Challenges, Recipes

SNAP Challenge Day 3: That’s a Lot of Macaroni

SNAP-Challenge.ashxI feel soiled. After my migraine and headache issues, I decided to buy coffee at the Dollar Store last night. Yes, the Dollar Store. I knew it wouldn’t be great but I figured it would be worth it. Well, I didn’t think coffee could taste that bad. Really. Poop flavored coffee. Yuck. But worst of all, I didn’t get any headaches today so I’m thinking of having a mug of nasty again tomorrow. I am so disgusted with my decision. But hey, whatever works, I guess.

My sad addiction.
My sad addiction.

So the day went as usual. Cereal for breakfast, macaroni for lunch, half-orange for snack. I switched it up a bit for dinner. After two nights of fried eggs with steamed broccoli, I decided to make a salad tonight: 2 hard-boiled eggs, strawberries, spinach and some Thousand Islands dressing. Simple but actually turned out to be really good. But boy, do I miss having dessert. I really do. And I miss snacking. I miss browsing through the pantry for just one more tasty bite.


Since I’ve been eating it all week, here is the super simple macaroni I made this week. 8 portions with $6.05 worth of ingredients. That’s just about 75 cents per portion!

Very simple ingredients

Budget-Friendly Macaroni: (8 portions)


  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (2x 15 oz)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 3 oz of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 16 oz (uncooked) of elbow macaroni
  • Optional but recommended: salt, pepper, basil, oregano (to taste)

What’s next?

  1. In a large pot, cook the entire box of macaroni.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the turkey over medium heat.
  3. When the meat is mostly cooked through, add the tomato cans (diced and sauce), the spinach and the spices. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and add them to the sauce (or vice-versa…whichever pot/saucepan is bigger).
  5. Enjoy, portion and/or freeze!
Mix it all together!
Mix it all together!
So much macaroni!
So much macaroni!

Now for today’s SNAP Challenge question. Because it is, after all, the reason why I’m doing this!

How would this experience be different if your spouse and children were also eating off a limited food budget for the week?

The experience would have definitely been different mostly because I am a lot less picky than my husband. He told me he would have easily survived on a ramen diet all week but he probably wouldn’t have felt great, even after just a day or two. The macaroni was a lifesaver for me since it was so cheap to make and I can eat it every day for lunch at work. My husband, who doesn’t like tomatoes, definitely wouldn’t have been on board for this. It definitely made me think about the cost (in terms of money as well as health) of being a picky eater. When you’re a picky eater, you are likely to like cheap junk food. That’s perfect on a budget but it doesn’t make you feel healthy in the long (and even shorter) term. In the last few months, we found great ways for my husband to eat healthier meals, mostly by including juicing and smoothies. Both are great but definitely pricey. It definitely wouldn’t have fit the budget.

Today’s calorie count: 834 calories; i.e. 553-calorie deficit from my recommended daily goal, according to MyFitnessPal. Definitely not ideal but I am too scared to run out of food before the end of the week if I “loosen up” on my meal plan and just start eating more each day. More water to chug, I guess…


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