Today is the first day of the United Way King County Hunger Challenge. This morning I decided before I even got out of bed that I needed to make a decision about being flexible or anal on how our family would eat. I could make the family stick to the meal plan or I could just do what I always do and go with the flow. I decided to go with the flow. If anyone was hungry I would just let them eat out of the things we bought and I figured I would calculate it later.
Mondays are always busy around here. Every Monday my husband usually eats breakfast at Starbucks with his mens group. I reminded him before he left that if he bought anything I would have to count it against our budget. He decided to eat a cup of home made almond cranberry granola with milk and bought a cup of drip at Starbucks ( but did he have to buy a grande?). That seemed reasonable to me. This morning my moms group was having a potluck brunch. I brought monkey bread and only ate monkey bread and water. I wanted to stay within the rules of the challenge. My kids also had some monkey bread, Cheerios, pear slices, and a breakfast burrito. Total costs for breakfast was: $5.91.
For lunch my husband and I ate strawberry spinach salads and water. My kids could live off of peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of their lives. In fact I think they wish I would let them. For lunch they had peanut butter sandwiches, apple slices, juice box, carrots, and a cookie. After school the kids had a granola bar and grapes for snacks. Total costs for lunch and snacks were: $5.84
Let me be brutally honest with you. I am an emotional eater. What I mean by this is… depending on my mood, the weather, and anything else happening, these factors will determine what we eat, when we eat, and where we eat. If I wasn’t doing the Hunger Challenge I know we would’ve gone out to eat because of the weather. It was a warm sunny day in Seattle and I did not feel like being cooped up in our house, turning on the stove, and cooking considering I just finished cooking for 30 yesterday. Does this ring true to anyone else?!? And anytime I try to meal plan it always backfires on me. Because by the time dinner rolls around, I usually don’t want to eat whatever it is that I planned. So as of this morning I decided I am not going to meal plan this week and just allow myself to cook free style.
Because eating out would not be an option for us tonight I ended up making Spinach and Pork tacos with home made salsa and avocado slices along with a nice cold glass of diet cola. I made the kids Spinach and Pork Quesadillas and my son ate sweet potato mousse as well. All of this was decided at 4:30pm. Yikes! For dessert we ate the left over monkey bread. Total costs for dinner were: $10.84
Grand Total for the day is $22.59
I’ll post recipes later but I will say making spinach and pork tacos/quesadillas with salsa was surprisingly awesome. Look for the recipe soon, its a sure fire winner!
And as an FYI: I have a one year old. I make my own baby food and he can eat about half the amount of food of his big sisters who are 6 and 7. I opted out of buying the regular baby snacks I get at Whole Foods and opted for Cheerios instead and making everything else. I believe making baby food is not only less expensive, there is a deep satisfaction in knowing exactly what you’re baby is eating.
Before dinner my daughter and I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple things. While shopping my daughter asked me if we could buy a few of her favorite snacks. I had to explain to her that I couldn’t because of our commitment to the Hunger Challenge and I was so proud of her because she was such a good sport about it and understood what we were trying to accomplish. For a 7 year old to grasp why we are doing this makes me so grateful for this opportunity as it brings awareness to all my kids that there are other kids and families who struggle with hunger.
Final thoughts: I think we ate pretty good today. I concede it may not be the most healthiest but I believe we had a nice balance of meat/protein, veggies, fruit, dairy, carbs, and sweets. My only regret so far is wishing I did not do my initial grocery shopping trip as if I as stocking a kitchen. I bought several things I probably won’t even use during this week but I like having in my pantry. I’ve decide for the rest of the week just to buy what I need for the day. This way there is less waste and I can save any money I have left over to splurge on a nice meal at the end of the week.
You can follow my grocery diary for the United Way Hunger Challenge here.