Editor’s Note: Kathy Moran, a longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank, agreed to take the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge earlier this month and live on $4.45 a day for food for five days. We will post her experience in this blog over the next few days. In her fourth post, Kathy is beginning to miss certain foods that have become a staple in her home.
As the days went by, I changed up the meals as best I could, but with such a limited number of ingredients, there was really not a lot I could do.
I tried to make sure that I finished all of the food I purchased because I suddenly felt a heightened sensitivity to waste. I found I was losing interest in the food as a creative, pleasurable experience as it started to age. The bananas started to get spots even though I had purchased them in various stages of green and yellow so that they would ripen just in time for me to have one each day.
All that I’ve had for dinner in the past week was chicken with sweet potato, chicken soup with added veggies, and chicken in tomato sauce with pasta. I was really glad to finally eat that $1 Banquet Salisbury Steak TV dinner just to have some beef, along with a small portion of seasoned corn and whipped potatoes that came with it. This is an example of how a packaged meal can be so much cheaper than buying and cooking all of the ingredients. However, there is a tradeoff in nutritional value, particularly in the salt and fat content, artificial ingredients, and the overall quality of microwave vs. freshly cooked food.
I found that I wanted to go to bed earlier than usual and fall asleep watching TV. My schedule for this week didn’t allow me to participate in the activities that I normally would, so I wondered if the amount of food I was eating would have sustained me through those activities. I am lucky enough to have some flexibility when I eat so I was able to stave off some of the hunger pangs. But I know that many, if not most, people—especially children—don’t have that option.
I started to truly miss and long for certain foods—microwave popcorn, nuts, apples, cheese, soda, iced tea, whole grain breads, cereals and even salad. I found it interesting that I missed a lot of healthy foods that have made their way into my kitchen along with all of the not-so-healthy foods I consume. I recall the days of the government handing out cheese and wonder if there is still such a program now.
Posted by Kathy Moran, longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank