The littlest things have the biggest impact

riceNbeans
Our good friends at SuperFood Drive made some healthy and inexpensive dishes for this week and missed luxuries like other Challengers such as tea and chocolate. Ruthi makes a great point about eating alone more often, as there isn't enough to share with someone else. Since eating is such a bonding and social event in our society, this is sad that people would have to isolate themselves in the name of self-preservation. 
At a recent board meeting, we discussed meal planning, how to budget shopping for healthy foods, and tips for maintaining freshness, nutrient density and flavor. 3 days in, I am doing well, and I met with a board member this morning who would be making one of our simple, whole grain and bean dishes for she and her husband tonight.
For me, a key has been to make a large amount of whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta) that is enough for dinner night of, lunch the following day, and in certain cases, breakfast the following morning. For example, I made brown rice night one, which was combined with black beans and veggies for dinner and lunch, then I used that brown rice for breakfast the next morning (combine with cinnamon, honey, nuts, banana).
I have attached two pics of meals (one is black beans, brown rice, sweet potato, onion and spinach; the other is whole wheat pasta with finely chopped spinach, spices, pine nuts)...
Where I am struggling is I had totally underestimated the amount of time I spent in coffee shops. I have a lot of meetings out in the community so often, between meetings, I will get work done in a coffee shop. I am a tea drinker, so even without buying fancy coffee drinks, I still average $2/tea. Well, on a CalFresh budget, this is almost half my daily food allotment!! So this week, I have been looking for parks, libraries, and one day, I even parked outside of a Starbucks with my windows down so I could access internet, but not go inside and purchase a tea. I know this is a small 'struggle' yet it is in these daily routines that I am noticing the biggest awareness coming through for me this year. That, and the fact that I don't get my daily dark chocolate square. Again, something small, and one that I readily give up, but a small comfort that I enjoy most days. But dark chocolate didn't make it into my CalFresh shopping list...
So far, the meals are going well. I am not feeling too hungry, although I definitely am aware of when I want an extra serving and I have to do quick calculations to make sure there will be enough for the remaining days/meals. And lastly, I seem to eat alone more. Typically, not only would I share a meal out here and there, but I also love to invite neighbors and friends over for dinner. This week, I don't dare invite anyone else over since I am worried about having enough for the rest of the week.
Thank you for sharing the other participants' stories. It helps to know that around the county, we are all sharing in this 'challenge' together.
I will update later in the week as the cupboards become more empty.
-Submitted by: SuperFood Drive Founder, Ruthie Solari