Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SNAP challenge Day 1

Good morning Folks!! 

Day 1 of the SNAP challenge is complete and was successful. I packed a home made oatmeal packet for breakfast, carrot/celery with peanut butter for snacks and lunch was the chicken, rice, black beans and corn. I never felt hungry and was adequately fueled for a 3.5 mile run after work.

My husband had oatmeal, a half peanut butter sandwich, 2 boiled eggs, goulash, and carrots/celery for a snack. He complained of feeling hungry in the late afternoon but he had plenty of food to eat. He just needs to redistribute it to keep himself feeling full longer.

The only issue I can say that I experienced was in the late afternoon. I'm used to eating some type of a sweet treat in the late afternoon. Yesterday I didn't pack one and I was missing that little treat. I wasn't hungry, it was just missing something that I'm used to. I think will eat some raisins w/ my celery and peanut butter this afternoon to help satisfy that sweet tooth. Or, because we stayed under our $45 budget, I might eat an apple that I have on hand.

Let me take a moment to clarify my motives here. I'm not trying to spark a political debate about government entitlement programs. As a nurse case manager, I'm well aware that there is abuse of the system. But with 48 million hungry people in America, I think that abuse is the exception to the rule.

My goal is to demonstrate that there are better food choices than boxed macaroni and cheese, white bread and lunch meat. Processed foods might be more affordable and convenient, but they are usually high in fat, calories, carbs and sodium which can lead to health problems like obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. I'm convinced that, with proper planning, it is possible to eat healthy, nutritious food on a budget. That's what I'm hoping to prove.

I asked my friend Jessica from Carpe TheSangria to help me with this challenge. She is a registered dietician and I'm sure she is aware of the challenges that SNAP recipients face. Here's a 3 day meal plan that she came up with:

3 Day Meal Plan
Day 1:
Breakfast: 2 slices whole grain toast with peanut butter, 1 cup nonfat or 1% milk, banana
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with canned peaches
Dinner: Bean Huevos Rancheros (recipe)
Snacks: Caesar Oyster Crackers (recipe), fruit (canned or fresh)

Day 2: 
Breakfast: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (recipe)
Lunch: Ham and Cheese Wrap
Dinner: Mini Pizzas (recipe)
Snacks: Ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, raisins)

Day 3: 
Breakfast: Breakfast Roll-Up (recipe)
Lunch: Leftovers or Sandwich
Dinner: Skillet Stroganoff
Snacks: Caesar Oyster Crackers (recipe), fruit (canned or fresh)

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour (half whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Beat eggs, sugar, oil and salt until well mixed. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spray cupcake tins with non-stick spray and spoon in mixture. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. This recipe can also be made into bread; bake for 60 minutes in greased loaf pan. 

Breakfast Roll-Up
Pinto beans, canned (or refried beans, canned)
Shredded cheese
Scrambled Eggs
Whole-wheat tortilla
Spread pinto beans, cheese, eggs and salsa on tortilla. Roll it up!

Casear Oyster Crackers
11 oz oyster crackers
1 (12 oz), packet Casear salad dressing mix (or ranch)
Put one third of the oyster crackers in a resealable gallon bag. Spray crackers with nonfat cooking spray. Sprinkle one third of dressing mix and shake gently to coat crackers. Repeat 2 more times.

Bean Huevos Rancheros
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 cups medium hot salsa
1/4 cup water
6 eggs
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3-6 tortillas
Mix beans, salsa and water in a frying pan. Heat to a boil while stirring often. Break eggs one at a time and slip gently into skillet on top of bean mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes or until egg whites are firm and yolks are completely cooked. Sprinkle cheese on top of eggs and serve with warm tortillas.
Skillet Stroganoff
1 pound ground beef (no more than 15% fat)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom condensed soup
1/2 soup can of nonfat milk
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
3-4 cups egg noodles, dry OR 1 cup brown rice
1 cup sour cream
Cook ground meat and onion in large frying pan over medium heat until meat is thoroughly brown. Stir in soup, milk, mushrooms and seasonings. Continue cooking until heated through. Cook noodles as directed and drain. Add sour cream to meat mixture just before serving. Put serving of noodles on plate and top with meat mixture.
Mini Pizzas

2 English muffins
1/2 cup pizza or tomato sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup diced vegetables (try zucchini, broccoli, tomato, onion or green pepper)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut English muffins in half and toast. Spread pizza sauce on each half. Sprinkle with cheese, arrange vegetables pieces over cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

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