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MyPlate on My Budget, The Basics

Can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the Choose MyPlate advised daily nutrients? That’s the question I’m asking this March with MyPlate on My Budget.

Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings is providing support, guidance and yummy recipes.

Coming back from vacation in the middle of Week #3 of my experiment means my food budget is shot.  So I decided to recoup by allotting myself $42 for four days of groceries.  (That was the money left in my wallet.)

By the time I made my second lap around the grocery store, I knew I had to be careful.

Here’s what I bought:

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 tub plain yogurt
  • 1 package string cheese
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1 dozen, cage-free eggs
  • Fair Trade, organic coffee (my splurge)
  • bread
  • bananas
  • organic apples
  • frozen spinach
  • frozen broccoli
  • chocolate chips

I’ve already got meat and fish in my freezer, carrots in the fridge, and potatoes in the garage.  So I think I’ll be able to keep up with the Choose MyPlate requirements.

But I had to make some tough choices.

I started out with a three lb. bag of oranges in my cart.  I traded them for the bananas.  That allowed me to buy the frozen spinach.  Not buying gluten-free bread (for myself) meant that I was able to afford the frozen broccoli and chocolate chips.  Now I’ve got veggies for dinner, plus I can make cookies for the kids.  That will keep them happy since there’s basically no desserts in the house.

When I got to the checkout stand I had a revelation.

Cashiers are awesome.

Because you know what? I bet they can totally tell what moms are doing.  I bet they know when you have to put back oranges and buy bananas instead.  I bet the cashier looked at my cart and knew that I was really making some tough choices.

I  usually live on the other side of that.  But it doesn’t matter if I’ve got a $200 cart stocked with organics, or a $40 cart supplying the basics, the cashiers always treat me well either way.

Of course, I have no idea how they treat you if you are paying with an EBT card…

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