What is the SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) Challenge?
This challenge is open to all individuals and involves living on what would be the weekly SNAP (food stamps) allowance in Washington for an entire week, so you can get a sense of what it would be like to subsist on SNAP. This means spending only $3.25 per day, per person, on everything that you eat, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, seasonings and drinks.
How the challenge works:
- It will last for seven straight days.
- Spend no more than $3.25 per person per day, including beverages.
- Only buy and eat/drink items that are allowed to be purchased with SNAP.
- Don’t use food already on hand unless you deduct the value from your daily amount. Salt and pepper do not count against the daily cost allowance, but all other seasoning, cooking oils, condiments, snacks and drinks do.
- Try to include fresh produce and a healthy protein each day.
- Don’t accept food from family, friends, co-workers and others. Avoid free food anywhere.
- No outside food or dining out is permitted since you cannot use SNAP benefits on hot meals.
- You many need to cut coupons or search grocery paper ads on days that items are discounted.
- Keep a log of what was bought and eaten for each meal, as well as grocery receipts.
- Keep a daily journal of the experience. Did you feel deprived or restricted? Did you eat differently than usual? Were you hungry?
What you can purchase with SNAP benefits:
- Produce and canned goods
- Meat and dairy products
- Dried goods, beans and rice
- Breads and cereals
- Baby food and infant formula
- Soda, chips and candy
- Coffee and tea
- Seeds (whether for eating or planting)
What is not allowed through SNAP:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Hot food or any food that you eat in-store
- Medicine and vitamins
- Non-edible household items like paper towels, toilet paper and soap