Brown Bag Challenge: Day 1 by Michelle Buffardi in Brown Bag Challenge, September 1, 2011
We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.
Confession: I bought lunch yesterday just because I could. I walked over to Taim, my favorite falafel place in the whole city, and I bought a falafel for lunch. I have no idea how much fat or calories the sandwich contained, but the sandwich was large so was likely not very diet-friendly. I justified the splurge because I’d been to the gym that morning, and because it was the last day I could eat a restaurant lunch before the Brown-Bag Challenge. This splurge cost me $8.
Today’s lunch is smarter in so many ways. When I was searching for recipes, I was looking for something healthy to make with potatoes, because I have a whole bunch from my CSA that I wanted to use up. I found this recipe for Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas from Food Network Magazine; it’s from a story they did last year on using leftover crunchy onions — those things that go on top of green bean casserole. It looked quick and easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, and Toby, one of our resident dieticians, confirmed that it meets our Healthy Eats nutritional guidelines; it has 290 calories per serving and 15 grams of total fat (saturated fat = 7 grams).
I had potatoes, spices, limes and jalapenos at home, so I bought the following at the store:
Chickpeas: $1.79 (I bought the 29-ounce can even though the recipe calls for 15 ounces. It was a better value, and I’ll use the leftovers to make hummus)
Fried onions: $2.89
Greek yogurt: $1.25
My grocery store total was $7.92. I spent nearly the same amount on all the ingredients for an entire recipe as I did on one lunch. And since the recipe makes 6 servings, that comes to $1.32 per serving. Less than two dollars per serving. Makes my $8 falafel seem pretty frivolous.