I love this line from the $5 Challenge:
“Because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”
On Saturday, two different food-related challenges coincided, Slow Food USA’s $5 Challenge and the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge. I missed most of the Hunger Challenge, a week-long event in which people spend only $4.72 a day on food to experience eating on a food stamp budget. I did manage to try it for one day.
Here is how the day went, with costs being my best estimates.
Breakfast: oatmeal with peanut butter and banana
- 1/2 cup oatmeal, $0.21
- 1/2 cup almond milk, $0.22
- 1 banana, $0.49
- 1 T natural peanut butter, $0.11
- dash cinnamon, $0.01 (?)
- coffee with half and half, a few cups homemade, $0.50
Breakfast cost: $1.54
Lunch: egg muffins and an apple
I saw egg muffins a while ago and have been wanting to try them.
- 6 eggs, $1.25
- 1/2 cup milk, $0.24
- 2 slices rosemary ham, $0.80
- 2 slices American cheese, $1.00
- 1/4 onion, $0.11
- 1 slice wheat bread, toasted and diced, $0.11
- salt and pepper, $0.01 (?)
Egg muffins (for a serving of 3): $0.88 (Total cost for 12 egg muffins: $3.52)
Lunch cost: $1.77
Dinner: chili and cornbread
I brought a big pot of chili and some cornbread to share after a night of tennis mixed doubles.
Pot of chili:
- 1 lb. ground beef, $3.49
- 1 green bell pepper, $0.79
- 1 red bell pepper, $1.69
- 1 1/2 onions, $0.66
- 1 carrot, $0.28
- 3 cloves garlic, $0.18
- small can garbanzo beans, $0.89
- small can kidney beans, $0.89
- small can black beans, $0.89
- large can diced tomatoes, $1.33
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock, $0.25 (or free, depending on how you think about it)
- spices: cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper, $1.00 ( I actually have very little idea how much these portions cost. The same goes for a tablespoon of olive oil that I browned the meat in.)
Cost for a 1 cup serving: $1.03 (Cost of the big pot of chili: $12.34)
- I used this whole-grain cornbread recipe, which was calculated at $1.25. I cut it into 12 servings.
Cost for one piece: $0.10
Dinner cost: $1.13
Total cost of meals: $4.44.
(Beer not included.)
Overall, I think these challenges went well. I definitely think people can eat well for less than the cost of a “value meal.”
As for the Hunger Challenge, I know that eating for $4.72 every day would be much harder than it was to try it for only one day. It also makes me crazy that the U.S. government is subsidizing junk food through corn subsidies that end up pumping Americans full of high-fructose corn syrup while the cost of a fresh tomato is overly expensive for many people. (“Right now it’s harder for many people to buy fruit than Froot Loops.”)
Do you ever feel like you have to eat junk when your budget is tight? Does it anger you that junk food is often cheaper than fresh produce?
Update: I did the challenge the next day, too. Here’s how dinner worked out.