30-Day SNAP Challenge: How many ways can you skin a cat?

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- I'm only 10 days into my 30-day food stamp challenge and I am exhausted.

Two weeks ago, I went to the grocery store with a list and a plan. I was so excited! I had a meal planned for each of the 14 days and I was certain eating healthy on a budget would be easy. And, it is!

But, there's one small problem: I forgot how much I hate leftovers.

I initially planned to buy chicken breasts, ground turkey and frozen tilapia. But, when I got to the register, I realized I couldn't afford all three. Since I'm not a huge fan of chicken and it was the most expensive, I ditched it without a second thought -- only to realize a week later that chicken accounted for half of the meals on my meal plan.

So, I ended up rotating the few meals that included ground turkey and tilapia.

Here's what I came up with:

  • Bell peppers stuffed with ground turkey and brown rice.
  • Turkey Chili
  • Baked Tilapia with brown rice and broccoli
  • Baked Ziti with whole wheat pasta and low-fat cheese

With the exception of breakfast and snacks, I ate one of these four meals for both lunch and dinner every day. Don't get me wrong, the meals were delicious. What became annoying was the repetition and cooking ahead.

Because of my work schedule, I ended up having to cook meals early in the morning, or late at night for the next day.

It didn't take me long to realize: ground turkey is just that. You can sauce it, season it or patty it up, but at the end of the day, it's still turkey. {}

(Did I mention I bought a loaf of whole grain bread with the intention to make sandwiches for lunch? I ended up throwing it out because it went bad before I could use it all.)

I type all of this to teach this life-long lesson: Healthy eating on a budget calls for creativity. Clearly I'm not as creative as I thought.

P.S. If you have any ground turkey ideas, give me a ring.