Emily Lam

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Budget Grocery Shopping Challenge!!!

So last month I read about the Snap Challenge. Basically, it's an awareness challenge where a bunch of BU medical students decided to try the $30/week food ration that people on food stamps are on. My immediate thought was that if I was confined to $30/week, I'd probably be healthier -- I'd cook more and buy less random junk food snacks. So I decided I would take up the challenge. There are certain political views on this challenge but that's not my focus. I'm not trying to take a stance on whether $30/week is enough for food or not. I know for a fact that $30/week is adequate for me, but I don't know you or anybody else. My focus is on my personal well-being and on trying to get into a good habit of cooking daily and being budget conscious. And plus, challenges are always fun! :D  (But you are welcome to comment on those kinds of things or anything, I love discussions!)

Some provisions (From BU SNAP Challenge):
1. Only eat food bought on the average SNAP budget: $30/week (any grocery store).
Okay, so I'm modifying the challenge a bit. I'm still sticking to the $30/week budget. But since I don't particularly feel like eating the same meats throughout the week, I've extended the challenge to $60/two-weeks. Since it's more realistic; I'm not going to eat a dozen eggs in one week.
2. Spices and condiments that you already own are allowed to be used.
3. Please refrain from accessing free food. (This makes little sense to me but ok.)
4. Please only buy foods allowed on SNAP - http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items
5. Keep a food journal and/or post thoughts, pictures, videos, etc on blog site.
6. Try to eat a nutritious and healthy diet according to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/dietary-guidelines.html (Uhh, I didn't read through the site . . . yeah.)

So I wanted to start this challenge last month but I had all this food that I had no idea what price I  had paid for them. So I waited until I depleted my food supply, until today. Today, I went shopping and bought more food than I had ever bought at once in my life. I know, kind of crazy. *shrugs* I've only lived on my own and had to buy my own groceries in Boston and in Boston, the markets are so close to where I live; there's no point in stockpiling food when it takes 15-30min to go buy more food.

Without further adieu, what I bought!!

So for veggies, we have:
A bunch of carrots, a cucumber, a zucchini, a red bell pepper, scallions, a red onion, and a crown of broccoli.

For proteins, we have:
8 chicken breast tenderloins, 5 thin-sliced center-cut pork chops, 6 sirloin tip steaks, a flounder fillet, a package of tofu, and a dozen of eggs (all natural, vegetarian-diet hens).

A pomegranate, a lime, two kiwis, and two clementines (not pictured).

Almond milk (vanilla flavored), raspberry lemonade, and tea.

A bag of chocolate chip cookies, Foot by the Foot (removed), and a bag of sun chips (Garden Salsa).

Grains and wheats:
Rice, half a box of cereal, and elbow pasta.

How did I calculate the budget. Well, I bought most items from Shaws (mostly the proteins) and Whole Foods (mostly the produce). Shaws came out to $38.94. And Whole Foods came out to $14.45. I then added $5 for rice, cereal, pasta, and tea. That's because those items are things I buy in bulk and I'm not going to finish a box of any of it. I usually get a 25lbs of Jasmine white rice for about $22. And it lasts my roommate and I a semester; so I figured factoring a dollar or so for it would be fair. And the same idea applies to pasta, cereal, and tea. And then I had two clementines and a pomegranate lying around, so I added $3 for those items. I get to a final total of $61.39. But I'm going to deduct something.

As you probably noticed, I just kind of bought food items I liked. I didn't plan on buying anything. I just went to the markets and shopped. I think I overdid the proteins because there is a lot of it. Oops. The problem is that all the meat packages comes in such large quantities and I wanted a variety. But the good thing is that I like lean meats so all of it is fairly lean. I probably won't finish all the protein items in two weeks. I also wished I bought more veggies. I should have decided to buy more veggies instead of the cookies. Bleh. I don't even know why I bought cookies. Because I don't normally buy cookies. But I guess I was afraid that I might need a sweet snack or something. Oh well. On the other hand, I didn't need to buy the foot by the foot either. I think I will just not eat the Foot by the Foot, which was $2.99. That brings me down to $58.40 and will give me wiggle room to buy one or two more veggies next week if I need to, like more broccoli. Awesome!

Yay! I'm excited about this challenge! I think the hardest part of this challenge is really just to eat every meal; I sometimes have the tendency to skip meals . . . But on a positive note, I will try to blog daily about the challenge, which means I'll be on a daily blogging schedule for at least two weeks. Ahh! If I can stick to that, I'll have 15 posts by the end of February which will be half of the total posts count I had last year! D: Let the fun begin!

So for Day 1: I made chicken fried rice. There's enough of it for three meals so that's that. See you tomorrow when I decide on what to eat next. =]


Anonymous said...

But, but, but the recommended daily serving of fruit for women 19-30 years old is 2 cups per day. (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit)

Anonymous said...

If only she kept the Fruit by the Foot... considering the conversion factor (120 cups according to Google), it would have been more than enough.

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