As you know I’m dedicating this week at Canadian Budget Binder to The Welfare Food Challenge. This week I will be Blogging about the steps I had to take to purchase food for a week on a budget of $26 dollars for one person. When Raise The Rates launched this challenge I thought this was a great opportunity to understand a bit of what those on social assistance have to go through when it comes to nutrition and the budget. This challenge is to experience what it’s like to live on a grocery budget of $26 a week that of an able-bodied person who receives welfare. This challenge has motivated over 100 people to come forward wanting to participate and has gained wide media coverage.
Social Assistance in BC also known as Welfare allows approved recipients $610 a month to live on. Although I don’t live in BC what I do know is that many people right here in Ontario are in need of temporary assistance and apply for Ontario Works each year. A similar challenge called the “Do the Math“ challenge took place in Ontario back in 2010.
I know a couple of my fans on Facebook page were asking where the money was going to come from for laundry and personal hygiene yesterday. I was under the impression there was nothing budgeted in the $610 until I read the media release for the Welfare Food Challenge dated Oct 16,2012. In the release there is a chart with a breakdown of where a welfare recipient would potentially spend their money each month in British Columbia.
The BC government provides $610 a month in welfare to an able-bodied single person who has to prove they are looking for work.
|Rent (Realistic cost of an SRO)||425||185|
|Book of 10 bus tickets (Need to look for work)||21||144|
|Cheap Cell phone (Need to look for work)||25||119|
|Personal hygiene, laundry, etc||10||109|
|Left for food||109|
$109/m * 12 months = $1308 a year
$1308/a year / 365 days = $3.58 a day
$3.58 a day * 7 days = $25.09, rounded up to $26
No money for clothes, a coffee, haircuts, or any social life or treats.
Yesterday I posted The Grocery Game Challenge where you were able to see my Grocery Shopping List for the Welfare Food Challenge. Today I share with you pictures and a recipe for the menu I created of what I ate yesterday along with my thoughts. My recipes changed from the original menu plan and post yesterday but not by much. Everything can change once you start cooking but for me it was mostly flavour changes and I went from a lettuce salad to the carrot salad with beet.
The time to make this menu was around 1.5 -2 hours which was a bit for me but I had lots of prep work to do. When you cook from scratch you will spend more time in the kitchen but ultimately you can make things that you don’t need to buy as a convenience food such as a jar of mayonnaise for approximately $5.99. ( I admit I love Mayo)
First Day of Eating In The Welfare Food Challenge
- 1 x Piece of Dry Toast (I was tempted to drizzle olive oil on top)
- 1x Cup of Tea with Milk
- 1 small bowl of Bran Flakes and about 3/4 of milk
- 2 large glasses of water
(By the time lunch came around I was starving)
- 2x Pieces of Bread
- 1x Hard Boiled Egg Sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large glasses of water
- Drizzle of olive oil in place of butter, mayonnaise or margarine
(By the time Dinner came around I was seriously tempted to eat while I was cooking. I also went for a long walk instead of a run which I will likely do through the challenge)
- Carrot and Beet Salad with lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 carrot shredded, 1 beet boiled and sliced
- 2 cups of dry rice, rinsed then put in the rice cooker with 2 cups of water to cook, then cooled and fried with 1/2 onion minced and sautéed until golden-yellow, 6 cloves of garlic sautéed, grated lemon rind for colour and flavour, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons (I have lots of fried rice left for a second meal)
- 2 x Mr.CBB’s Black Bean Basa Fish Burgers topped with homemade Mayonnaise. I actually made 5 burgers and put them in the freezer 2 for tonight’s dinner and 1 left for a lunch on Thursday. The mayonnaise was a simple 1 egg yolk, squeeze of lemon,salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, then stir vigorously until thickened then refrigerate. The extra egg white I then added to my egg which I used in my Black Bean Basa Burgers. The night before I left out 2 pieces of bread so they could dry out then I pulsed them in the food processor (you could easily put them in a bag and mash them about if you didn’t have one) to make bread crumbs.
- I also managed a couple more large glasses of water
Here is Mr.CBB’s Black Bean Basa Fish Burger Recipe
Ingredients: Yield 5 thick patties
- 1.5 cups dry black beans soaked overnight then boiled until tender, then chill
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg + 1 egg white left over from making the mayonnaise
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 piece of Basa fish seasoned with pepper, salt and grated lemon rind
- In a mixing bowl add your chilled black beans, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher or with a fork or back of a spoon
- Cut your Basa fish up into tiny bits or mince it then add it in and mix
- Add in all the rest of the ingredients and mix
- Form patties with your hands
- Sit them on a dish and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes (note: I did use wax paper which now that I think of it I wouldn’t have had unless I used the lining of the cereal bag in my cereal box which would double over for wax paper if you have none) So that was an oops.
- Fry the patties (I made 2) in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until browned and golden on each side.
- Sit the Black Bean Basa Burgers on top of your Fried Rice then top your burgers with your homemade mayonnaise or mix it into your rice for more flavour like I did.
I was quite impressed with this meal and honestly I was so full I likely could have done with 1 burger and less rice. I think I was so hungry from not eating enough during the day that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Typically I eat about 6 small meals per day so this has thrown my body out of rhythm. The beets were perfect and sweet and I’m glad I picked up that 5 lb bag for $1.00 (wow).
It was the first time I had used beets so I will look for other recipes like a chilled beet soup (cold borscht) recommended by one of my fans. The carrot salad was not something I set out to make but I thought I had so many carrots why not and essentially I only anticipated making salad from my iceberg lettuce so this was a great switch up. After dinner I enjoyed a cup of hot black tea with milk.
So there you have yesterday’s meal and likely today (Wednesday Oct 17 Th) I will finish up the rice and Black Bean Burgers topped with mayonnaise. I will also have an egg sandwich for lunch topped with some mayonnaise for flavour as the first one was ok drizzled with olive oil but not the same as with the mayonnaise. I’m from the UK and we use salad cream alot and I love mayonnaise.
I will prepare a garden salad with onion, grated carrot,garlic, lime, extra virgin olive oil,salt and pepper and a beet. So although I was very hungry during the day and full at dinner I made to think of a plan to get more food in during the day as it’s simply not enough fuel for my day as a growing active adult male. I’m hoping I don’t run out of food.
What did you think of these meals?
What are your suggestions for me to get more food during the day?
What other meals can you come up with after reading my grocery shopping list?
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Photo Credit: Raise the Rates – Take the Welfare Food Challenge
- Welfare food challenge: Constance Barnes will try to live on $26 in food money for a week (theprovince.com)
- Dozens of British Columbians step up for the Welfare Food Challenge (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Try the ‘welfare Diet,’ Group Challenges Politicians, Residents (theepochtimes.com)