SOLE on SNAP: The day before day 1

I went to the grocery store. It was my “big” trip for the month. My month of eating healthy and SOLE on a food stamps (SNAP) budget. I spent $109. SNAP wouldn’t cover some of it. I’ll deduct that off. Here’s what I bought:

cat litter 5.89 (not eligible with SNAP)
cat food 8.89 (again, not eligible with SNAP)
Bertolli Shrimp Penne Skillet Meal 5.99
Kroger black olives 1.28
Magic Hat IPA 6 pack 7.99 (not eligible for SNAP)
Freschetta Simply Inspired Pizza 4.99
Kroger spicy vegetable juice 2.29
2 bottles of Kroger salad dressing 2.50 (1.25 each)
Kroger kidney beans .75
Kroger kidney beans .75
Starbucks coffee (for my office) 7.99
3 boxes of Hamburger Helper 4.83 (1.61 each)
Homestead Creamery Half and Half 2.49
      + a deposit for the glass bottle 2.00
Kroger Neufatchel Cheese 1.34
Athenos Humus (large) 4.49
Kroger bow-tie pasta 1.11
Sun Luck Hoisin Sauce 2.89
Kroger Value red pepper flakes 1.00
4 Fage yogurts 4.00 (1.00 each)
8 Chobani yogurts 8.00 (1.00 each)
organic red onions 3.49
organic white onions 3.49
Private Selection horseradish cheddar cheese slices 2.19 (manager’s special)
Private Selection organic fresh sage 1.99
Private Selection organic spring mix 3.42
Private Selection Genoa Salami 4.99
organic lemon .46
Private Selection organic grape tomatoes 3.49
Kroger 100% whole wheat bread 1.19
2 boxes of Pilbury Toaster Strudels 3.98 (1.99 each)
Coffeemate Natural Bliss coffee creamer 2.59

I had coupons for: 1.25 off the Bertolli Skillet meal; 1.50 off the Freschetta Pizza; 1.50 off the Coffeemate creamer; .75 off the humus; 1.50 off the Starbucks; .55 off the salami; and .75 off 3 Hamburger Helpers.

Subtract $24.13 for items that would not be covered by SNAP, plus tax of 6%, and that brings my total to $85.13. I’m not sure if SNAP would cover the $2 deposit I paid on the milk bottle, but I didn’t include it in the items substracted.

I also spent $11.14 on Thursday at the Monroe Farm Market for 2 dozen eggs and a 3-lb bag of apples. So, for the month, that makes my total spent on groceries $96.27 so far.

Some of the items I bought, I’m not very proud of. When I was checking out, I was noticing how much processed food I bought. The Hubs was with me, and he requested the Toaster Strudels for breakfast, and also the IPA. I fell into the coupon trap for the Hamburger Helper, frozen pizza and Bertolli Skillet meal. They were really cheap with coupons. Which is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing for this project.

Not to start backpeddaling, but we don’t eat those things on a regular basis. The last time I bought 3 Hamburger Helpers with a coupon, it took us 6 months to eat them all. Anyway, I am going to try to keep these purchases on my mind this month, and avoid eating them this month, if possible. I did put Hamburger Helper on my menu for the month though. I was thinking that we need to use the rest of last year’s ground deer meat before hunting season comes in again this year, and we eat it in Hamburger Helper. Maybe that mitigates some of the bad part of Hamburger Helper. However, it still is RIDICULOUSLY high in sodium and full of chemical artificial colors and flavors, as is most processed food.

Also, on the topic of processed food, I have been a little wary of bottled salad dressing. I started keeping a food diary about 2 years ago, mostly to loose weight, which was incredibly enlightening. It tracks your daily nutrients (which will come into play for the project, but more on that later), and I couldn’t figure out how I was getting 4.500 mg of sodium (!!!!) some days. I do eat a MOSTLY whole food diet, afterall. Well, it turned out the culprit was the bottled salad dressing that I was eating on my salad just about everyday for lunch! I do look at labels when I am buying salad dressing now, and get the one that is lower in calories and fat AND sodium now. At home, I like to make my own salad dressing by just whisking some good EVOO and balsamic vinegar together, but at work, that’s not as practical. Especially since I do count my calories. I don’t know what they put in the stuff, but the store-bought bottled dressing is at least 2/3 the calories of the same amount of EVOO and balsamic. I have been reluctant to eat the homemade more because every calorie counts when you only have 1,700 for a day. A 50-calorie difference between the two is a big deal for me.

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