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Running head: THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER

Thrifty Food Plan Reflection Paper


Brittany Biggs
Fontbonne University

THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER

A Reflection on the Thrifty Food Plan


The thrifty food plan assignment was really beneficial because hunger and food
insecurity is very prevalent in the greater St. Louis area. Those affected by hunger and food
insecurity typically have to follow a strict budget, however they still need to meet nutritional
needs in order to intake an adequate diet. Whether experiencing food insecurity or not, most
people practice budgeting at some points in their lives. While completing this project, our group
experienced many obstacles.
Budget
Surprisingly enough, our group did not have much troubles staying in budget. With a
budget of $150.10 based on the average cost of food for a four-member family, we were within
budget at Aldi and slightly over at Schnucks. At Schnucks our total was $155.53, however if we
removed ice cream and cupcakes our total would be at $147.92 for the week. These two items
were added to serve as treats three nights of the week and not a necessary component of the
weekly diet.
Nutrition
Overall the nutritional needs for the family were not too far off from what is
recommended. Penny and Lily, the two children, were both over on their calorie intakes. Due to
their ages, they both have lower calorie needs and therefore need smaller portion sizes. This is
one aspect we did not consider during meal planning that could hugely impact the childrens
health. Looking back, it is not realistic to have children consuming the portions of their parents.
Due to the amount of processed and canned foods we had to use to stay within our budget, all of
the family members were over on their sodium intake. We tried to incorporate as many fresh
fruits and vegetables as possible, however sodium was not possible to get within normal limits

THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER

given our budget. Sarah was under on her iron consumption by 1 mg due to her iron needs being
higher than the rest of the family; women of childbearing age have an increased need of iron
(Brown, 2014, p. 119). Gunner was slightly under on his calorie, fiber and vitamin C intake due
to his needs being higher than the rest of his family. Lily Griffin was over on her vitamin A and
under on her fiber intake. The protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat, and calcium intakes
were within normal levels for all members of the family. Had we considered proper portions
sizes for certain age groups, many of the other nutrients would have been within normal levels as
well.
Aesthetics
Within the group, I was in charge of planning the meals for Saturday and Sunday. For
me, my highest obstacle while trying to make an aesthetically pleasing meal was being able to
incorporate different textures and colors within each meal. After my first draft, I noticed that all
of my meals were softer foods such as sloppy joes, peas, and an egg salad sandwich. I realized I
needed to add foods with more of a crunchy texture, however most crunchy foods that come to
my mind are costlynuts for example. To modify this problem, I incorporated apples and
carrots to each meal to add some variety. Also after my first draft I noticed that one of my meals
consisted of primarily yellow foodsmacaroni and cheese, corn, and a banana. I had to change
some menu items around in order to incorporate a variety of colors into each meal.
Final Cost
After completing the costing at both Aldi and Schnucks, there was a huge difference. At
Aldi, our total for the week was $103.35, 67% of our allotted budget. At Schnucks our total was
$155.53, 104% of our allotted weekly budget. Comparing these two prices, Schnucks was
$52.18 more expensive then Aldi, a 40% difference. At Schnucks, the average cost of the family

THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER

per day as $22.22 while at Aldi, the average was $14.76a difference of $7.46 a day. Though
that may seem minuscule to many people, it can go a long way. That $52.18 could be used as
nearly half of the following weeks budget.
Treats
Though we did not include a treat every day, we did have enough in the budget to allot
treats three nights out of the week. Each family member has a serving of ice cream on Sunday
night and one cupcake on Tuesday and Thursday. Throughout the week, there are many items
such as pudding, animal crackers, popcorn, and trail mix that can also be considered a treat to
many people. These items need to be consumed in moderation in order to achieve an adequate
diet.
Leftovers
Throughout the week we used many entrees as leftovers in order to obtain the most out of
our budget. On Monday, a portion of the crockpot turkey is used for turkey noodle soup on
Thursday. On Tuesday, a portion of the rice used in the chicken stir-fry is reserved to be made
into rice balls for lunch for three family members on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, lunch
will be the remaining chicken-stir fry. Turkey noodle soup is served for dinner on Friday and
utilizes any remaining produce, turkey, and turkey stock not used throughout the week.
Difficulties
While completing the costing portion of the project, the most difficult part for me was
calculating the price used for items that came in different sizes. For example, onions at
Schnucks were sold individually and at Aldi they are sold by the bag in varying amounts. In
order to accurately cost the item, we had to count the number of onions in a specific bag and
divide by that number to obtain the cost per onion. Carrots, green peppers and tomatoes all had a

THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER


similar problem. As a group, we decided that I handle the calculations. Though they were
tedious, I enjoy math and actually found it quite fun!
Experience
This experience was incredibly eye opening, especially after being aware of the impacts
of hunger, food insecurity, and people simply on a budget in the St. Louis area. Being aware of
the drastic cost difference between discount shopping stores and higher end grocery stores can
greatly impact a family. If dealing with someone with budget needs, it will be handy to know
how to assist them in obtaining proper nutrition while adhering to their budget needs. Being
flexible and working with people to make realistic goals for them is an essential part of dietetics
and knowing how to accommodate their budgetary needs is critical.

THRIFTY FOOD PLAN REFLECTION PAPER

References
Brown, J., E. (2014). Nutrition during pregnancy. In J. E. Brown (with J. S. Isaacs, U. B. Krinke,
E. Lechtenberg, M. A. Murtaugh, C. Sharbaugh, P. L. Splett, J., N. H. Wooldridge)
Eds.), Nutrition through the life cycle (5th ed., pp. 87-132). Stamford, CT: Cengage
Learning.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2014). Official USDA food plans: Cost of food at
home at four levels, U.S. average, July 2014. Retrieved from
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_food_plans_cost_of_food/CostofFoodJ
ul2014.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Super tracker. [web page]. Retrieved from
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html