Pantry Challenge Morale hit an all-time low around here this past weekend. The fridge–with little more than two apples, a tub of plain yogurt, and margarine inside–was looking more single-gal-about-town than mother-of-two. My husband, growing increasingly hungry and crabby about my little experiment, reported one day that he’d eaten peanut butter toast for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and peanuts for a snack.
And frankly, I’m crabby too–because I’m gaining weight.
Apparently, gaining weight with a nearly-bare refrigerator is possible after all. When I thought it through, it made perfect sense:
- I’m not eating enough fruits and vegetables. With my $25 weekly budget, I can’t afford a variety. We plowed through the canned applesauce, dried fruit, and frozen berries in the first two weeks. I’m discovering how much I dislike frozen vegetables. Since I’m not able to have my usual big green salad and vegetable with dinner, I’m eating larger portions of sides like brown rice. I save the fresh fruit for the kids and snack on my stockpiled stash of cashews and popcorn instead.
- I’m making (and eating) way too many baked goods. We don’t have crackers so I make homemade bread. We’re out of good cereal, so I make muffins and waffles.
- I’m panicking. Because there’s so little food around, I find myself scavenging for whatever I can find without thinking through the caloric implications (exhibit A: my peanut butter-powered sugar balls that, while scrumptious, are not exactly health food).
So with all of this in mind, I blew my budget–purposely this time–and spent $43 this week, mostly on more fruits and vegetables. Our budget crisis is being further deepened by the littlest member of our household, Sam, who has been demanding food in multiples–like three slices of bread with apple butter, three cheese sticks, or two bananas–and then eating all of it.
This week’s menu (the stash is thinning out, hence the double-Mexican, double-pasta nights this week):
Sunday: Whole wheat pasta with jarred sauce…also known as Pasta a la “forgot-that-we-have-to-leave-for-swim-lessons-in-30-minutes”
Monday: Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles and freezer carrots
Wednesday: Light Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday: Potato & Cheese Pierogies, green salads
Friday: Slow-Cooker Sloppy Lentils with whole wheat buns and steamed broccoli
Saturday: Grass-fed beef tacos, red bell pepper slices
Sunday: Spaghetti with homemade sauce from freezer, sauteed Brussels sprouts
If anyone’s still hanging in there with their own Pantry Challenge, give us a report!