Tag Archives: SNAP Challenge

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Day 3

Today’s post is part of a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

Waking up this morning was not as bad as yesterday. I was a little more hungry this morning than I normally am. I had a glass of milk with overnight oatmeal and added peanut butter to it. By adding peanut butter to the oatmeal, it would help boost my energy, while keeping me feeling full all morning and get me closer to the MyPlate recommendations. I also just love peanut butter!

Breakfast

Overnight Oatmeal, peanut butter and milk

Breakfast kept me going all throughout the morning. Lunch was black beans, chicken and rice with ratatouille, olive oil, garlic powder and ginger powder. I was not rushed to eat lunch today, so I took my time and mindfully ate, just like I have been trying to do with every meal. By eating mindfully, I focused on the flavor of my lunch and paid attention to my body’s hunger and fullness signals. That helped me feel comfortably full from a slightly smaller than usual meal, instead of worrying about the Challenge.

Lunch

Beans and rice with ratatouille and chicken

I wanted something different for dinner tonight. I was in the mood for some sort of soup since it was cold and rainy outside. I made a butternut squash and apple soup with lentils and chicken. It was a nice addition to my menu because it was seasonal and it hit the spot. The soup, was, to say the least, really good! I actually had to stop myself if I was going to make it last. I ended the night with a glass of milk and an apple with peanut butter.

Dinner

Butternut squash soup

Apples and peanut butter late snack

 

Milk

After having a couple of days where I was under my calorie needs, I realized that I needed to eat a little more. As a  result, I ate more than I needed. It is possible to eat more calories than is needed in the day while on SNAP benefits. But, often times, the calories come from cheaper, but less healthy foods. This can put a person on a tight food budget at an increased chance of becoming obese.  For me, I could have balanced out my grains and proteins by not eating as much of the soup as I did and adding more rice at lunch and dinner.

Calorie intake

Calories and food groups eaten today (from MyPlate.gov)

 

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Day 2

Today’s post is part of a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

Waking up this morning was hard. I didn’t feel like I had much energy to get going. I wonder if some of that is due to eating less than usual because of the Challenge. My breakfast this morning was overnight oatmeal, a glass of milk, and 2 hardboiled eggs.  

Overnight Oatmeal

Overnight oatmeal

 

Milk and eggs breakfast

Milk and eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting closer to lunch today was not bad- the fiber from the overnight oatmeal and protein from the eggs have kept me feeling fuller. However, I am also aware that being busy at work also plays a role. Lunch was black beans, chicken and rice with olive oil and some red pepper flakes to add a little heat. Unfortunately, I had to rush through lunch and was not able to mindfully eat, again.

black beans chicken and rice  lunch

black beans chicken and rice, already half eaten

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was hungry leaving work again. When I got home, I ate a quick snack of celery with peanut butter and yogurt with berries.

celery and peanut butter afternoon snackYogurt and berries afternoon snack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner tonight was rice and ratatouille, which was tasty, but not as filling as dinner last night with the beans and chicken. So tonight I had an apple with peanut butter and a glass of milk as a late night snack to fill me all the way up.

Ratatouille and rice  Dinner

Ratatouille with rice

Apples and peanut butter late snack

Milk

Again, I didn’t quite meet my calorie, grain and protein needs. Yet, I did better with the amount of grains and calories I ate today compared to yesterday. I ate less protein than yesterday, but that is probably because of my dinner not having any protein.  Even with the increase in grains, I still had a lot of vegetables. Having a lot of vegetables is a good thing, they just didn’t have a lot of calories.

calorie intake

Calories and food groups eaten today (from MyPlate.gov)

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Day 1

Today’s post is part of a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

This morning I was kind of tired after staying up late to work on projects. I am glad that I made overnight oatmeal for breakfast last night. I also had a cup of coffee at work. I was glad someone made a pot of coffee at the office because I needed it!

breakfast

Overnight Oatmeal

Breakfast was surprisingly filling. About an hour before lunch I was getting hungry. For lunch, I ate rest of my overnight oatmeal from this morning, two celery stalks with peanut butter and an apple. It was healthy, but very light for a lunch.  lunch apple

A light lunch

Oatmeal, celery, peanut butter, and an apple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My one regret for today was not doing more meal prep yesterday. I was hungry on my way home from work today because of my small lunch, but I had nothing ready to eat. So I went ahead and had some of my snacks – yogurt with mixed berries and an apple with peanut butter. I hope this doesn’t throw off my meal plan for this Challenge!

 

Yogurt with berries

Yogurt with mixed berries

Healthy snack

Apple with peanut butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to prep lunch and dinner for at least two days, so that I would not run into the same problem tomorrow. Having that snack was a good idea because I  did not get to eat my dinner until 9 pm. Dinner for that night was black beans, chicken, and rice, with Ratatouille and a glass of milk.

Dinner ratatouille, black bean chicken and  rice

Black beans and rice with chicken and Ratatouille

 

Milk

A glass of milk to go along with a hearty dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was not a great start since I did not mindfully eat and I did not prep dinner the night before. I did not meet my calorie, grain, and protein needs for the day. I thought that with the oatmeal and rice, I would have met the recommendations for grains. Substituting more grains for vegetables would have helped meet my grains group and calorie needs. I could have eaten more rice and beans to meet the recommendations but, if I had I may not have had enough to last me for the week.

Nutrient analysis for Monday

Calories and food groups eaten today (from MyPlate.gov)

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Introduction

Today’s post is the first in a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

My name is Matthew D’Aria. I am a dietetic intern from Meredith College. I did my undergraduate and graduate work at Virginia Tech within the Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise department. My interest in the field of dietetics is to work with overweight/obese children and their caretakers. I want to help them reach a happy and healthy lifestyle together.

Playing with pasta

My love for food stems from my Italian heritage.

I am about to attempt to eat on an average SNAP budget for one week. I will try to only spend $43.10 on groceries, the maximum allotment for a college-aged male. I will also be taking advantage of the doubling program at the farmers market for a total of $20 of extra matching funds.  

I look forward to this challenge because I can only imagine how difficult it can be to plan meals on such a tight budget. This experience will help influence my practice as a registered dietitian, allowing me to have first-hand experience of the challenges of living on SNAP benefits, which will help me connect with potential future clients. One strategy I plan to use is to eat mindfully. Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to your body and the sight, smell, taste, and pleasure of food when eating. This will help me feel satisfied and not focus on the fact that I am eating less than I usually do.

I have never been on SNAP benefits before and I have never had to pay much attention to sticking to a budget or plan my meals. I do not expect this to be easy for me because I am not use to having restrictions on the amount of food I can buy and eat. With my busy schedule as a dietetic intern, I plan to prep ahead as much as possible. With that said, tonight I will be making overnight oatmeal so I can have breakfast ready to go in the morning. Unfortunately, it’s getting late now, so I may have to wait until tomorrow to get started on the rest.

Day 7 of Julie’s SNAP Challenge

Today I attended a Legislative Day in Richmond with the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It was a very long day – getting up at 4:45 am and getting home at 8:30 pm. However, I learned a lot of cool things about how our state government functions, and was very glad I went. While I was there, they gave out free breakfast and lunch! So awesome! Here is a picture of the breakfast bar I ate.

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