As I reflect on the week, I have come to realize what the SNAP Challenge meant to me as I progressed each day. I originally thought that I would simply put together a quick shopping list of low cost meals, run to the store for my purchases, and my week would begin. That was not the case. The SNAP Challenge is not just about staying on the budget; it is about attempting to budget for healthy meals that can sustain a person throughout the day. This was very difficult to do with a spending limit of $29.82 for the week. I found it easiest to research the average cost of a given meal, then once I narrowed down the most cost effective meals I was able to create my shopping list.
Needless to say, the most cost effective meals were not always the healthiest. My breakfast always consisted of a bowl of generic brand Cheerios, my lunches were also always the same- a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with pretzels, but my dinners did vary some. I would typically switch back and forth from pastas, soups, and hamburger helper recipes. Variety was definitely not much of an option.
After completing the SNAP challenge I came to realize one of the greatest benefits of the challenge was my increased level of awareness for those participating in this program. I find myself more aware of food prices at the grocery store. I am more aware of what I am spending and more aware of what my "needs" are rather than my "wants". I now have a better understanding of a few of the burdens some must face on a regular basis.