SNAP Challenge: Week Two, Choices

Food Pantry

Food Pantry: Groceries for three days, three meals a day

It is Sunday evening and I am not hungry. For the first time in a week. I took stock of what food was left from week one, and I’ll admit, I pigged out. It wasn’t pretty. And, as I look at the list of foods consumed, it wasn’t really what I would have called ‘pigging out’ a month ago. Today was difficult. Not because I was hungry, but because what I really wanted to do today was dine. Be at a restaurant with my friends, toasting glasses of vino and sharing food that cost more than my previous week.  I seriously wanted fresh vegetables.

So, what did I learn from week one? First, that I am fortunate to live a life where living on $30. a week isn’t my reality, but I understand that if it were, I would figure out how to make it work. I am also learning that the choices I’ve made and the eating habits that I’ve established perhaps have been excessive. I know that I will go back to shopping local and sustainable when the Challenge is over, but I will look at my food very differently.

I also learned that food, when hungry, tastes different. It tastes amazing. An apple transforms into a transcendent spiritual experience. Peanut butter on toast? Perhaps the most amazing food. Ever.

Food Pantry: Unhealthy Items

Food Pantry: Unhealthy Items

There were things missing from my meals this past week. The single most item that I found I missed was protein. Everyday had more carbohydrates than I would normally put in my body. While my calorie intake was low, my fat intake was a little higher than I usually have during the week; resulting in feeling sluggish, and sucking wind when I tried to run a few miles.

Week Two Groceries

Week Two Groceries

Being that one of my goals within this Challenge is to stay healthy, I had to rethink my shopping choices. In addition, this next week I will be tracking the difference in nutrition and availability when I add in meals shared at The Franciscan Center and the foods added through receiving groceries from the Center’s food pantry.

After pulling all the groceries out of the bag I noticed that there is a small disconnect between having the added help, and staying healthy.

Food Pantry: Healthy Items

Food Pantry: Healthy Items

At this point I have a choice. Take what is given to me, because I could really use it to offset the cost of the next week, or remain true to trying to stay healthy while living on very little.  Realistically, if this were not an experiment would I even think about this? It would have been difficult enough to just go to the food pantry for free food. However, I would like to think that I would keep my health as a main focus, even in the throws of food insecurity. So, I pulled out the items that don’t make sense and give them back to the food pantry.

By adding the free foods afforded to people who utilize food pantries, like the one at The Franciscan Center, I am able to use my $30 this next week on more healthy, high quality choices. This is what I came up with.

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