Hunger Challenge: Day 1 Review

by Andie Mitchell on March 21, 2011

peanut butter banana oatmeal

The first full day of the Hunger Challenge has gone to bed and so must I. I ate well, stayed on budget, and feel ready to take on day two of the challenge again tomorrow! Here’s the scoop on all I savored along with a price breakdown of each meal:

peanut butter

Breakfast was peanut butter banana oatmeal, my favorite morning meal.

¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats (.99/lb in the bulk section), cooked in water 0.33
1 Banana 0.25
2 tablespoons peanut butter 0.15
Breakfast Total: $0.73


Mid morning grapefruit: $0.59

peanut lime chicken salad

Chicken and spinach salad with leftover chicken and asparagus that I roasted last night to have for meals throughout the week. See dinner below.
The dressing was a simple Asian-inspired mixture of one and a half tablespoons creamy peanut butter whisked with one tablespoon fresh lime juice and one teaspoon sesame oil. I would have loved to add soy sauce, but it wasn’t in my budget this week. Delicious, nonetheless.

peanut lime chicken salad

And a crisp, sweet apple.


4 cups Baby spinach 0.60
1 carrot 0.10
¼ of a red pepper 0.30
¼ of a cucumber 0.10
1/5th of a whole roasted chicken (breast meat) 1.19
1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter 0.22
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 0.10
1 teaspoon sesame oil 0.05

1 Apple 0.40
Lunch Total: $3.06

**Mid afternoon I had an orange and a whole wheat English muffin toasted with 2 ounces cheddar cheese.
Snack Total: $1.00

roasted chicken

Last night I roasted a 5 lb chicken so that I could use it for meals throughout the week. I chose to make it ahead of time for two reasons: 1. It saves me nearly 2 hours of oven time during the week when I come home from work at 6:30pm, and 2. It means I can portion it out now for each of our planned meals. Surefire way to prepare a whole 4-5 lb chicken: rinse it with cold water, pat it dry with paper towel, place in a wide, shallow baking pan, rub all sides with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, bake for 1 hour 45 minutes at 400 degrees F. Works every time.

roasted chicken

chicken, squash, asparagus dinner

The chicken will stretch to be used for 5 separate meals (white and dark meat included). Tonight, Daniel and I ate our tender chicken breast with mashed butternut squash and brown sugar, a simply prepared organic boxed stuffing mix (that I do not recommend because the taste is beyond bland), and asparagus roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Altogether a hearty, comforting meal. Forgive me for reviving Thanksgiving in March. I never promised to be seasonally appropriate.

chicken, butternut squash, asparagus, stuffing

1 whole roasted chicken 5.95
1 bunch asparagus 1.91
2 lbs butternut squash 3.50
¼ cup brown sugar 0.05
1 package organic stuffing mix .99
1 tablespoon olive oil 0.25
1 tablespoon butter 0.25
Total: $13.35
Makes 5 servings at $2.67 per serving

chocolate chip cookie dough

And because I cannot make it through a week, much less a day, without dessert, I baked almost three dozen dark chocolate chip cookies.

chocolate chip cookie dough

They are gooey, chewy, and soft centered. I love them. No, excuse me, I loooove them. There, that’s better.

chocolate chip cookie

2 cups flour 0.25
2 sticks butter 1.00
1 ½ cups brown sugar 0.40
2 eggs 0.30
baking soda 0.02
salt free
1 bag (2 cups) dark chocolate chips 2.50
Total $4.15
Makes 30 cookies, at $0.14 each

I ate three cookies because I hear scientists say eating warm chocolate chip cookies is a direct flight to happiness. And that dark chocolate stains on your (once) white pajama shirt improve brain function. I never stray from science.

Total for the day: $8.42

I’m happy that I bought all of my groceries yesterday (assuming the $12/day that Daniel and I would be allotted), because knowing we’ve already spent our allowance takes the pressure off of eating below the $7 limit each day. I imagine some days will cost a little less, some a little more, but in the end it will all balance. Or, at least, we hope.

Goodnight all! Stay tuned for Hunger Challenge Day 2 tomorrow!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

thecompletecookbook March 22, 2011 at 12:11 am

WOW – what an amazing amount of food for such a moderate sum of money AND cookies to boot. Well done on a superb first day’s challenge. :-) Mandy


healthifiedhaven March 22, 2011 at 4:51 am

Great job on your challenge. I don’t think I could do that. Do you refrigerate your almond butter? I think it says to put it in the fridge on the jar and it gets too hard to spread, but yours looks so creamy.


Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:21 am

I don’t refrigerate any of my nut butters anymore. I used to, but like you said, they harden too much for my liking. I keep them in the cabinet and then they’re smooth and spreadable always!


Naomi March 22, 2011 at 5:58 am

what an interesting challenge! i’m so intrigued that your total day’s expenditures was only $8.42. this definitely puts things in perspective. i cant wait to read more!

btw – how do you calculate the amounts, for example, of the cookie ingredients?


Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

Thanks Naormi! I calculate it using approximate costs for each item based upon how much I use versus how much the whole item costs (divide the total by the number of servings you use). It’s not exact exact, but it’s pretty accurate :)


Janice Harper March 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

Once again, you inspire! I’m turning into a one-woman ad campaign for rotisseries, but I can’t resist. Last year I splurged on an eighty dollar counter-top rotisserie from that I thought would probably be used two or three times (calculate cost per use), but we’ve ended up using it more often than the toaster. Highly recommended for a fast and easy dinner — chicken prep is about five or ten minutes, cooking time about an hour, and the fat drips away. My daughter loves, loves, loves it — and they’re nothing like the greasy brown rotisseried birds at the store.


Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

Wow, I need a rotisserie!! Sounds like such a great appliance to have, especially since I love those crispy-skinned grocery ones :)


Lisa @ Thrive Style March 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

Looks and sounds like a big success!
I agree about the cookies too—a straight path to bliss :)


Nikki March 22, 2011 at 7:53 am

I cannot tell you how cool I think it is that you are doing this. It’s amazing how healthy you ate on such a small amount of money. I know it’s going to take a lot of planning and calculating for this challange but I’m excited to see what you are going to eat.

Thanks for posting.


Can You Stay for Dinner March 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

Thanks Nikki!!


Beth March 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

Wow Andrea – I am SUPER impressed with how well you ate for so cheap! It’s nice to see that it can be done on a budget. Can’t wait to see the rest of your meals!


MelissaNibbles March 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

You ate very well. I need to find some cookies so I can get on that flight!


Leah @ Why Deprive? March 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

Wow. I cant believe how well you ate for so little money. Awesome job!


sara March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Know what else I love about your doing this? It gives me fresh ideas for meal planning! I’m perpetually feeling bored with my lunches, but I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be stealing all kinds of ideas from you this week :) Thanks missy!


Decor Girl March 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

I like how you break down the entire day. Peanut butter for breakfast and lunch? You are so sneaky, I like how you did that. Though I was sort of expecting peanut butter cookies. :) Great post.


Can You Stay for Dinner March 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

Ha, I was thinking about my peanut butter-centric day and questioned, “will everyone be turned off by the amount of nut butter I’m calling for in a 24 hour period?” Ultimately, the peanut butter won me over. Can’t stay away from the stuff :)


Katie April 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

What an awesome challenge, and with such yummy recipes! Your cookies look to die for, how long do you bake them? These are such great food ideas, generally I eat the same things everyday because I don’t know how to spice up my salads and tuna. Awesome website, thanks for the ideas :)



Wendy May 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

What brand of peanut butter do you use? Thanks!


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