The Food Stamps Challenge: Day 4

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

On Monday, we had lasagna. My husband and I finished it yesterday for lunch (Day 3).  My son wasn’t into lasagna at all, so he’s been eating sandwiches and fruit (the plums and apples) for both lunch and dinner all week.  This is fine with him.  I soaked black beans last night and cooked them this morning while getting everyone off to work and school.  We’re having beans and rice tonight and for lunch tomorrow. I’ve eaten eggs, and my husband has eaten cereal.  Today, everyone is eating a sandwich for lunch.  We’ve run out of fruit and milk.

After our grocery trip to prepare for the challenge, we realized we’d purchased an onion and garlic for the black beans, but no other fresh vegetables.

My son’s passion for yogurt topped with grape-nuts, which he calls “crunchy yogurt,” simply can’t be understated.  We ran out of yogurt yesterday. This morning, I thought the absence of yogurt could be a DEFCON 2 situation.  Fortunately, he ate cereal without complaint.  Because breakfast is such an important meal – especially for a young child – I hone in like a laser to determine the things he likes because sometimes, as is normal, he doesn’t to eat other meals.  Breakfast is non-negotiable.  I was so relieved he didn’t have a meltdown over yogurt.  I know I’m not alone in thinking along these lines.  We’re concerned about the quality of our children’s meals and seek out healthy options our children like to eat when their appetites vary.

We have less than $5 left of our benefits and could have made different choices.  Something we couldn’t do was purchase peanut butter since his school bans it due to the other children’s food allergies. We bought almond butter instead.  Almond butter is substantially more expensive than peanut butter.  What if a child prefers peanut butter – cheaper and still healthy – but can’t take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school?

That bread aisle we visited in preparation for the food stamps challenge with the 68 cent white bread?  Those shelves had been raided.  The shelves with loaves of whole grain bread seemed fully stocked.  We chose the whole grain bread.  We didn’t buy fresh vegetables.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) is so powerful.

Imagine this scenario:

You were laid off; and pray your unemployment benefits won’t expire any time soon. You have to find money somewhere to buy medicine, soap, detergent, paper towels, shampoo, and Drano because the kitchen sink is clogged.  Your child really wants triple A batteries for her favorite toy. You have a dog you love more than your father-in-law, and he’s running out of dog food.

What about meals for your family?  Though SNAP benefits don’t cover non-food items, they do help with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The program truly is a safety net.

As I think back to that trip to the grocery store, I remember passing the different aisles with cough syrup, trash bags, and toothbrushes. I think to myself: I’ve taken so very much for granted.

Read Laurie’s (@Lonely Gourmet on Twitter) blog post about her Food Stamp Challenge: Day 3



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