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My Signature Lunch

by Meghann on July 19, 2012

I think “snack plates” are becoming my signature lunch. I receive a TwitPic every other week of a snack plate meal with the tagline “I’m having a @MealsAndMiles inspired meal for lunch today.” Whenever I get them I can’t help but smile because they always do look like meals I would seriously create on my own. Please, keep them coming!

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Snack plate meals also make great packed lunches. I used to chop all the veggies, place them in mini-reusable containers, and pack my lunch in the evenings, then grab the lunch on my way out the door. If you prefer a crispier cucumber, just section off the cucumber during the prep, then actually slice it at your desk. I always kept a real fork, knife, and spoon at my desk just in case I needed either of them for things like cucumber slicing.

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Today’s #SurviveOn35 total

  • 2 corn tortillas: $0.18 ($1.09 for package)
  • 1/4 cheese block: $0.62 ($2.50 for block)
  • 1/2 cucumber: $0.38 ($0.75 for whole cucumber)
  • cherry tomatoes: $0.30 ($1.50 for pint)
  • carrots: $0.12 ($1.89 for large bag of carrots)
  • hummus: $0.40 ($1.99 for container)   
  • Total: $2.00

I’m actually finding it really interesting to see how much each of my meals are totaling up to. I was never a calorie counter (trying to look up and guess calorie amounts was never fun for me – I always gave up a day into it), but doing the math for meal purchases (instead of calories – not that I’m saying the two are the same, I’m just talking about a math/having something to track sort of sense), and watching the dollar stretch for each meal is interesting. I’m gaining a whole new perspective on the cost of each item per serving, rather than an overall total.

I challenge each of you to add up your next meal and see how much it comes to per serving. Is it what you’re expecting? More? Less?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charlotte Geary July 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

That has become my favorite summer meal! I can’t tell you how much hummus I’ve gone through since it started getting really hot around here. I love to eat it with TJ’s shelled edamame, too.

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2 Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I probably spend a lot on food, but I don’t eat any dairy or grains anymore. Soooo it’s pretty much just meats & fresh produce – Which, as I’m sure you can imagine, has me at the grocery store a lot more often. I’ll try to keep track of what I spend.

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3 Socal Rachel July 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I wish I liked hummus more than I do. I buy it and use it once. Then the rest goes to waste.

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4 molly @ heart, sole & cereal July 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

for some reason, following along with you while you do this is giving me the same joy that watching supermarket sweep used to…in a sort of backwards way. i used to love that show – seeing how much people could “earn” by filling their carts. i play that game in my head all the time when i grocery shop. you’re doing such a great job and it’s awesome to see you can eat healthy meals at such a low cost! plus, it doesn’t even look like these meals are that different than what you would eat normally, just planning it out more!

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5 Annette @FitnessPerks July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

That is interesting to see the cost of your meals!

I eat a lot of beans, lentils, whole wheat bread, cheese, protein powder. So I don’t think that it adds up to too high. I do love Greek yogurt and almond milk -so those are a bit more $. Plus nuts and nut butters…..I bet I could do the 35$/week though. It would be harder without pantry items. Hah

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6 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I adore snack plate lunches – I do them at least a few times a week. I can’t decide what I feel like eating so I have little bits of everything. :-)

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7 Yellow Haired Girl July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I love snack plate meals … one of my fave things! And they just seem to fit into the summertime “feel” so well :)

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8 The Many Thoughts of a Reader July 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

It makes my brain hurt thinking of figuring out cost per meal.

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9 Samantha July 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Can you post what Derek’s meals are totaling too to get a sense of your entire $70 budget?

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10 Meghann July 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Yes, he didn’t have breakfast this morning, but he did have two sandwiches for lunch today and one yesterday (+ carrot sticks) and yogurt for breakfast yesterday. We split the black beans for dinner last night. I’ll add his totals to my post tonight.

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11 JN July 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

So while I find this whole challenge of taking on public policy without any facts whatsoever disappointing, I do applaud you for at least posting the comments that might not agree with you! It at least shows you’re open to reading differing opinions or perhaps, learning. It’s disheartening that others like are not approving comments that aren’t 100% agreeable. http://www.happymotherrunner.com/2012/07/surviveon35/#comment-1883

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12 pluvk July 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Wow, prices sure are different where you live! I spend $3.00 on a small bag of carrots! But we live in an area where a lot of food has to be sent in, so it’s pretty expensive over here. I know my meals would probably more than I expect, so I’m scared to add it up! :-)

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13 Krystle July 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I think your doing a great job with your budget! I often hear people say that they would eat healthy but it cost to much. Your showing that, although it requires quite a bit more time than randon stops at publix and farmers markets and careful planning, it is possible to eat healthy on a budget! I use a website/blog called BudgetBytes before i hit the grocery store. Each recipe is broken down similar to how you are with your budget! It has great idea for the chef on a budget!

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14 Cait's Plate July 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Looks like a pretty dang good lunch to me! I could easily make this my signature :)

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15 BroccoliHut July 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm

One of the projects I had to complete for my masters degree involved designing a few months’ worth of menus that fit within the budget provided by food stamps (aka SNAP). The experience made me really aware of how much things cost, so I try to make my meals just a dollar or two per serving whenever possible.

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16 Sara@RunningInPinkProject July 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

This is really interesting. I would probably go insane trying to keep it all straight to post but I LOVE reading when other people do it. I will tell you, I am wasting a lot less food since I started reading your blog. I get more creative with left overs, freeze things, and try not to be wasteful. :)

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17 Emma July 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I am actually surprised that came out to $2.o0 – I thought it would be less. Still, buying that same thing at starbucks would cost like $6.00!

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18 MegS July 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I will definitely try it sometime! :-D

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19 Elisabeth July 20, 2012 at 2:24 am

It looks like your grocery prices are similar to where I live. That kind of surprises me because I expected a bigger city in Florida to cost more than my area in Ohio. Anyhow, I love seeing the breakdown of pricing! We actually often tally it up mentally during dinner & always mention how much cheaper cooking vs takeout/a restaurant is (+ healthier).

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20 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 9:14 am

I think Florida in general is a decently cheap state to live in. Our grocery prices are pretty average with middle America. I’m also hesitant to call Tampa a big city, it’s spread out, but the population isn’t that much compared to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. You’ll probably experience more of an influx in prices in South Florida.

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21 Elisabeth July 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

Yeah, I guess the population isn’t huge, but it’s about 25 times bigger than the city where I live – ha! ;)

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22 Sara @my less serious life July 20, 2012 at 6:35 am

you snack lunch plates have totally become your signature and have inspired me to make them much more often! i love them. a great way to satisfy multiple cravings too!

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23 Courtney July 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

Yum, that snack plate looks delicious! The same thing would probably cost $6 in the store!

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24 Emily N July 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I always LOVE your snack plates!

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