarah learns

    yes yes! keep this up!

    it looks like you’re eating well, the breakfast would kill me though. it’s sad that the bread is the best option. did you look at buying plain oats? would that have been over budget?

  5. erin

    Yes, please keep this up! It really puts food costs (and how much I spend!) in perspective.

    Total score on the ground bison! And, I agree… it’s really sad that bread is the best breakfast option. What about people who have celiac or other food allergies?

    Are apples + PB too pricey for a snack?

    • Emily

      I think people with Celiac disease would have rice as one of the only options for grains…which is fine for some meals, but isn’t always very convenient and would get boring after a while!

  6. Alysha @Shesontherun

    This is so interesting. Yes, I want to see more! I would say one of your cheapest snack options is a banana and peanut butter (39 cents/lb). I think those are the cheapest fruits you can buy. I would also get a tub of nonfat plain yogurt. If you can get them on sale, it usually saves you money over buying the individual yogurt cups.

  7. Heather

    AGREED. keep posting these days! It is VERY interesting and I can’t wait to see how you FEEL after eating this way 7 days in a row – I think it’s VERY telling about the state of our union, if you know what I mean….

  8. Vaz

    I love the SNAP posts. It’s great that you’re doing it. I’m not sure where you are in LA, but I would check out some of the Hispanic groceries in the area. They will have cheap produce. Also, the larger chain groceries (like Kroger) usually have a discount section in the meat case of things that need to be eaten or frozen. I’ve never been to LA, but I would imagine that there are some $1 stores somewhere. They will often have a fairly decent shelf-stable selection. I buy organic, natural soy milk at mine (Flint, MI), for a dollar a box (usually the corner of the box is dented a bit, which is why they end up there). Kroger stores often have 10-for-10 deals on different things like frozen veggies, mac and cheese, some produce, etc. (you don’t have to buy 10 to get the sale price).

    Cheap snacks/meals:
    Split pea soup (a bag of dried peas is about $1 at Walmart)
    Ramen ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Whole chicken
    Grilled cheese
    Boxed mac and cheese

    • Emily

      Thank you SO much for all of these great ideas!
      I actually went to a Korean market tonight and scored some great deals on produce. ๐Ÿ™‚
      99 cent stores are also an interesting idea. Usually the food there freaks me out, but it would be worth looking into.

  9. Ashlie

    I work at a transitional living facility for homeless teens and they all use SNAP to purchase their groceries so I find this topic really interesting. Thanks for the informative posts.

  10. G.

    I make my own hummus and salsa all of the time and it is pretty cheap (barring the tahini which can sometimes be expensive). For the salsa, I use a can of tomatoes, lime juice, onion, little bit of cilantro, salt and pepper and fresh garlic. Sometimes I don’t use cilantro, especially if it’s not on sale. It costs me less than a dollar to make it (depending on the cost of your tomatoes). You can also make your own tortilla chips with a bag of corn tortillas. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also make a bean dip using your leftover beans from your beans and rice. I’ve done this before after making black beans and rice. The beans are already seasoned, just throw them in the food processor with a bit of liquid (if needed) and you’re good to go! Can also spread on crackers. I make most of our snacks at home, they are better for you and much more frugal!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

  11. Anne

    You could get oatmeal from the bulk bin for super cheap–might help a bit with breakfast? Plus, with bulk bins you can get just as much as you need, which is super nice. Also, from the bulk section, beans, whole grains (quinoa, barley, bulgar, rice, etc.), popcorn, nut butters, and at our local co-op you can get eggs in a bulk section too so you can get however many you need (i.e if you don’t want/need a whole dozen, you can buy 1 or 2). Farmers Markets around here take food stamps, and that would be a GREAT way to stretch your money while getting delicious fresh local produce!