Sarah Carten, Day 1
I have been reflecting about the many competing priorities that someone would face while trying to make food choices on so little money. Taste, health, variety, seasonality, locality, and production method are a few priorities that I have disregarded in order to satisfy my goal of minimizing hunger this week. Within my $26, an additional need is to buy only gluten-free foods, as I’m Celiac. The cost of gluten free flour, breads, pastas, snack foods, and most grains except rice is out of reach of anyone living on income assistance and certainly won’t be part of my meal plan this week.
I’ve settled on buying a large bag of brown rice as my starch for the week, and a large bag of red lentils for my protein. I’ve supplemented these two foods with a bottle of oil, ginger and salt. At this point, these staples will form the basis of my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks every day. I will see if these few ingredients will satisfy my hunger over the first few days; then I will decide whether I can use the remaining $13 towards foods like vegetables that provide nutrients, flavour and variety, but that I have so far shunned in favour of more filling foods.
I’m fortunate that I can go back to eating veggies and a variety of grains and proteins next week to ensure I get the many nutrients I need to stay healthy. I would be incredibly frustrated to have to choose – week after week – between buying healthy foods but living in chronic hunger or buying foods that fill the belly.