Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day Five of Live Below the Line

We finished the five day challenge, and M celebrated with a chocolate chip cookie.  Considering that she's eight, I think she did an amazing job with sticking to the challenge and her goal of fundraising for care.org.  She actually helped to keep me focused during the week.
We had to make a couple of minor adjustments to our diet for the last day.  While most of our meals were similar what we ate earlier in the week, M went on a field trip needed to bring a bag lunch.  Since it would have been difficult to pack rice, beans, and a water bottle for this outing, I made her a melted cheese sandwich and gave her a box juice that we happened to have. 

During the five day Live Below the Line challenge, we actually stuck to our original list of ingredients and only made some minor changes as the week progressed.  Since we didn't eat our full allotment of beans (3 pounds), we used some of the leftover food budget to eat a little watermelon.  We only ate about 1 pound of onions instead of 3, so we made sandwiches with a couple of slices of cheese.

Our food budget for the week looked something like this:

2 pounds of dried pinto beans ($1.39 each)
1 pound of onions ($0.39/lb.)
3 pounds of cabbage ($0.59/lb.)
3 pounds of carrots ($0.59/lb.)
2 pounds of apples ($0.89/lb.)
1 gallon of low fat milk ($3.19 per gallon)
3 pounds of rice ($0.35/lb.)
3 pounds of chicken leg quarters ($0.78/lb.)
1 bag of Trader Joe's pretzels ($1.99 per bag)
2 pounds of potatoes ($0.32/lb.)
1 loaf of whole wheat bread ($0.48 per loaf--not a mistake!!!  I happened to have a coupon and it was on sale that week....super lucky!!) 
14 eggs ($1.89)
Rather than figuring out exactly how much of each condiment, seasoning, etc. we used, we sort of took a shortcut and just included $1 for these items (and the 2 ounces of coffee we shared at the end of every day).

Total: $21.11 (this left us a little wiggle room for a small amount of watermelon and cheese)

Some thoughts about our experience: When you are living on $1.50 per day, it is truly difficult to make sure that your kids get a variety of different foods in all the food groups.  Also, while I did not mind the food we ate too much, I missed eating different fruits and vegetables.  I missed being able to eat what I wanted when I wanted to.  Such a restrictive diet with limited ingredients requires a lot of preplanning and preparing.

I hope that our family has a greater understanding of and compassion for the difficulties faced by so many other people.  And I hope that we now have a greater awareness and empathy.  I am glad we were able to participate, and there is already talk of joining the challenge again next year.

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