Monday, September 12, 2011

San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge - Day 3

I'm not gonna lie, I was a little bit nervous about how Monday would go. I'm used to having cereal with yogurt and berries and a substantial cup of coffee before heading to work. Mid-morning snack is usually a banana and some string cheese (or something similar). Not today. Today we got Honey Nut Cheerios (the really huge box was on sale for $3.33!) and half of a banana. One cup of milk and one small but strong cup of coffee (much better than yesterday!). We each had 3 servings of Honey Nut Cheerios, which is a decent amount, but seeing as how I've still got the hunger mechanism of an Ironman triathlete, I was pretty dang hungry by mid-morning.

The banana definitely made this meal!
$0.90 Cheerios (3 servings ea.)
$0.44 milk (1c ea.)
$0.24 coffee (2 servings ea.)
$0.35 banana (1/2 ea.)

$1.93 total

I broke into my popcorn snack at about 10:30 (great idea, Stephen, and only 20 cents!), thinking that I would save some for the afternoon, but I pretty much devoured it within a few minutes. I'm not looking to trade jobs because I know I've got it pretty darn good in my cubical here, but something tells me I wouldn't be thinking about food quite so much if I were up and moving around during the day. This is probably a temporary thing, though, because normally if I'm hungry, I can just grab one of my snacks from the fridge or desk drawer, or go to one of the many nearby food establishments here in the FiDi. This has also become a bit of a bad habit because oftentimes I'll just eat because I'm bored, not because I'm actually hungry.

Not a bad little treat, but not very filling!
Stephen also made a good point - we're not exerting any kind of physical energy here at our computers. Many people who are on food stamps are working hard labor or are at least on their feet all day long, so while food might not always be on their mind, they're definitely in need to more calories because of their activity levels at work. Unfortunately, the calories that they're getting are often not of the healthy variety, they're the easy kind, which may be filling, but they're not nutritious.

By the time lunch rolled around, I was so hungry that I totally forgot to take a picture of my lunch until I'd devoured (daintily) my carrot sticks and half of my turkey bologna sandwich. I decided to save the nectarine until a little bit later so that I could stretch out my lunch for as long as possible. We did a good job of planning our lunch by packing it all up last night - I made three turkey bologna sandwiches (one for me and two for Stephen) with two slices of whole wheat bread, two pieces of bologna, 1/2oz of cheese and a tsp of mustard on each. Since Stephen got two sandwiches, I added some carrot sticks and a nectarine to my lunch.

So hungry I forgot to photograph the carrot sticks!

$0.93 turkey bologna (6 slices)
$0.75 bread (6 slices)
$0.46 cheese (1.5 oz)
$0.04 mustard (3t)
$0.10 carrot
$0.40 nectarine
$2.68 total ($4.81 overall)

This brought up a minor point of contention last night as we were preparing for today's meals - when Stephen told me he'd like two bologna sandwiches, I was like, "Esssscuse me??? Why do you get more of the budget than I do???" ($1.45 for him, $1.22 for me). Thankfully, I didn't say that out loud, because I realize the poor guy has 6 inches and 60 pounds on me, so he obviously needs to eat more than I do. I've been offering him more beans and more meat when we've shared meals because I've always expected him to eat more, but the prospect of making him a SECOND sandwich came as a bit of a shock to me.

This has to be really difficult for families that are on food stamps - kids will have to go without at times, but I'm sure the parents are the ones who more often have to skimp on their meals so their growing children get enough to eat. I know I can get pretty cranky when I'm hungry, so I'm sure this creates a lot of bad feelings amidst an already tough situation.  

By the time I left the office, I was getting pretty hungry again. I had done a fairly good job of rationing out my food for the afternoon, but I think I could have done a better job. Next time, I'll cut my sandwich in half, I think! I ate one cookie right after my carrot sticks and sandwich at about noon, then waited for about an hour and a half to eat half a nectarine. Half an hour later, I ate the other cookie, and then at about 3:40, I ate the other half of the nectarine. I still can't believe that I managed to only eat half of that thing at a time, but it was definitely a good call on my part!

After work, Stephen and I chose to walk home, which might not have been the best idea, because we were both clearly hungry and a little bit out of sorts. It did, however, give us the chance to stop at Cala Foods to pick up some mayonnaise and collard greens to finish off some of the meals we've got planned for the rest of the week. As soon as we got home, we put the stew on the stove and heated up the cornbread. The stew, like last night, was great, and the cornbread was a real treat. I made sure to serve up a few more potatoes in Stephen's bowl than in mine so he wouldn't go hungry. :) We also treated ourselves to a chocolate chip cookie.

I can't get this picture to turn, and I don't care anymore!

$0.58 for cornbread
$1.97 for stew (see yesterday's post for the breakdown)
$0.18 one cookie each
$2.73 total ($7.72 altogether)

After dinner, I also made some snickerdoodles (one of my favorite cookies!) because someone posted the recipe on my friend Andrea's Facebook page (she's also doing the challenge). At 4 cents a cookie, I couldn't resist! We've got kind of a bad cookie habit going on here, but considering that we're still running and that it's really our only treat, I'm not too worried about it. We each had 3.5 snickerdoodles and 1/2 cup of milk (two cookies before we went to see a show at the Fringe Festival, and 1.5 afterward!).

Stephen gives the cookies his seal of approval!
It was a challenging day at times, and I feel like we're totally food-obsessed, but I think it will get easier as we get used to it. Though we were up a little bit today, we're still doing well on our $4.00 per day budget going by a weekly basis:

$8.62 total for the day
$15.40 for the week!


Clydesdaletri said...

This just seems do cruel coming out of an IM. Good luck!

Jasmin said...

GO JENNI! thanks for the interesting recap. you guys are amazing for doing this.

Anonymous said...

Problem becomes that those snickerdoodles (my favorite cookie by the way) were not really 4 cents to a family on food stamps. Before you can make them, you have to save enough money out of your budget to by the whole bag of flour, the whole bag of sugar, the whole box of baking soda etc. Oh, and you've got to walk to the store (not the cheapest one either) and carry home the groceries for you and your children because you don't have a car or gas money (and your shoes are worn out because SNAP doesn't cover them either)But I am grateful for what you are doing.