Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The #SNAP Challenge

Are you familiar with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)?  I'll be honest- I've just started educating myself on this government program.  Commonly referred to as "food stamps", this program (now electronic) is administered by states with funds provided by the federal government.  Eligibility is limited to households making no more than 130% of the federal poverty guideline.  According to Feeding America, many SNAP recipients (61%) have gross income at or below 75% of the federal poverty guideline for a family of three ($14,648 in 2013).

I've been reading about SNAP and I have also read about the SNAP challenge.  I don't like to jump on bandwagons (now that this has become a popular thing for politicians to do) but I like the challenge concept- namely live on the SNAP food allowance for one month.  The average monthly benefit in my state is 127.43.  This breaks down to 31.85 a week or a little over $4 a day.

This evening I went to my local Kroger before work with a flexible list.  The goal was to purchase 21 reasonably healthy meals within a budget of $31.85.  No outside food or drink will be allowed during this month (even though I have a slew of coupons for free fountain drinks and deli food from work).  I have marked this weeks food with a marker and will only eat this weeks food during the next 7 days (with the exception of margarine, mayo, and other condiments I have on hand).  More than just staying within budget, I also want to eat healthy- so I plan on recording my meals and using Calorie Count to analyze the days consumption.  This free program also "grades" each meal based on fats, carbs, calories, and nutrition.

Here is my list for this week:
Kroger brand sliced turkey breast- $2.99
Kroger brand bread- 1.39
12 extra large eggs- 1.99
Toasted Oats cereal-3.39
5 lbs potatoes- 3.49
4 small bags of frozen vegetables @$1.20 each
7 bananas-$1.57
1 gallon skim milk- $2.89
dry beans-$2.59
mini carrots-$1.99
4 yogurts-$1.60

Total of $28.47.  I used a gift card (that gives 4% to Jeff Street Baptist Center) and had to add money to the card.  So I forgot to use my Kroger plus card- otherwise I would have saved $1.81 extra.

Now the challenge has been accepted- I have $3 left (I will need to buy tea bags for a cheap caffeine fix). I plan on recording my meals daily, entering into Calorie Count, and I'll let you know as the week progresses how well I do (or don't do).  Right now I am somewhat confident but time will tell..

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