Home > Uncategorized > Put food in the budget: the final days

Put food in the budget: the final days

Day four was filled with temptations. First there was lunch with colleagues, who opted for take-out since I’m not supposed to eat out. In the evening there was a goodbye party at a local pub. Both times I resisted the urge to cheat.

Again, it wasn’t that hard. In the case of lunch, I had my leftover faux jambalaya. It was no souvlaki, but it was satisfying. At the pub I was so busy catching up with friends and former colleagues spread across various tables, so I barely noticed I wasn’t eating or drinking with them. Few were eating and most only had a drink, so that likely made it easier.

Of course, it’s social custom to share food and drinks with friends, so there was the initial question when I turned down the food that was offered. No, I don’t have any new allergies, I explained. I’m just a masochist. Once they found out what I was doing, they were supportive, and it started a little discussion. Some thought the diet too restrictive, arguing the food hamper would likely supplement many households, where there would be other options.

That’s probably where the pantry items come in, although even those might be a bit restrictive. It’s hard to say unless you’re actually faced with the situation instead of being a participant in a challenge.

Why not provide a more real-world challenge, a colleague has since asked. She suggests participants be given an amount of money they have to live off for a month, and a date when they’d be allowed to use the food bank (and thus get items on the food hamper list). It’s an intriguing idea, but I doubt there would be much buy-in for a month-long challenge like that. Even a challenge of three to seven days is tough. While I’m going strong with the food I have, it does cause difficulties for others.

There are two meals being prepared each night at my house, since no one else wants my awesome tuna casserole, which probably could’ve used some chopped onion (of course I didn’t think to add it until after it was done). Then there are those who are sincerely apologetic for eating fish and chips in front of me. No apologies needed, just please enjoy your food without guilt. It’s not like I’m starving over here. It’s a matter of needs versus likes. I would like to have a cup of steaming hot chocolate, I would like to have those chocolate truffles that were given to me the day before the challenge started, and I would like to have a glass of beer and some wings with friends. But I don’t need those things (I might even be better off without them).

I’ve made it to day five with a bellyful of food, and a decent amount of leftovers in the fridge and cupboard. The only complaints I have are the ones I made at the beginning: too much sodium and not enough fruits and vegetables.

Chances are good I’ll end the challenge tonight. Five days later I know I have enough food to last the weekend. I still have a helping or two of the casserole and another of the faux jambalaya. Three eggs have yet to be used, there’s the canned stew, canned veggies, about a half a loaf of bread … I think the point here is made. Since I hate wasting food, I’ll eat that casserole and rice mix, although I might add other ingredients to make those meals a bit different.

The challenge has definitely been interesting. I wouldn’t say it’s an eye-opener, though. It’s reminiscent of when I was in university, or my early days as a journalist, when I would eat whatever was quick, easy and relatively inexpensive. Not the healthiest choices, but it kept me going then.

It’ll be interesting to hear how other participants fared.


Day four at a glance:

Breakfast – tea

Lunch – leftover faux jambalaya

Dinner – tuna casserole


Day five at a glance:

Breakfast – plain oatmeal, tea

Lunch – leftover tuna casserole

Dinner – tbd (No longer following the list, but I still have leftovers to eat)

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