Could you feed yourself on $4.50 a day? This week Monica Eng at the Chicago Tribune is documenting her attempt to eat on just $31—the amount given per week to the average food stamp recipient—as part of a challenge for Hunger Action Month organized by Feeding Illinois.
The biggest surprise? She's done most of her shopping at farmers markets and Whole Foods—and still managed to stay within her budget.
Eng's meals have been centered around dried beans, whole grains and vegetables purchased at a local farmers market, where food stamps are worth double value. Meat is minimal, treated more as a garnish than the focus of the plate, except for a boiled beef bone which does double-duty as the flavoring for a beef broth.
"Careful shopping and scratch cooking take time but are my best moneysavers," she writes, and so far it has paid off with meals that look both tasty and satisfying—and cost under $3 a day.
Follow the challenge:
• Eating on $31 a Week: Day One
• Eating on $31 a Week: Day Two
What would you cook with $31 a week? Any tips for food shopping on a budget?