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Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

MyPlate on My Budget, nearing the finish line

  • You can't afford accidents when you're counting every penny.

    Photo by Jennifer Bardsley

    You can't afford accidents when you're counting every penny.

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.

It's Week 4 now and I'm counting the days until this experiment is over. My fridge is empty, I've got a cold, and all of the chocolate is gone from the house.

Everyone is getting kind of cranky.

Normally, if one of my kids spills some milk or I accidentally burn some bagels I don't freak out. If the coffee filter gets messed up and the coffee tastes like sludge, I don't usually start ranting and raving like a total lunatic.

But what I've learned this past month is that when a family's food budget is so tight that you are literally counting every quarter, then life's little food accidents become bigger problems.

Burning toast might mean there's nothing for lunch…Spilling the last bit of milk might mean that the kids eat bagels, but mom can't eat her gluten-free cornflakes that she was really counting on…

Families with generous food budgets aren't necessarily dealing with any of those stressors.

Then there's the issue of my almost empty pantry. The only snack food left is popcorn and the last few apples that we are rationing.

So can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan? Yes. Is anyone in my family very happy about it? No.

I'll be sharing some final thoughts about this experiment in my column on April 7th.

In the meantime, Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings and Light for Life is hosting a free breakfast for a month giveaway. Be sure to check it out!

Story tags » Food

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