There's no getting around it. If you want to eat cheap and healthy food, peanut butter is a natural choice. I know some people can't stand the stuff, but I rather like it. What I don't really like are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This year during the Hunger Challenge I didn't buy any jam, but I did splurge on some bananas at about 30¢ a piece. Because they are large, I only needed a half a banana to make this sandwich. I like it open face, but you could easily slap another piece of bread on it.
The good thing about eating something like this is that it's tasty, filling and nutritious, but also well under budget, allowing more money for other meals. But this like almost all my meals is starchy and while it might satiate my hunger it doesn't give me as much energy as I would like. Living on a limited budget is all about making choices. It's not terrible, but left to my own devices I might choose this sandwich no more than once a year.
Last year I took the Hunger Challenge a week before the official dates. This year I shopped for the Challenge, cooked for the Challenge but my schedule made participating for one full week really hard. Because my career involves food--especially developing recipes and writing about food, there were just too many events that got in the way. Within the space of two short weeks in addition to my regular workload, I had dinner with several clients and colleagues, I worked on seven recipes for two corporate clients, got ready for a food blog conference, made two guest appearances at writing classes, celebrated the Jewish New Year, and judged a national cook-off (more about that later). I'm not trying to make excuses, but I do realize that if I was on limited budget I would not have been able to do all those work related but fun food oriented things.
Don't get me wrong, I ate plenty of Hunger Challenge meals these past two weeks, I just wasn't able to give the Challenge my full attention. But I do hope my experiences and posts helped to raise awareness. Thanks for sticking it out with me during a couple of tough weeks.
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
1 serving, about 34¢
1 slice whole wheat bread, 19¢
1 Tablespoon peanut butter, 10¢
1/2 banana, 15¢
Spread bread with peanut butter, top with thinly sliced banana.