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Healthy Vegan Eating on $21.00 a Week

Healthy Vegan Eating on $21.00 a Week

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Published by: veganmainstream on Oct 09, 2010
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September 2nd, 2010 byJessi Stafford·Consumer Perspective,Lifestyle In life thereare many different social classes, interest groups andeconomic situations. But no matter what a person’s financialstatus, not a soul should be denied healthy, sustainable foodbased on income. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.Even in a good economy, more families fall into a lowerincome tier than into a wealthy one. This means severerationing of portions and supplies - most of the time at theexpense of fruits and vegetables, with quick meals and chipsand soda being cheaper options. It shouldn’t be a luxury tobe able to eat healthily and ethically.Vegan Hopeposits achallenge to turn this “status” quo around. Here are their guidelines:1. For one week you agree to live on a $21.00 food budget (per person in your household). This isthe Food Stamp Budget.2. Do not use any equipment that costs more than $15.00, with the exception of the following:oven, microwave.3. Spices that you currently have can be used, but you should subtract $3.00 from your total foodbudget per person.4.I personally use no oil or spray oil (nor do I recommend anyone use it). However, that is not thepurpose of this challenge, if you are someone who uses it I will be asking you to deduct $3.00from your food budget.5. Write about the dishes you make including ingredients and the cost per meal.6. Include a shopping list.I was pumped about this task for a few reasons.A. I am faced with budgeting for food on a 20-something’s incomeB. I am limited as far as where I can do my food shopping - my feet, public transportation or a bike has tobe able to take me there. This is a problem many low-income families face as well. Limited transportationand limited resources make eating healthy (or gasp, vegan) even harder.C. It is a chance to show just what kind of choices families have to make when trying to stretch $3.oo aday as far as they can.So here’s how I ate. For one week. On $3.oo a day. Journal style.I tweaked the spice allowance slightly by combining only the few extras I used into one $3.00 subtraction.My initial $3.00 deduction includes: oil/vinegar, mustard, peanut butter, and salt/pepper in very smallrations. So I started the week with $18.00 to spare.
($21.00- $3.00 for spices/butter = $18.00)
I started the week by making a careful list of what I would eat using the items I already had in my house.
My first
was to ration a package of Vans Vegan/Gluten Free Waffles laying in my freezer.(
$3.00 for 8 waffle
) I allowed myself 1 waffle. (
Total $0.38 
*Check out the shopping list at the end of the post for full items and prices for each. It’s ok, you can check my math.
consisted of a peanut butter & banana sandwich (ahem, thank you Elvis), using a banana I had(
), 2 tbsp. peanut butter (included in my
$3.00 spice allotment 
) and two slices of bread (
). (
Total $0.50 
was leftovers! Nothing gets thrown away when you have to make every penny count. A leftovertaco salad helped me save money. It is a simple recipe (and it’s one of my favorites). Using 1 red tomato,shredded lettuce, black beans, re-fried beans and tortilla chips, it’s a healthy and tasty meal on the cheap.And the cost? Well, let’s get ready for some slightly complicated math (come on, I majored in Journalism). Ihad half of the original meal leftover (from before the challenge). I ate half of that for dinner. So we’ll bedividing the prices in fourths. (
1/4 red tomato $0.25 + shredded lettuce $0.15 + tortilla chips $0.50 + 1/4 can black beans $0.45 + 1/4 can re-fried beans $0.37 
= $1.72)
Day 1 total:
$0.38 + $0.50 + $1.72 = $2.60 $18.00- $2.60 
$15.40 left for Day 2DAY TWO
Repetition is the name of Day 2 as I have a tendency to run late for work.
1 Vans Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle (
Total $0.38)
: I made a salad and took it to work. It was simple and healthy and consisted of lettuce
), 1/4tomato (
), 1/2 cucumber (
), oil/vinegar (
included in the initial $3.00 spice allotment 
) and a FREEbanana that my office sets out on Monday mornings, much to my approval. (
Total: $0.95)
Craving something resembling a carb after walking in 100-degree heat I made cold pasta salad.You’ll notice I use the term “salad” for anything I decide to throw together in a pot or bowl. The whole thingwas, just my style, easy and cheap. Using a coupon for a $1.00 box of generic wheat pasta (
1/4 box for $0.25)
with oil/vinegar and salt/pepper (
included in allotted $3.00 for spices 
) and 1/2 red tomato (
) itwas a nice refreshing dinner for a total of $0.75.Day 2 total:
$0.38 + $0.95 + $0.75 = $2.08 $15.40 – $2.08 
$13.32 left for Day 3
Another thing to point out is that I live within walking distance to a farmer’s market. That is how I can affordsuper cheap veggies. BUT many farmer’s market do not take the food stamps debit card that now replacespaper food stamps because they don’t have the equipment to run them. Without the leisure of cash,people relying on public transportation and food stamps may have even more limited resources for healthyfood.
It’s the story of my life: I was running late and forgot to eat breakfast…which made lunch harder to wait for,but I didn’t want to spend any extra dough–However misfortune (a.k.a lack of planning) struck again and Irealized I forgot my lunch. Dun dun dun, this isn’t starting off well. (Note: I’m emphasizing this lack ofplanning to say that people living on a very thin budget have extra stresses every morning to plan out howNOT to spend money. How many times have you been faced with that struggle?) Luckily, nuzzled in theback of the work freezer I found my lone Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable Burrito, which cost more than Iwould’ve wanted to spend had I brought home-cooked food — racking up
I also grazed the freesnacks at work–which once again, I realize not everyone has the luxury of doing.Once at home I decided to chow down on the last of the taco salad for fear of it going bad. For a total of
(See Day 1 for taco salad calculations).Day 3 total =
$3.51 ($1.72 + 1.79)$13.32 – $3.51
$9.81 left for Day 4
(To put it in perspective this is now $2.45 per day)
In the morning I survived on free coffee at work to get me through to lunch. I guess I’m not much of abreakfast person. Shun me if you must.
I brought a homemade sandwich [(2 slices of bread (
), lettuce (
) and onions (
)]using a small amount of mustard (
included in my $3.00 initial deduction 
Lunch total = $0.55 
Brown Rice and Greens2 cups spinach (
)1 cup brown rice (
) with salt/pepperI only ate half of the recipe and saved half for work the next day. (
divided by 2 = total of
)Day 4 total:
$0.55 + $0.41 = $0.96 $9.81 – $0.96 
$8.85 left for Day 5
DAY FIVEBreakfast:
1 slice of toast
: Brown Rice & Greens leftovers from last night (
: Hodge-podge stir-frysauteed zucchini (
)onions (
)red bell pepper (
)1/2 package frozen spinach (
)salt/pepper (
included in original $3.00 subtraction 
)Dinner came to a total of $2.10 divided by 2 =
Day 5 total:
$0.15 + $0.41 + $1.05 = $1.61$8.85 – $1.61
$7.24 left for Day 6DAY SIX
Back to my old tricks for
, I grabbed a vegan waffle on my way out of the house. Not quite“Lego my Eggo” for a measly
Finally getting the hang of eating half and saving half, I enjoyed my zucchini stir-fry from the nightbefore, totaling
Lazy Rice and Beans (A variation ofthis recipe). 1 can black beans (
)1 tomato (
1 onion (
(included in $3.00 deduction)
1 stalk celery (
1 cup brown rice (
)It isn’t quite the creole cuisine you southerners have become accustomed to but if you use enough pepper,it’s ALMOST like Sriracha. (I’m just kidding Sriracha, you know I love you.) Using only half, this dinner dishcost
$3.67 divided by 2 
)Day 6 total:
$0.38 + $1.05 + $1.84 = $3.27 $7.24 – $3.27 
$3.98 left for DAY 7DAY SEVENBreakfast
involved, guess what? A WAFFLE. (
) Luckily I love them.
Leftover faux Red beans & Rice for
My favorite thing ever. 1 Taco Bell bean burrito. Not the healthiest. But an end ofthe week, Friday night treat. Sales tax aside, this little baby with no cheese and done up the Fresco waycost a lovely
Day 7 total:
$0.38 + $1.84 + $0.89 = $3.11$3.98 – $3.11 = 
to spare at the end of Day 7
. You know what this will buy me? Adelicious COLT 45. (Well, with the help of a little spare change.)A lesson to be learned. Plan ahead. Only buy what you need. And save up for a wonderful Friday treat. —————————-My food items
:2 cans of black beans (
estimated $1.75/can 
)1 can re-fried beans
Tomatoes (
A bunch of 4 is $4.00, so one is $1.00 
)Head of lettuce (
From farmer’s market for $0.75 
)Package of pasta (
3 packages for $3.00 
)Package of vegan waffles (
$3.00 for package of 8 
)Tortilla chips
Onions (
)Potatoes (
$2.00/ bag–$0.20 for one 8 oz potato 
)Frozen spinach (
)Brown rice, precooked (
$0.16 for 1/2 cup 
)Bread, whole grain (
$1.79/loaf or 12 slices 
)Banana (
$0.20 per banana at the farmer’s market)

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