I think I got most of my insights around the SNAP Challenge in my first week of doing it (see my earlier blog post here). This week I see that it is more accurate to do this for a month, because the staples I got the first week took up such a large percentage of that one week’s budget, and I’ve got plenty left after this second week. If I was budgeting for the entire month, I could have probably even afforded some of the spices that I’ve been missing so much.
Still, I was able to achieve my goal this week. Not only did I stick to my SNAP Challenge budget, but I was able to include much more Farmers Market produce, which is higher quality and lower environmental impact than the grocery store stuff. This allowed me to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and reduce the carb load from our first week.
So it is possible to eat a relatively healthy diet under the monetary restrictions. Yes, I had to forego some healthy foods I would have included if I had more money, but I also skipped all of my treats, which are limited under my usual diet, but not really healthy. That was probably a trade-off.
However, as I stated the first month, I know a good deal of the benefits I found are not necessarily available for the average family living on food stamps.sThe other good thing about this second trial was that I did a better job of utilizing the leftover bits. Perishable items I had left from my first week i used in recipes the following week. This week, however, I was more conscious of how to use them the next day or two, either in a different dish or to add something to leftovers. That is better, because it is less likely to become waste and the food is generally healthier and tastier the sooner you cook and consume it. Still, it takes a lot of cooking and planning not to buy any prepared food and to shop at multiple stores and to fix everything yourself–time that a parent who may be working multiple jobs may not have.
Still, I declare this second week a success! I hope some others will try their own version of the SNAP Challenge, Farmers Market variety.