I have come to the conclusion that it might be possible to maintain a healthy diet on the food stamp budget IF and only IF you have the tools and the resources to back it up. I think that, if one learned how to prepare more lentil and bean dishes, they'd have a better shot at staying healthy and staying on budget.
We have gone $25 over budget thus far and it looks like we'll have to go shopping soon!
If I had to shop again, I'd buy more fruits and veggies and bulk lentils/beans and less processed foods. I'd get oatmeal instead of Chex and ditch the yogurt covered raisins and applesauce (and make my own!)
In addition, I would buy a waffle maker, make my own waffles, make my own bread and create dishes from scratch - instead of buying gluten free items from Dierberg's (a weekly ritual of mine.) They would be healthier AND cheaper.
I've actually been inspired to do all of the above. I don't think it is possible to live on a food stamp budget. However, I think that it is possible to spend less and eat more healthfully. If you focus on eating whole foods (not necessarily from Whole Foods!), you can cut down on your expenditures and improve your health.
Ironically, I gained weight this week. (Which, for me, is FABULOUS - I am in remission from Multiple Myeloma and have needed to gain more weight for a few months now.) It looks like lentils and beans provide the body with healthy weight gaining calories. Gotta love that. I'm glad that we participated in this project. I learned a lot by doing it.