a balanced plate with room for dessert

SNAP Challenge: Day 5

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Today’s Feeding America prompt: “We know that low-income Americans have to make choices between groceries, prescriptions, gas for the car, utilities, and other household necessities. After living on a limited food budget this week, how has your perspective changed about the decisions families facing hunger must make?“

Simply put? I can’t imagine it. Even thought I have limited our food budget, our scenario in no way even compares to what millions of families deal with on a daily basis. We were hungry, but we didn’t go hungry. I had the comfort of knowing that I could fail out of the challenge and get something to eat if we did run out of food. These families don’t have that option.

While Mike and I try to stick to a budget, we realize that sometimes things happen. We might need more gas one week. I might get sick and need to see a doctor or pick up some meds (Mike never gets sick…). Or my car brakes might decide to die. Or my car wipers might decide to stop working…. Yeah, my car is a trouble maker. But, we deal with these unexpected expenses. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I had to choose between gas to get to work or a meal for my family. Would I walk? Try to catch a ride from a coworker? What if someone got really sick? Do we go to the doctor? Do we pay for their medication? Having to choose between life essentials doesn’t seem right.

All these “what ifs” make it clear to me that programs like SNAP are essential for low-income families. It’s a good reminder to be thankful for what I have in life.

This Challenge is bringing about a lot of emotions. Mike and I talk a lot about food insecurity and poverty on the way to work. It’s a really intense way to start the day. Things are getting a little easier for me now. We only have 2 more days left of the Challenge and I can tell that we will have enough food. It’s still hard not having the luxury of eating whatever we want, whenever we want, but I’m starting to adjust.

Unfortunately, I think I’m also getting sick. All I wanted to do after work is eat a bowl of mango sorbet and go to bed. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even skip making dinner because if I didn’t cook dinner that would mean I wouldn’t have lunch the next day. Blargh.

What we ate today:

  • Breakfast: savory oatmeal with an egg (me) and peanut butter toast with sliced banana (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter toast with 1/4 banana (me) and a cookie (Mike)
  • Lunch: pepper chicken with rice (me) and chili with rice (Mike)
  • Snack: peanut butter toast with 1/4 banana (me) and turkey sandwich with mustard (Mike)
  • Dinner: chicken fajitas with guacamole, tortillas, and sauteed zucchini (Mike also had cheese and sour cream)
  • Snack: raisins

easy chicken fajitas |

Easy Chicken Fajitas

for the chicken:
1 lime, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon canola oil

for the vegetables:
3 onions, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
salt and pepper, to taste

to serve:
flour tortillas
sharp cheddar cheese, grated
light sour cream
guacamole (see below for recipe)

  1. In a shallow bowl, combine lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper*. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, Brown chicken and cook until cooked through and meat is no longer pink in the middle. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Using the same skillet, add vegetables and saute until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Slice chicken into 1/4-inch pieces and toss with vegetables. Serve immediately with tortillas and garnishes, if desired.

*I made a double batch of this marinade and mixed half of it in with my garden zucchini! I seeded the squash, quartered it, and then sauteed it with the marinade over medium heat for about 15 minutes until tender. Delish 🙂

easy chicken fajitas |

This guac made not being able to have cheese and sour cream on my fajita a little more bearable. I ate a ton of it. Splurging on an extra avocado during the shopping trip was totally worth it!


2 medium avocados
1 lime, juiced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, mash avocados with a fork. Mix in lime juice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  2. Serve immediately.

Author: Jenni

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

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