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 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.
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.
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.