Amanda: Fixed Diet & Budget

Every day I assist individuals in completing SNAP applications, many of whom report several health diagnoses. Many of the individuals we serve through our programs (food pantry, social services, nutrition education) are on special diets, which can make living on a fixed food budget even more challenging. Which, this is precisely what I have experienced this week while stumbling through my doctor prescribed diet of no carbs, no sugar, no processed foods, no gluten, and minimal dairy. A budget of  $22.30 for 5 days did not leave me for much room for a variety of protein and vegetables, which have been my only option for substantial meals. Take a look at what I purchased:

0.88 Eggs
1.79 Yogurt
5.79 Chicken tenderloins (frozen)
0.50 Onion
1.59 Brussel Sprouts (SALE!)
1.69 Broccoli
3.50 Ground turkey
0.99 Avocado
1.96 Cucumbers (4)
2.99 Almonds (snack size) (full bag was too expensive at $6.39)

In addition, I'd like to give a quick shout out to 2 of my favorite plants! A friend gave me kale and spearmint seedings at the beginning of the summer that have provided me additional options at no cost (other than watering!). Here's to my kale plant for providing me nutritious greens and my spearmint plant for giving me an abundance of tea – thanks to them for their hard work and continuously free harvest.

On a fixed diet even before the SNAP challenge started, I found it extremely difficult and frustrating to find low cost foods I can eat, have enough protein, and feel full. With the addition of a fixed budget, it has been even more difficult and frustrating, and my stomach has grumbled more often than I would like. I can’t help but wonder if others on special diets on a fixed food budget feel similarly. Once again, I leave this ‘SNAP Challenge’ with a renewed understanding of the importance of SNAP and our work here at Beyond Hunger to fill the hunger gap.

Amanda Kuhn, Social Services Coordinator