Kelly: “It’s time to make the sandwiches,” she said angrily


[Because of vacation schedules, I will be taking the SNAP Challenge, starting today. Blogging with me this week will be my husband, Mike, our son, Max, our neighbors, Amy and Chris, and their two girls, Marley and Elena).]

As the Creative Director for Open Arms, I haughtily figured that I could “creative” my way around a menu this week. Ha. The joke’s on me.

Back in May of this year, Mike and I took a 6 week nutrition class at Nutritional Weight and Wellness where we “discovered” that there are essentially two ways to eat, and one of

Making A SNAP Decision To Live On $3.95 A Day

With more Minnesotans than ever before relying on food shelves and food stamps to alleviate hunger, Kevin Winge, executive director of Open of Arms of Minnesota, is taking the SNAP challenge—living on a one-week food budget of $27.65 – the approximate amount of money an individual receives in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) support, formerly known as food stamps. That comes to $3.95 a day—the cost of a single cappuccino. Kevin’s SNAP challenge goes from November 18 to Thanksgiving Day. Other community members joined in on slightly different schedules.

Community members can participate in this SNAP challenge by:

  1. Taking the challenge themselves and living on $27.65 for a week.
  2. Donating the money saved from grocery purchases and contributing those savings to nonprofit organizations addressing nutrition and hunger issues.
  3. Making a donation in the amount of $27.65 to Open Arms or a food shelf as an acknowledgment of the seriousness of food insecurity in Minnesota.

them has significantly contributed to our culture’s obesity epidemic. To simplify what we learned, it essentially breaks down like this:

Processed Foods = Unhealthy Whole Foods (foods-fats, proteins, carbohydrates-as close to their original form) = Healthy Foods.

Novel concept, right? Since then we have embarked on this “whole food” campaign. It’s been great. We have energy throughout the day, we’ve started exercising (we have energy!), and we’ve both lost 20 pounds and counting. So, when agreeing to the SNAP Challenge, I knew we’d have to modify our quantity of “whole foods” to meet our budget. I just didn’t think it would be so extreme.

As a family of three, we estimated that – if we were getting SNAP assistance – we would have $8.51 to eat with per day. Mike and Amy took one for the team yesterday and went to Rainbow armed with their budgets and rough menus. For Mike, it went from bad to worse. But that’s his story to tell.

What struck me most was that over the past 5 months, when we go grocery shopping, we spend 80% of our shopping minutes in the produce section, with the next 15% in the meat department and the dairy section. Literally, 5% or less is spent in the inside aisles. Why? Because that’s where you find the most processed, “unhealthy” options of foods. Now, I know I’m going to get comments about how to find “healthy” options inside the aisles, so know already that I know they exist, I’m saying IN GENERAL, that middle aisle is one big, fat, corn subsidy. Roll your eyes if you will. Look at the ingredients.

Do you know where Mike spent 90% of his shopping minutes yesterday? In the inside aisles, looking solely at price tags.

WTH. What is wrong with our society that FRESH PRODUCE is 5X more expensive than fake food? Why can you easily afford fruit “snacks” but not spinach? I know this isn’t new news, I’m simply saddened by the reality of where many of our neighbors spend their time in the grocery store. Where they HAVE to spend their time. As Jamie Oliver showed time and time again in his Food Revolution show – our kids don’t know how to identify a whole tomato, but they know their ketchup. They don’t know potatoes, but they know their fries.
And don’t even get me started with how little people have to eat on. I’ll save that one for the rest of the week. Right now, it’s time to make the sandwiches. The white bread, processed cheese sandwiches.

I hope I can stay awake today.