Tag Archives: leftovers

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!


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.


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.


Butternut squash soup

Apples and peanut butter late snack



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)


Day 5 of Julie’s SNAP Challenge

This morning I ate scrambled eggs, toast, and a glass of milk. I forgot to mention earlier that I usually eat organic dairy and meat because of my beliefs on eating hormone free animal products. I don’t mind paying a higher price for these ingredients because I believe they are better for my body. That being said, I definitely could not afford organic milk and meat on a SNAP Challenge meal plan. So when I went to buy the store brand of eggs, meat, and milk, I was SHOCKED at how inexpensive they were in comparison! I seriously haven’t purchased conventional animal products in over 5 years, so I had no clue how much cheaper they were! I was amazed that I could even afford to buy them on a SNAP budget! Therefore, I am really glad to know that SNAP recipients are still able to afford good sources of protein and calcium.

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Day 4 of Julie’s SNAP Challenge

Woke up feeling hungry, but not as bad as yesterday morning. I believe this was because I ate so much last night for dinner! I ate oatmeal, peanut butter, and milk again. I hate to say it but I am starting to crave sweets and sugar! Like I mentioned before, I normally eat brown sugar in my oatmeal, as well as other sweet things throughout the day like fruit, chocolate, granola bars, etc. My sugar cravings are rearing their ugly head this morning!!!

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Day 3 of Julie’s SNAP Challenge

This morning I could definitely feel the hunger catching up to me! I was famished when I ate my scrambled eggs and toast with milk. This time, the meal didn’t quite satisfy me, and I was left thinking of ways I could have bought more food for my $32. One way, would be to purchase some of my food at a local farmers market, where they often match EBT funds to double your budget, so that overall you can buy twice as much food! Now I really wish I had done that this week…. I didn’t because I wanted to see if I could eat a good meal plan without having to use the bonus money from the farmers market. Now I see that it is possible, but I just don’t get as much to eat.

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Putting a Spin on a Classic Dish

Written by Shane Himes
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014

Growing up, spaghetti and meatballs were a staple meal in our home. We would eat this classic dish at least once a week. I say at least once a week because I love left over spaghetti! Next time you have leftovers try my personal favorite, a spaghetti sandwich. My grandmother used regular white flour pasta noodles, ground beef for the meatballs, and an amazing homemade tomato sauce.

A few months back, I decided to make a healthier and tastier alternative to this classic dish.

  • I used brown rice pasta instead of white flour noodles. Switching to whole grain products instead of white flour products (such as the noodles most Americans use to make spaghetti) offers numerous healthy benefits. Some of these benefits include: lowering the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and can help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Instead of ground beef I used a 99% lean ground turkey breast for the meatballs, which cuts down on the fat content of the meal. I based my meatballs on a recipe I found on food.com.
  • I used store bought sauce because of time constraints, but I did add fresh chopped garlic to it.
  • I added fresh roasted vegetables to make the dish more nutrient dense and more filling. I roasted the vegetables al dente to add some texture to this meal. To add flavor to the vegetables I use cayenne pepper and cumin, but pick your favorite spices and get creative.
  • As a final twist to this dish I added slices of avocado which adds a touch of coolness to the warm spaghetti.
  • Making a big pot will guarantee you left overs for several days which is wonderful for college students or busy families.
healthy adaptation of classic spaghetti and meatballs

Image by Shane Himes

Recipes :

Vegetable: For the veggies I started by lightly drizzling olive oil onto the chopped vegetables that are on a cookie sheet. Season and place in oven at 375 degree F for 15-20 minutes. Use any veggies you like, get creative and let me know what you come up with.

Turkey Meatballs: 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1lb 99% lean ground turkey, 1 egg, ½ cup bread crumbs. Mix ingredients, roll meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, using vegetable oil and a fry pan cook meat balls for 5-6 minutes.

Pasta: Boil to preference. (Or try using Spaghetti Squash!)

Sauce: Heat in sauce pan.


Katcher, H. (2004) Summary of Recent Research on Whole Grains and Health. Retrieved from http://wholegrainscouncil.org/files/WGResearchSummary_WGCJan09.pdf