By now I’m sure you’ve all seen Gwyneth Paltrow’s $29 a week grocery purchases. Gwyneth accepted the #FoodBankNYCChallenge from Chef Mario Batalli who is a board member of the Food Bank of New York City. The goal of the challenge is to educate Americans on what it’s like to live on a Food Stamp Budget for one week. Across America 46.3 Million people rely on the SNAP program for their grocery purchases each month.
Gwyneth Paltro has taken a lot of heat on social media concerning her 1 week food purchases for $29. Here is what she purchased.
So let’s get real for a moment. Not many people could live for a week on the items that she purchased.
Let me step up on my soapbox for a moment…I know many people who depend on food stamps to feed their families and one day you and I might find ourselves in a situation where we need extra help to feed our families. But…and this is a pet peeve of mine…many people on food stamps make poor food choices, spending all of their money at the first of the month. Then by the end of the month they and their children are hungry. I previously worked in the school system and I saw MANY children who by the end of the month were only eating what they received at school with the free breakfast and free lunch programs. I truly believe that when an individual signs up on the SNAP program, they should be required to go through a nutrition class and a class on budgeting and coupons. Come on…if you and I have to pinch our pennies, shop the sale items, and use coupons, to make ends meet and feed our families with our own money that we earned, then I believe it’s only fair they those relying on government assistance should also learn how to budget and make the best food choices for their family.
Stepping off my soapbox now!
When I first heard of this #FoodBankNYCChallenge I thought the challenge was to spend $29 a week for your whole family. It can be done! I sat down today and planned out 7 days worth of meals and came in right under budget at $29.83. But now that I know the challenge is $29 per person in your household I was able to add more items to the menu and include more fruits and vegetables.
I created my 7 day menu based on the prices as Aldi’s. I often shop at Aldi’s, especially for produce and cheese. Their prices are usually way below other grocery stores in my area. However, one thing about Aldi’s is you are not able to use coupons. If I were to go to a store that uses coupons and plan my meals around their sale items with coupons I might be able to lower my food costs. If you have never been to Aldi’s I suggest you find the closest one and head there now! Aldi’s is owned by the parent company that owns Trader Joe’s. Aldi’s is not a flashy and hip as Trader Joe’s but they are the place to go for low prices.
If you don’t have an Aldi’s in your area you can always save money at other stores. I often shop at Kroger’s when they are having a really good sale and I have coupons to pair with their sale items. It’s all about planning your meals around what is available that week.
Here is my 7 Day Food Stamp Budget Menu. With this menu I am assuming that you already have “staple items” at home such as condiments, seasonings, butter, etc. The key to staying on budget is to use your leftovers. You will see in this menu I was able to use leftovers and repurpose them into different dishes. You will notice that the daily totals at the beginning of the week are higher than the end of the week. By the end of the week you are using leftovers from items you purchased earlier in the week.
Crystal’s Food Stamp Budget List
Pancakes $1.49 for a 32 oz box of pancake mix. With this box of pancake mix I will make a large number of pancakes so that we can have pancakes later in the week.
Sausage $1.99 for a 16 oz roll of Appleton Farms Sausage
Hot Dogs $0.99
Buns $0.89 for an 8 count package of hot dog buns
Baked Beans $1.49
Black Beans $2.29 for a 2 pound bag of dried beans. These can be placed in your crockpot and allowed to cook all day.
Chicken Broth $0.89 for a can of chicken broth, this will be used with water to cook the beans
White Rice $0.69 for a 1 lb bag of rice
Daily Total $10.72
Scrambled Eggs $1.49 for one dozen eggs
Toast $0.85 for one loaf of white bread
Banana $2.85 for 7 bananas
Leftover Beans and Rice FREE
Fresh Pineapple $0.99
Flounder $3.89 for a bag with 4 fillets
Steamable Frozen $0.99
Daily Total $12.55
Deli Meat $2.49 for a 9 oz package
Carrots $0.49 per bag
Baked Chicken $0.89 cents per pound, 3 pounds = $2.67
Roasted Carrots FREE
Roasted Potatoes $1.99 for a 5 pound bag
Daily Total $7.64
Leftover Chicken FREE
Crescent Rolls $0.99 per can
BBQ Sauce $0.99 per bottle
Mozzarella Cheese $2.99 per 2 cup bag
I would use the crescent rolls as a pizza crust. Top with BBQ sauce, chicken pulled from the bone and topped with Mozzarella Cheese for a BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Daily Total $4.97
Scrambled Egg FREE
English Muffin $0.99 for 6 muffins
Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Tuna $0.69 per can, use 2 cans
Pinto Beans $1.79 for a 2 pound bag of dried beans
Fried Potatoes FREE
Daily Total $6
English Muffin FREE
Tuna Sandwiches FREE
Ground Turkey $1.69 per pound, use 1 pound
and Black Beans FREE
Crushed Tomatoes $0.45 per can, use two cans
Tomato Juice $1.29 per 46 oz can
Daily Total $3.88
Yogurt $0.39 x 2
English Muffin FREE
Leftover Chili FREE
Spaghetti $1.59 per box
Spaghetti Sauce $0.99
*If you had leftover chili you could also mix that with your pasta for chili spaghetti!
Daily Total $3.36
Weekly Total $49.12
That is $8.88 under the budget of $58 for a family of two.
April’s Food Stamp Budget List
April also created a grocery list for her family of 3, based on a $30 a week total budget. April follows a low carb diet. These prices are based on prices for the Central Kentucky area.
Weekly Shopping List
Organic Eggs $3 a dozen, buying 2 dozen
Organic Milk $4 per gallon, using a coupon for $1 off
Avocados $5 for 4
Chicken Breasts $8 for a 6lb bag, using a $2 off coupon
Bananas $2.50 for 10
Frozen Spinach $0.99, purchase 2 bags
Frozen Broccoli $0.99
April plans on using the chicken in different ways throughout the week. One way she plans to use it is to grind the meat and use the ground chicken as taco meat.
April and her son both each hard boiled eggs so they would easily eat 2 dozen eggs.
How would you feed your family on this type of budget?
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