a balanced plate with room for dessert

SNAP Challenge: Day 4

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Today’s Feeding America prompt: “Are you worried about your groceries running out before the end of the Challenge? Do you feel you are eating a healthy, balanced diet? What nutrition decisions did you have to make?”

In a word – yes. I am worried about running out of food. I think that’s something that I’ve mentioned on a daily basis in my summary posts. I have the tiniest bit of money leftover and I keep thinking about what I can do with that money just in case we run out of food.

I think the menu is healthy, but not as healthy as we normally eat. Our house is usually stocked full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. This week, we only have a few fresh produce items. We have free garden produce – tomatoes, zucchini, hot peppers and I purchased bell peppers, bananas, and grapes. I usually buy exclusively whole grain pasta, rice, and bread, but this week the only whole grains I purchased were the whole wheat bread and oatmeal. I was able to buy some boneless, skinless chicken breast, but I bought 85% lean ground turkey instead of my usually 93% or 99%.

I’m also not used to the lack of variety we have. For example – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten oatmeal every single day (sometimes several times a day) before this. I like to switch up my breakfast items! Before, I would choose between cereal with almond milk, a breakfast sandwich, egg and veggie scrambles, or half a bagel with Tofutti cream cheese and some fruit. I’m not huge on “sweet” breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, and the like have no place on my plate during breakfast!), but I love savory breakfast foods! I got sick of eating oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar by the end of Day 2 and ended up making a savory oatmeal with spices mixed in. Mike found it revolting, but it was just the change I needed!

For the MyPlate recommendations, we’re pretty darn close to meeting all minimums except for dairy. I’m getting no dairy at all. Like I’ve mentioned before, I can’t handle it any more. I didn’t fit lactose-free milk into our budget. I’m not a big milk drinker anyway, so getting rid of that was no big deal to me. Mike’s getting some from cheese, but not nearly enough. Something to work on for next time, I guess…

All that said, I am so thankful that we have a garden. Even though it’s 2 hours away, Mike was able to bring down cherry tomatoes, zucchini, herbs and a few hot peppers from the garden the day before the Challenge started. In a way, it kind of feels like cheating… but when I think about it, we haven’t really used much from the garden “stash” at all aside from the hot peppers and my occasional cherry tomato snack.

Snack wise, we’re doing a lot better. I don’t have access to any of our popcorn supplies (gosh, I miss kettle corn), rice cakes, or baking supplies. Another thing I really miss? Chocolate from my favorite Appleton chocolate shop, Wilmar’s. I’m obsessed with their cherry pie chocolate bar: milk chocolate with Door County dried cherries, almonds, and sea salt. Swoon! I keep a bar in my desk drawer and I eat one piece almost every day when I’m in the office. Having the bar in my desk drawer and not being able to eat it is hard. Mike doesn’t have access to his go-to snacks either. Good for our waistlines, not so good for our mood.

What we ate today:

  • Breakfast: savory oatmeal with an egg (me), whole wheat toast with peanut butter and raisins (Mike)
  • Snack: cherry tomatoes and grapes (me), grapes and a cookie (Mike)
  • Lunch: three bean turkey chili with elbow macaroni,
  • Snack: nothing for me… I ate it all in the morning 😦
  • Dinner: sweet & sour chicken with rice (Mike) and pepper chicken with rice (me)
  • Snack: peanut butter with raisins (Mike)

I think Mike and I were both struggling with not having a snack or dessert, so I whipped up a batch of healthy cookies for us. I had to improvise with what we had purchased for the SNAP Challenge. They’re super simple (4 ingredients!!!) and surprisingly tasty!

healthy 4 ingredient banana oatmeal cookies |

Banana Oatmeal Cookies
makes 1 dozen cookies

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
½ cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  2. Mix bananas with oatmeal and peanut butter until well combined. Stir in raisins until evenly distributed.
  3. Roll into 1.5” balls and place on prepared baking sheet 2” apart. Gently press down on each cookie with the bottom of a cup to flatten slightly.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

One thought on “SNAP Challenge: Day 4

  1. Pingback: SNAP Challenge: Day 5 |

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