SNAP Challenge: Balancing a diet on a budget

Well Iâ??m on to week two of the SNAP challenge and as I rolled into the Grocery Store I was feeling confident. This time around I have Hy-vee Dietian Andrea Shelley on my side, and in an effort to make my meals a little healthier, our first stop this shopping trip is the produce department.

â??Typically you're going to find the best buys on things that are in season, which Spring is here finally so we're getting way more fresh fruits and vegetables in, so that's good, but you really want to pay attention to the things that are in the ad and that are in season so you can get the best bang for your buck and if they're in season they're going to taste better. â??

Lucky for me Raspberries were on sale this week, so I grabbed some of those, and they looked great! But Raspberries werenâ??t my only option, Andrea had another great suggestion for getting fruit in my diet at a low cost.

"So I know you said you were always on the go so bananas are excellent for that because you can just take it, peel it, eat it in the car, while you're walking, not a hassle at all, you can also use it with your peanut butter that I know you already have, and bananas are one of those things that we always have a great price on , and you'll find that at most grocery stores, bananas are a very affordable produce option, they're going to be packed with potassium, and lots of other great nutrients as well so.â??

I weighed my bananas and luckily picked out exactly a pound! After updating my total we went from produce to protein and I learned some more great ways to make the most of my budget.

"So one thing that you want to make sure that you do is buy meat in bulk. Typically the more product that you can buy at one time the better. One of the worst things you can do is buy product just because it's cheap and it sits in your refrigerator and spoils, cause if you're just buying for you or two people buying in bulk is going to be too much for you to eat before it goes out dated and you'll be throwing away money, so just take part of it, wrap it in a little freezer paper however you want to do it, throw it in the freezer and it's good for a really long time.â??

Pork chops were on sale this week so I grabbed some of those and that takes care of the main part of my measl for this week and my total was still only $7.42.

So the shopping continued as we added other essentials like milk, eggs, and butter to the cart. I even got a few snack foods to get me through the week.

Andrea also suggested a great vegetarian option that still acts as a complete protein â?? long grain brown rice and beans. And after adding up those prices I was still in pretty good shape, so we got one of my favorite things, potatoes.

"All right so this is actually the Hy-Vee one step potato, we always have a great price on them and the great thing about This is that you're giving back a little bit when you buy these. All the proceeds from these potatoes go towards making community gardens. So a great way to give back and you know, even though you're on a budget, it helps somebody else who may be on a budget so they're great. Potatoes, if you eat the skin of them are going to provide some great nutrients. Fiber which is again going to keep you full, sometimes the potato gets kind of a bad rep because it does have carbohydrates in it, but if you're eating it in portion sizes as a side, or the whole potato as the main part of your meal, then it's a great option, a great healthy option."

Even after the potatoes I was still under budget, and with the leftover money from my last shopping trip I was able to splurge and get my caffeine for the week!

But then it was really time to put my math skills to the testâ?¦.

At checkout I could tell I was able to get even more groceries this time around, and my total only came to $32.57 which is little over the weekly budget, but thatâ??s ok since I was under last week.

So I left the store with a full cart, feeling eager and confident about this next week of the challenge.