Part 1: Planning

Before you begin the experience, reflect on how do you think it might feel (physically, emotionally, and mentally) to be food insecure?

Being food insecure will definitely talk a toll on me.  Physically, I know I will be more tired and weaker than usual, especially after doing activities like snowboarding and basketball. Emotionally, I’m sure I will miss the foods I usually buy, and will probably become cranky at any given moment.  I’m not sure how this will affect my mental abilities; maybe I will become smarter or dumber, I don’t know.  I know at some points this will be difficult because I do have other food at my house, and I work at a pizza restaurant, but hopefully I will succeed.

Before you go shopping, what kinds of foods do you think you will buy with your $15?

-Rice and beans, because they are a staple food for so many people around the world.

Im deciding upon…

-Soy milk

-Vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, greens, carrots

-Fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges


-Ramen noodles

-Tuna fish

-Sunflower seeds



     – This is what I bought         


 Part 2: Purchasing

Describe your shopping experience. Where did you shop, what did you buy, and how much did each item cost?


            The shopping experience was fun and interesting.  It took me more time weighting the food and doing the math to buy $15 worth of food than it did buying $50 worth of food.  I had a list of all the items I wanted to buy, made some changes while shopping.  I bought a ½ gallon of soymilk, a loaf of whole wheat bread, 4 packages of ramen, a 12 pack of eggs, some butter, 5 yams, 2lbs of black beans, and about 2 lbs of brown rice.  I shopped at Town and Country.


What strategies did you use to maximize your allotted money?


            I knew that purchasing the rice and bean in bulk would be most cost effective.  I did a little research before shopping, as to which foods would provide the most nutrients.  Other than that, I was looking for the cheapest foods possible.

Part 3: The Experience


Day 1 3/13/12

Breakfast: 1 cup soy milk, 1 piece of toast, 2 fried eggs (cooked in butter), 1teaspoon butter

Lunch: Pack of ramen, 1 cup soy milk, 1/4th cup dried beans, 1 piece of bread

Dinner: ½ cup dried rice, ¼ cup dried beans, 1 piece of bread with butter, 1 yam

How I felt- Today was not that difficult, I wasn’t very hungry throughout the day except at night before bed.

Observations and insights.  With the rice and beans, I cooked half of what I bought and set in Tupperware for easy access.  My meals are not very colorful and look boring, but seem to be filling. I wish I had some salt, pepper and ketchup.

Nutrient Average amount % of recommended daily value
Calories 2637 86%
Fat 38 g 59%
Protein 72g 130%
Fiber 41g 110%
Vit. A 351ug 39%
Vit. C 14mg 16.6%
Vit E 9.75mg 65%
Calcium 940 mg 94%
Iron 7.12 mg 89%
Zink 7.59 mg 69%
Folate 632 ug 158%

Day 2 3/14/12

Breakfast- 1 cup of soy milk and 2 pieces of toast

Skipped lunch- snowboarding

Dinner- 1 boiled yam, ½ cup rice, ¼ cup dried beans, 1 fried egg (cooked in butter), 1 piece of bread and butter.

How I felt- I was in a rush in the morning because I went snowboarding.  I started to get hungry at the mountain around noon, and was starving by the time I got home around 4.  I wanted to eat more food, so I distracted myself by watching a movie.

Insights- Drink lots of water.

Day 3 3/15/12


Breakfast- 1 fried egg (cooked with butter), 2 pieces of toast, 1 cup soymilk.

Late lunch: 1 pack ramen, 1 fried egg (in butter), 1 boiled yam, ¼ cup dried beans, 1 teaspoon butter,

Late dinner: ½ cup dried rice, 1/2 teaspoon butter, 2 pieces of toast with 1/2 teaspoon butter, 1 cup soy milk.

How I felt.  Again today I went snowboarding, but left the mountain at around 1 to run some errands. Today I tried switching it up and eating a bigger lunch than dinner, which seemed to help.  I was hungry throughout the night, and drank a lot of water. I feel more tired than usual, but mentally and physically I feel fine.

Observations-  Again, my meals are very plane, the butter helps butter I cannot wait to eat something with seasoning. Tomorrow I’m going fishing.

Day 4 3/16/12


Breakfast- 1 cup soy milk, 2 fried eggs (butter), 2 pieces of toast with 1 teaspoon of butter.

Snack- 2 pieces of bread

Lunch- 1 pack ramen

Dinner- 1 trout that I caught baked with butter.  1/4 cup dried rice, ¼ cup dried beans, 1 piece of toast with 1 teaspoon butter, 1 boiled yam

How I felt- I was very hungry this morning, so I ate a filling fried egg sandwich, pack some bread for a snack and went fishing. I actually felt as like a true hunter and gatherer. I caught a few trout, but only kept two, I figured I would have one today, and one tomorrow.  The fish was a nice change of taste, and went well with my rice and beans. My dinner filled me up, but some lemon with my fish was missing.  I’m getting sick of ramen but so far oriental is still my favorite flavor.

Day 5 3/17/12


Breakfast- 2 fried eggs in butter, 2 pieces of toast, 1 cup soymilk

Lunch- 1 pack of ramen, 1 fried egg in butter, ¼ cup beans

Dinner- 2 pieces of toast with 1 tsp butter, ½ cup beans, ¼ cup rice, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 baked trout with 1 tsp butter, 1 baked yam, and 1 cup soymilk.

How I felt- I was very tired from snowboarding today, even though I only rode for about 4 hours. I ate my lunch and ended up taking a nap.  I woke up at around 8 and cooked a big dinner with the rest of my food.  I ended up not using all my eggs and bread, but I won’t be touching those for a while. The trout I caught really saved me by adding something different to my plate.

Insights- I’m going out to eat tomorrow morning at the western café. And then I’m going to make a corned beef with cabbage. This was a eye opening project, and taught me a lot.  I will be more cautious of overspending at the grocery store.

Part 4 Analysis

Considering nutrients, food groups and other important food components, how well did you meet your nutrition needs?

I was low on Vitamins E, C, and K and Folate, but other than that, I was fine.

How could your diet have been improved (within your budget)?

I was lacking in vitamins so I could have substituted the yams for other fruits and vegetables.  Oranges, carrorts and apples could have been an option.  Also, if this was summer time, I could have picked vegetables from my garden.

What did you eat that you normally do not eat?

I do not normally eat yams, or black beans on a regular basis. I eat ramen from time to time, but not day to day. Other than that I usually eat the other foods.

What foods do you normally eat that you have avoided?

I usually use spices while I cook, but they are expensive. I usually eat more fruits and vegetables.  I also usually cook pasta once a week. Of cource I eat more meat than I did for this project, but usually its venison I hunted.  Plus I love beer.

Did you have any difficulty complying with the conditions of the assignment?

At times it was tough, especially when my girlfriend cooked a meal, and I couldn’t eat her left overs.  Also it was tough while working at a pizza shop and not being able to eat.

Could you continue to live on $3/day?  How would doing so change your life?

I feel like I could live on $3/day if I needed to.  But I’m going to choose not to.  If I did continue to eat like this, I would have to be more aware of the nutritional facts of food, and I would probably loose a lot of weight.


During the five days of the experience visit the county assistance office or other resource and obtain an application for food stamps.  Examine and complete the application. Describe this experience.  How difficult was it to obtain an application?  How difficult was it to complete the application?  Consider how the experience might have been different if you had poor reading or writing skills?

Getting the SNAP application was easy, they have them stacked in a pile in the waiting room at the county assistance office.  Filling out the application was simple as well, although there were some interesting questions in the back regarding previous SNAP recipients trading food for drugs, guns and ammo.  The application would have been harder to finish if I lacked reading and writing skills, but someone would be able to help you fill it out.

What are your overall conclusions about this experience? Describe what you learned, your observations and insights.

I really enjoyed this project, probably one of the most interesting assignments I have had in college. I learned that I take a lot of food for granted, such as salt, condiments, and even fruits and vegetables.  This project has changed the way I shop and eat, and I think everyone should try eating off 3 dollars a day.

What are the important things you learned during this experience that would benefit you as a food and nutrition professional?

After finishing this project, I feel that people with low income need nutritional assistance if they are going to try and fill their daily nutrient requirements.  A nutrition professional would find this project informative because it shows that most people with low income are lacking essential nutrients, and one could find tips on how to eat healthy and save money.


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