I’ll start with a little background information. I’m a married mom of two, aged 4 and 7 months, and I work full time as the executive director of our state’s food bank association. I’m fortunate to have married a man who does nearly all of the cooking in our household. However, since I’m not subjecting the rest of my family to the challenge, I’m on my own. And I’m eating like it.
I ended up shopping most of the way through my first day of the challenge. I picked up instant oatmeal for breakfast, makings for bologna and cheese sandwiches, 3 packages of ramen noodles, 5 apples, a bag of frozen corn, two boxes of microwave kettle corn, a box of tea and a bottle of juice. And because it was Halloween and I had about 85 cents left, I got a candy bar for instant gratification. I had Taco Bell for lunch–one soft taco–and had oatmeal and tea for breakfast from our existing stock because I intended to keep doing that, so I subtracted accordingly from my shopping allotment.
The first day wasn’t bad, aside from watching all of the Halloween candy go out my door. The Taco Bell wasn’t necessarily a wise nutritious choice, but it fit into my budget and my schedule. Dinner was a bologna and cheese sandwich and a kettle corn snack before bed.
Day two proved to be more challenging. My first meeting of the day was at a Starbucks, followed by a luncheon. Any normal day, I would spend most of my daily allotment on just one chai latte–at $4.31 each. I feel guilty and frivolous that I can spend so much on frothy drinks. I’d already had instant oatmeal and tea for breakfast, and then grabbed a bologna and cheese sandwich and half a bag of kettle corn from the night before on my way to the luncheon. Not bad.
After lunch, my schedule got considerably more difficult. By the time I left the luncheon I was hungry again, but I needed to take my child to the doctor. Ordinarily, I would grab a snack on the way, but I had only planned so far ahead as to grab another package of microwave kettle corn–with no microwave in the forseeable future in which to make it. I very nearly gave up the whole thing, but frankly didn’t have time to stop anyway, which likely was my saving grace.
I grabbed an apple at home on the way back to the office, and then had a package of ramen noodles with a cup or so of frozen corn for dinner. I just had a bedtime snack of oatmeal.
I’m sure the nutritious value of what I’m eating could be improved. I knew getting into this that fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, but I managed to get some of both. I’m not a milk drinker, so I saved myself some expense there (hence the lattes normally), but with one small package of cheese slices I’m not getting much dairy. But I know I could be doing worse.
The woman seated next to me at the luncheon today said she was impressed, that it took some chutzpah to come to a luncheon and not eat for such a good cause. I would disagree. What I’m doing here is such an insignificant gesture to raise awareness. What continously impresses me is the work the food banks in our organization do daily to feed the 1 in 6 Hoosiers who are food insecure. And what leaves me speechless are the Hoosiers who make this meager allotment of resources stretch to keep themselves and their families up and running.