SNAP Challenge Day 1: Coffee Withdrawal

SNAP-Challenge.ashxOy. Today was rough. Although, to be fair, I am not sure if it is because of the cold I have been fighting for a few days or if it is caffeine withdrawal. Either way, I might be a miserable grumpy mess, but I am not willing to give up on the challenge. Although, if I feel the same way tomorrow, I might need to use the dollar I have left on my budget and go to the Dollar store to get a cheap pack of coffee grounds to survive the week. Tea just isn’t my cup of tea…so far.

Breakfast: Kashi cereal with black tea
Breakfast: Kashi cereal with black tea

As soon as I woke up, smelling my husband’s freshly brewed coffee and knowing I couldn’t have any, I knew it would be a rough day. But I didn’t how bad it would get yet. I started the day with a disappointing cup of black tea (I need to review my brewing technique) and a bowl of cereal. Off to work I went. I started getting hungry around 11am but didn’t get a chance to sit and eat my lunch until 1pm. I was really hungry, and a headache had kicked in. For lunch, I had one of my many portions of macaroni. At least, it was really filling. I also have to admit that I cheated a little bit. We had a new child join the classroom today and his mom brought mini-cupcakes from the most amazing shop in town. I couldn’t resist and had two. Not that they were filling but it technically didn’t come from my budget and I should have said no… but my heart didn’t let me. Oops! Hopefully no treats will be offered tomorrow or any other days this week. Because this is torture.

Lunch & Snack: Macaroni and a half-orange
Lunch & Snack: Macaroni and a half-orange

Unfortunately, during the afternoon (thankfully nap time in our classroom), my headache quickly turned into a migraine. I tried taking Excedrin but it only got worst. My husband ended up giving me a re-hydration packet (powder that you mix in a glass of water), which finally helped. Now, I didn’t count medicine in my budget and I am not willing to go without for a week since I do need to get work done but I can only imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have the extra money to get the necessary medicine.

For dinner, I had an egg with steamed broccoli. Here’s a lesson I learned from buying frozen broccoli: it’s mostly stems, and the stem is pretty much tasteless. So I decided to spice up my meal with a drizzle of Thousand Islands dressing bought within the budget. Still wasn’t super good but at least it was edible.

Dinner: Fried egg with steamed broccoli, drizzled with Thousand Islands dressing
Dinner: Fried egg with steamed broccoli, drizzled with Thousand Islands dressing

Part of the challenge is also to answer daily questions about the experience. The questions for day one are the following:

How did your shopping cart look compared to a normal week?

My shopping cart was a lot emptier than it usual is. Partly because I only shopped for one but also because I didn’t get to just pick “anything that looked good”, which is usually what I do in the produce section. I tried to keep my cart healthy but there definitely wasn’t as much fruits and vegetables as I would have liked. I also didn’t get to had the usual weekly treats (cookies, crackers, chocolate, or whatever I get once a week) because it didn’t fit my budget!

What choices did you have to make about the types of food you could afford, where you shopped, or the nutritional quality and variety of food?

I really wanted to keep my cart as healthy as I possibly could. Of course, I could have bought a ton of Mac & Cheese and easily survive the week but I would have had absolutely no nutritional value and I wasn’t willing to do that. Of course, getting better quality ingredients decreased the quantities I could get. That is mostly why I will pretty much eat the same two things all week (macaroni and eggs). I also figured I would get some vitamins and nutrition out of the canned tomatoes and frozen broccoli. It wasn’t ideal but it was cheaper than fresh produce so it was better than nothing.

In terms of choosing where I shop, Giant is one of my usual stores but I usually like to mix it up. I love to buy produce at our local market and meat at The Fresh Market but there was no way for me to do that, partly because of the higher costs and also because I wouldn’t have been able to plan my shopping trip ahead quite as easily. I wasn’t willing to gamble on my budget!

As I end my day, I filled up MyFitnessPal daily food diary to realize that I only consumed 900 calories (my weight-loss recommendation is 1300) and that included 2 mini-cupcakes. That certainly worries me as it is a pretty big daily deficit, especially since this is what I plan to eat pretty much every day, minus the cupcakes. I also worry about the caffeine intake and my cold but I will do all I can to keep going with the challenge. It is now almost 9 pm, and I am already getting hungry. I guess I should just drink a lot of water until bedtime…


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