Challenge Accepted: Eating on $28 for a Week

Occasionally I see articles on the news or social media about a politician or celebrity taking “the SNAP challenge.” It sounds like a new reality show, but it’s actually a fascinating process. During the SNAP challenge participants limit their food budget to what they would receive if they participated in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). I’ve always been interested in people’s motivations for doing this and the realizations they come to while trying to eat well on a very tight budget.


A Week in Someone Else’s Shoes

Last week I wrote about my experience with the SNAP Challenge. I limited my food budget to what I would receive if I participated in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). I learned a lot and put my cooking and shopping skills to the test! Dr. Ruth Litchfield is a friend and colleague of mine who is a dietitian and teaches nutrition courses at our university. She took the SNAP challenge as well. I was fascinated to learn about her family’s experience.


The Rhoads’ SNAP Challenge

Vickie Rhoads decided to do the SNAP challenge with her family and share their experience to call attention the fact that nearly 13 % of Iowans are food insecure, meaning they do not have the ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods in socially acceptable ways. Vickie shared, “We have had friends and family whose income has been reduced due to job layoffs or family deaths”. A one-week challenge certainly does not replicate the complexities of poverty, but it is one way to better-understand the reality many Iowans face.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

SNAP Challenge Meals

Following our SNAP challenge blogs throughout the month of March, I received some requests for details about the foods I purchased and how I put them together into meals. I allowed myself $28 and I spent $25.01 so that I could use a few things from home (cooking spray, margarine, salt and pepper).