What is the SNAP Challenge? SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Ever year millions of low income individuals and families apply for SNAP. As a college sociology project, my class was given the SNAP Challenge. We recorded what we ate for seven days and then wrote a short reflection. This challenge is being recreated to see if I rise to the occasion. 

What is the SNAP challenge?

Laura Quinting

$36 is the average amount per one-person household that you would receive for a week. SNAP goes monthly though, so it would be $142. The amount allotted depends on the size of the family. To make things as unbiased as I could, I did not use coupons to pay for the food, and bought mostly everything at the same store, which was Aldi.

I tried to stay well rounded between a mix of fresh ingredients and frozen. When buying a large quantity at one time, all fresh produce can be hard to do because it might go bad before you can eat it. 


cheese, croissant
Laura Quinting

Monday, like most, is the day where all the weekend fun is over and work is on your mind. With hectic schedules and internships galore, I don't always have time to cook anything extravagant. For breakfast, I went simple with two clementines and a granola bar. Lunch was a croissant sandwich with macaroni salad and turkey. The sandwich was messy but tasty. Dinner I skipped out on due to being a sloth and sleeping early.


Laura Quinting

I started the day out with more clementines, yogurt, and a granola bar. After realizing I had to go to work and would have no lunch break, I tried to eat enough to hold me over until the shift was done. After the shift was over, I went on an eating spree (not really, but I was starving) and ate one can of chicken noodle soup and more macaroni salad sandwiches. 


meat, pork, salsa, burrito, beef, tacos
Laura Quinting

For breakfast, I hard-boiled three eggs. After realizing how repetitive the sandwiches were becoming, I decided to eat the chicken noodle soup again. Coming back from a semi stressful day at work I found a hidden treasure: I had only spent $34 at Aldi. I discovered Dollar Tree sold a burrito kit, and it had everything you could need for a burrito. There were tortillas, seasoning, and beans and rice. It made for a different yet deliciously spicy experience. 


pastry, gyoza, flour, ravioli, dumpling, dough
Laura Quinting

Breakfast on Thursday was raspberry yogurt, two clementines, and a strawberry apple sauce pouch. For lunch, I ate potato and cheese pierogies and two hot dogs. Dinner time rolls around and I went the lazy route with another can of soup. Knowing how fast fresh fruit goes bad, I made my way to the pint of strawberries. After eating almost the entire container, the repetitiveness of food hits me. As someone who is used to variety, sticking to a schedule of similar foods feels foreign.


sweet, vegetable
Laura Quinting

Breakfast was nonexistent due to timing. For lunch, I went the lazy route again with a can of chicken noodle soup. But instead of clementines I ate mandarin oranges. While the SNAP challenge is proving to be easier than I thought, it is also repetitive. Dinner was light, and I finished off the strawberries and an applesauce pouch.


Laura Quinting

Breakfast was light with mandarin oranges and apple sauce. I cheated a little and attended a free potluck event. As someone who has dealt with trying to budget in a college apartment, going to events for free food wasn't that weird. Looking back, free food was not only a good marketing tactic for events but also a means of "surviving." Dinner was cooked asparagus and hot dogs. 


Laura Quinting

Last day of the SNAP challenge and I cheated again. I ended up eating on-the-go by getting something from a grocery store and ate before I went to work. As someone who is always on the go, this SNAP challenge proved harder than I thought. What I should have done was pack a lunch. For dinner, I cooked the rest of the asparagus and finished off the pierogies. 

Overall, this challenge was eye opening. While I bought a wide variety of things, I did not use my resources to my advantage. The foods bought, were being used in a repetitive way. Which caused me to become bored. In the future, I want to work on incorporating foods in new ways. The SNAP challenge helped me to realize that while money is given for food, how you spend it can drastically change your outlook on eating.