$2-a-serving anti-Wal Mart challenge for charity!

If you watch any TV at all, you’ve probably seen one of Wal Mart’s recent ads that feature a mom bragging about how she can feed her family on food from Wal Mart on less than $2 a serving.  One of the ads is at breakfast time, and the products featured are a sugary yogurt targeted at kids, toaster pastry, and some soy milk (I’m guessing that has added sugar as well).  The other ad takes place at dinnertime and the meal consists of frozen garlic bread, bagged salad, bottled Wal Mart brand salad dressing and what looks like frozen lasagna.

Every time I see these ads I get so riled up because I think to myself “I could easily make a meal for less than $2 a serving using food from the farmers’ market!!”  I decided that instead of getting mad, I would get even, so I’m hosting an anti-Wal Mart protest challenge to all food bloggers to make the point that eating healthy delicious unprocessed food does not have to be expensive or a luxury!

I’m calling all bloggers to participate- now through Dec. 31, do a blog post using the guidelines below, and email me the link at mlle.noelle(at)gmail(dot)com.  Non-bloggers can use Google Docs– just click “save as web page” and it will give you a url that I can use as the link.  Please include a linkback to this post so people know where to go if they want to participate. I’ll update this post regularly with a running list of your contributions.  Please spread the word via your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  The more participation the better!

Unfortunately, there are those who cannot even afford $2.00 for a meal.  So, to make it more interesting, for every qualifying link submitted, I will personally donate $2.00 to Gleaners Food Bank. [Update: I just found out my contribution will be doubled- yay!] Please feel free to do some sort of charity-related incentive of your own on your individual posts, although it is not required.

Here are the guidelines:

  • “$2.00 per serving” means $2 a person for a whole meal, not $2 per individual dish.  A “meal” would preferably have a few components, for example, “chili and cornbread” or, like in the commercial, “lasagna, salad and bread”.
  • No processed ingredients allowed.  Frozen or canned vegetables are allowed, but no boxed mixes, canned soup, jarred sauces or the like.  I’m fine with things like dried pasta, bread from a bakery, etc, as long as there are no trans fats, preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup or other nasties.
  • Try as best you can to estimate the cost of all ingredients used, and provide a per-serving cost for each menu item.  If you make something that will have leftovers, just factor that in; we’re just going for the per-serving cost of each item for a particular meal, when added up, to be under $2. For example, “Lasagna @ $1.10/serving + salad & dressing @ 45¢/serving + bread @ 40¢/serving=<$2 per serving for a meal”
  • Try to stay away from anything too “exotic”, and stick to ingredients and equipment that the average person would have on hand.  The idea is to make the point that “working families” like the one pictured in the commercial can make affordable food without resorting to processed crap!
  • Most people are drawn to processed foods because of the “convenience factor”, so try to make a meal that could be prepared in under an hour and which would not require trips to multiple stores.
  • BONUS LOCAVORE CHALLENGE: Use all or mostly local ingredients.

I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!  Several of my fellow Michigan Lady Food Bloggers have already agreed to participate, and I know they will come up with some great contributions.  The more the merrier, so please spread the word, I’d love to get lots of participation on this, both to make a point and because hey, we can all use a few more budget friendly recipes!

Links:

Less than $2 a serving… take that, Wal Mart! (Crock Pot spaghetti sauce, homemade garlic bread & salad) Kudos to Mother’s Kitchen for being the first to submit!

Local Food Challenge: Crock Pot Collards & Cornbread also from Mother’s Kitchen

$1.00 Local Meal: Sweet Potato and Lentil with Feta courtesy of Chef Brian

Dinner on Less than $2 a Serving (homemade multigrain bread & minestrone soup) from Patti, posting on our MI Lady Food Bloggers blog

The Anti Wal-Mart Challenge (vegan chili & cornbread) from Kate at So Far from Interesting

$2 menus: a “greatest hits” collection a list of several of my under-$2 recipes

U.P.-style Pasties from Mother’s Kitchen

Stir-Fry Beef & Spinach from Mother’s Kitchen

2 meals for $2 or less (pork and beans; mac and cheese) from Lacey at Things I Do to Save Money

Garlic Shrimp Pasta (my own contribution)

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24 responses to “$2-a-serving anti-Wal Mart challenge for charity!

  1. Lady, you ROCK! This is such a great idea! Quick question — per serving, should we be thinking about a meal for a family of 4?

    • I would say that would be a good average but it’s more about cost per serving. So if you made a pot of chili that yielded 8 servings, divide the total cost by 8 to get your per-serving cost, even if you wouldn’t be using all 8 servings at once. Make sense?

  2. I am in! I will make a meal from the Lansing City Market. I might try to do two…one local from the market and the other from Kroger with the weekly coupons. I will be in touch!

  3. I’m excited to take on this challenge. I always think about this as I make a particularly frugal (and yummy) dinner.

  4. Awesome Mlle. Noelle!

  5. You know I am in…here’s my first recipe…the non local version of my crock pot collards and cornbread is $1.85 per serving:

    http://motherskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/11/local-food-challenge-crockpot-collards.html

    Stay tuned for more!

  6. Linda Pfeifer (Noelle's mom)

    This is a GREAT idea, Noelle! I hope you get a big response.

  7. Are you aiming for just dinners, or breakfasts and packable (brown bag type) lunches under $2 as well? Breakfast under $2 is easy (homemade steel cut oats with fruit and milk comes in under .75 a serving, for example). And just to clarify: it’s $2 per adult serving, correct?

    • I was kind of aiming at dinner, since I think that would be more of a challenge. I agree that an under-$2 breakfast is a no-brainer! Even if you make bacon and eggs and toast, it’s probably under $2 per person. And yes, I would say “adult serving”- that’s kind of up to interpretaion of whatever you feel an appropriate portion would be for an adult, I’m not going to mandate the serving size.

  8. Great idea! I am all over this.

  9. Hi – not sure I understood how to submit a meal as a non-blogger, but I hope this works.

  10. Okay, it didn’t work. But I did make a mostly local meal of roasted brussels sprouts, baked squash, baked marinated tofu, brown rice and veggie gravy with applesauce carrot muffins for dessert. I added it all up and my best estimate is about $5.75 for my family of four, or around $1.20 each. And nobody left the table hungry.

    • Hi Sue,

      Sorry you had trouble submitting your link, I’ll still “count” your effort though! 🙂 If you want to try to send it to me, just cut and paste the text into a Google Doc and under the “Save” tab just select “publish as web page”. It will then give you a URL to copy and send.

  11. Oh Noelle, this is wonderful. Good for you! Maybe when the contest is over you can forward to Walmart and challenge them to match your donation.

  12. Here is a local meal I made for $1.00 per person.

    http://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/1-00-local-meal-lentil-and-sweet-potato-with-feta/

    I made my own bread, use some leftover chicken stock and herbs from the garden, which kept costs down.

    Here is a link to other local meals from $2-3 per person.

    http://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/category/3-5-local-meal-challenge/

    CB

  13. I absolutely love the idea of anything Anti Wal-Mart. I just recently started putting together a recipe blog myself (http://culinarycollage.blogspot.com/). I’m also a Michigan blogger, if you’d care to add my site to your list of Michigan Bloggers. In fact, my boyfriend is a Michigan blogger as well and has a political site that he started (http://notesfromtherustbelt.blogspot.com/). He’s also a musician if you happen to be in need of a fantastic bass player and I’m not being partial here……LOL.

    I’ll try to get a recipe posted by the deadline that meets all of your criteria. I’d love to list a local recipe, but I’m not sure what I’ll list this time of year. All summer long I grow a garden and what I can’t get out of the garden I buy from the local farmer’s market.

    Keep up the great work on your site and keep those Anti Wal-Mart challenges coming.

    Terry Ann

    • Hi Terry Ann, thanks for stopping by! I sent you an invitation to join the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. You’re right about the local part being difficult this time of year, but it’s not a requirement to the challenge. In fact I’m not being super strict about any of the criteria, they’re more “guidelines” than “rules”.

  14. I’m over in Idaho but here is my contribution. I shop for a family of three on less than $100 a month. 🙂

    http://thingsidotosavemoney.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/2-meals-for-2-or-less/

  15. I only just now read this post. I wish I had seen it originally. We feed, diaper, and clean a family of eight, soon to be nine, including a flock of chickens and a cat, for around $700 a month. We get almost all of our food locally and/or organic. I would love to submit some recipes and meal plans the next time you do something like this.

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