Saturday, November 13, 2010

KEVIN: Grocery Shopping for My SNAP Challenge

Feeling a little anxious about my SNAP Challenge, which begins on Thursday, November 18, I had to go grocery shopping today. Dietetic interns from the University of Minnesota put together a great menu for the week, but food prices change, so there were some surprises in my shopping.

First stop was at Aldi on Franklin Avenue where, once I figured out how to access a shopping cart, I bought most of my groceries for the SNAP week, including:

Raisin Bran (20 oz.) - $1.79

Chicken Broth (32 oz.) - .99

Skim Milk (gallon) - $2.19

Macaroni & Cheese (7.25 oz.) - .29 (best bargain, but one of my least favorite foods)

Whole Wheat Pasta (12oz.) - .89

Ground Turkey (one pound) - $1.39

Three Yogurt Cups (6 oz. each) - $1.11 for three

Bananas (six) - .96

Margarine (16 oz.) - .59

Oat Bran Bread (loaf) – $1.19

Carrots (32 oz.) - .99 (best value/best nutrition...let's see what I think of carrots after a week)

Imitation Cheese (16 slices) - .99 (this one scares me)

Black Beans (15.5 oz.) - .59

Tomato Soup (10.75 oz.) - .49 (I hope I can mix it with milk and not water)

Vegetable Soup (10.5 oz.) - .49 (you don't pay extra for the additional sodium)

California Medley Frozen Vegetables (16 oz.) - .95 (I think this is more like a duet than a medley. There doesn't seem to be a lot of variety in the bag.)

Total Spent at Aldi: $15.85

From there, it was off to the Dollar Tree where I could find only two items on the week's menu:

Spaghetti Sauce (26.5 oz.) - $1.00

Pampa Peanut Butter (12 oz.) - $1.00

Total Spent at Dollar Tree: $2.00

Missing chicken drumsticks, eggs, and a few other items resulted in a trip to a third store, Cub Foods, where I made my last purchases:

Cub Brand Canned Pears (15 oz.) - .99

Cub Brand Brown Rice (16 oz.) - .95

Medium Eggs (dozen) – 1.49

Gold'n Plump Chicken Drumsticks (six pieces) - $3.29 (This was a splurge. The Cub Brand drumsticks, usually nine for $2.97, were sold out. This surprise resulted in a significant decrease in my one extravagance for the

McGarvey Coffee (two 2.5 oz. sample bags) - $2.38

Total Spent at Cub Foods: $9.10


That leaves me with an additional .70 to spend on food during my SNAP Challenge week. I'm already fantasizing about another box or macaroni and cheese. And I really dislike macaroni and cheese!


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  2. Kevin & Gang
    I am so impressed that you decided to take this on. Excellent!

    Planning is crucial. Shortage means going to the food shelf. Excess means you're eating ___ all month. Buying dried food in bulk is a good option. High protein/fat food will make you sated. High carb & veggies make you hungry later. Get condiments packets from take out places.

    Following a specific diet is hard. Low carb/sodium/fat? Allergies? Sorry. Buy vitamins to supplement nutrition? Not covered. Cook from scratch? Hard if you've 2+ jobs or sick.

    How do you eat "out there"? No more socializing over food. Spend the $ vs. be the poor one at the restaurant table. Even "bring a dish" parties tap into the SNAP food budget. Turn down every invitation gracefully.

    Thanks for doing this, recognizing this issue, & telling people about it. May you not get the munchies or suffer wicked withdrawal.

    PS There are some details missing. For a single adult, income over $1100/mo = no SNAP. Disability payments could make someone ineligible if too high.
    The SNAP budget (~$29/week) only goes up a little for each additional person, it's not ~$29*person.
    SNAP can be used at Farmer's Market for food and veggie plants, but not all markets have agree to accept EBT.