Dietetic Intern Courtney’s SNAP Challenge Conculsion

Post-Challenge Reflection

Estimated Week Total: $20.20 of $32
This week compared with MyPlate recommendations:

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 4.36.32 PMThe gaps between what MyPlate recommends and what I consumed this week are obvious. If I were to purchase $32 worth of food for the coming week, I would definitely purchase more fruit, vegetables, and dairy items. Maybe this next week I could more closely abide by the MyPlate recommendations. The variety of my food supply would increase as well. Since I have some leftover food, I wouldn’t be starting from scratch.

With hindsight, I should have referred to the recommendations more during meal planning in order to achieve a well-balanced diet. I could have calculated the amount of these food groups recommended per week as I did in the table above and used it as a tool. On the contrary, if I would have eaten the full amount of servings as suggested, would I have eaten too much? At the end of each day, I was content; I couldn’t imagine trying to consume 3 more ounces of grains and additional servings of fruit and dairy.

My biggest challenges during the past week were my lack of freedom in choosing meals/snacks and attempting to fulfill the guidelines from MyPlate. Sticking to my meal plan was difficult when usually I would have had the option to eat out with my husband or return to the grocery store for additional produce for the weekend. In addition, the variety and amount of fruit, grain, dairy, and vegetables were less than optimal on many days. This was difficult to achieve on a budget because my biggest concern while planning was having enough food to last me throughout the week. Meal planning was instrumental for ensuring that I had enough food and played a huge role in completing this challenge. If circumstances were different – I lacked meal planning, nutrition, or cooking skills or if $32 per week was a way of life versus a 7-day challenge – my challenges would be considerably more problematic.

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The following are some questions that I did not yet know how to answer:

In reality, someone with SNAP benefits received $128 per month on average.

  • Would this larger sum change the way I bought my food?

Suppose I had limited transportation and I had to spend all of it in one trip.

  • How would that change my strategy?

My power went out during the middle of the month. Perhaps I had been without power the entire weekend and had to throw out my refrigerated and frozen food.

  • How would I eat for the remainder of the month?
  • Would I find a way to cook during the power outage?

Think you have what it takes to eat a balanced diet for 7 days on $32? Complete the SNAP Challenge and post your thoughts, challenges, and/ or triumphs on our blog!

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