On Wednesday evening Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he is growing concerned about running out of food before his food stamps challenge is over. The mayor is now on day three of a seven day challenge to see if he can survive on a food stamp budget of about $30 a week, roughly the same amount provided to people in New Jersey who take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Booker, 43, says he regrets not thinking through his food purchases before going to the grocery story. As a result, the 6’3 200+ pounds mayor has been forced to have peas and corn for lunch. (My analysis found he’s not even getting a third of the USDA daily recommended caloric intake, we’ll come back to this.)
“The second day on the #SNAPChallenge, I ate salad for breakfast, a can of peas and corn mixed together for lunch, and cauliflower, broccoli and a sweat potato for dinner,” the mayor wrote on his blog.
“I am regretting not thinking through some of my food choices for the week. In hindsight, investing more of my SNAP budget in eggs, and perhaps some coffee might have helped me later in the week. I am growing concerned about running out of food before this is over - especially as I try to resist the urge now to have another sweet potato before I go to bed tonight.”
Booker went on to point out he’s physically struggled with the challenge also.
“The constrained food options I have for this one short week highlight for me (with the hunger pains I felt today between small meals) what many hardworking families have to deal with week after week.”
Booker is probably experiencing the ‘hunger pains’ because he is seriously under the USDA suggested daily caloric intake for someone with his stats.
A 43-year-old male that is 6’3 and 230 pounds should be having at least 3,612 calories a day to maintain his current weight, according to the USDA. (I estimated 230 pounds because that’s what Booker says his goal weight is.)
Using information compiled from Booker’s #SNAPChallenge blog and pictures he uploaded to Instagram I estimate he’s having less than 1,000 calories a day—that’s less than a third of what the USDA recommends for a man his age and size.
Take a look at the charts below:
Booker doesn’t have too many options at this point. Because some people don’t have social safety nets, the guidelines of the SNAPChallenge don’t permit Booker to accept food from family or friends.
“If I could go back and do it over again, I definitely would have gotten a dozen eggs and I would have clipped coupons,” Booker told NJ.com on Tuesday.