Eating exercise: Old Mother Hubbard NOW has food in her cupboard

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Some of you may remember the photo essays from March and early April where we outlined an example hamper for various family sizes that were served by our program in October and November 2009. These essays discussed various aspects such as how our program operates and unusual foods in our waiting area, large donations of food that our program was able to distribute, baby items we are able to provide, and a special diet need to accommodate.

This blog is a twist on the idea of a photo essay. The essays provided an overall glimpse of the types and amounts of food available in a hamper, and a brief story on a family it was given to. However this blog is an eating exercise challenge! Below is a descriptive list of all the food items a single person could have received in a hamper on May 17th.

– One can of vegetable soup
– One loaf of white bread (not sliced)
– Box of instant oatmeal (8 packages)
– Two boxes of macaroni and cheese
– Box of wheat thin crackers (250 grams)
– One cup (100 mL) of yogurt
– One liter of goats milk (your choice of white or chocolate)
– Five pounds of potatoes (approximately 15 potatoes)
– One head of lettuce
– One cob of corn
– Head of broccoli
– Bag of (5) plums
– One can of salmon
– Bag of (5) sausages
– Bag of pretzels
– Single pepperette
– Bag of chocolate chip cookies
– 300 mL orange juice
– Banana pudding mix
– Head of celery

The challenge or “eating exercise” is to take a few minutes to envision that this is all the food you have available at home for the next few days. Think of how you might be able to stretch this hamper out in snacks and meals. Also try to keep in mind all the foods that you may regularly purchase or like to have available at home and are missing; or some of the cooking challenges you may encounter such as not having butter to cook with.

When I did the exercise I envisioned that I’d be able to get three days of snacks and meals from this hamper. However I had to be creative and plan things out carefully. I made a few revisions through planning to help make things last as long as possible. Planning out how to use this hamper is easy for me because I took the time to think about it, which I don’t envision a lot of our patrons may often do. Their lives are full of many other issues that demand their time, energy and attention such as searching for employment opportunities, dealing with medical issues, multiple appointments with caseworkers or other professionals, and many other time-consuming issues. So I can understand that having the time or energy to think about planning out a hamper may not always be feasible. However I feel like if I hadn’t made planning my hamper a priority, I believe I would struggle to find enough snacks and meals to keep me going.

Planning the meal list was easy though – for me the real challenge in this exercise was trying to accept the fact that I would be eating foods that I typically don’t eat or purchase like salmon, plums and broccoli. Though I’m not against eating these foods; I think it would be hard for me to feel satisfied after eating when I didn’t have much of a choice in the foods I had. From there I’d probably feel less motivated and energetic for all the things I need to do throughout the day.  I think this would then make overcoming the reasons that brought me to get a hamper more difficult than I could have ever originally imagined.

How many days of food do you see in this hamper? Leave a comment and let us know!

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