The P100-A-Day Challenge

Last year, I was so broke (3/4th of my salary went to medical bills, 1/8th of went to my research, the rest went to rent and other bills) that I urged myself to undergo a P100/day challenge. By this, I mean, spending only P100/day on food. To be clear, though, I wasn’t thinking of eating healthy during that time. I was only thinking of how I could survive until December.

Short of wallowing in self-pity because the irony of it all was that I was a video game producer. A video game producer, much like a film producer, handles money. A producer decides what to spend money on, vetoes game features that would cause resource drain, decides which talents/people are worth it etc. etc. etc. Basically, a producer has the power to make the development team’s life a living hell (or heaven), depending on how much she has to spend. When it finally dawned on me (d-oh) to apply what I do at work to my personal life, balancing became easier. I created a worksheet on Google Docs and called it my personal Cost-Benefit Analysis.

I honestly didn’t think I could make it because I didn’t know where else to eat in Makati, where I live and work. So I experimented. Again, during that time, it did not occur to me to fix my lifestyle/health first so I wouldn’t have to spend so much on medication.

Anyway, this will be a four-part series. Let’s start with breakfast:

I always start off with a fiber-rich meal. Nestle Fitnesse & Fruit breakfast cereals cost approximately P150 and can last for about 5 days. I pair this off with either soy milk (cheaper) or almond milk (more expensive). I am now using almond milk more because I’m lessening my soy intake. Too much of it can cause some hormonal imbalance.

Anyway, I alternate this with oatmeal.

This is my favorite variant of Quaker’s instant oatmeal. I love the texture of fruits and nuts but I don’t like dried pineapples, which is present in their “Tropical Fruit” variant. Unfortunately, “Fruits and Nuts” has become more and more difficult to find.

Oh and take note, this is my first breakfast. In a way, I am a hobbit: I eat a second breakfast two hours after.

The good news here was that my company served free pandesal for breakfast. I’d eat 5 of those. The bad news is, for you dieters out there, a piece of pandesal is actually equivalent to one cup of rice in terms of calorie content. Meep!

When I left Anino Games to become a part-time university professor for health reasons, I found more time to cook my second breakfast.

There are times when I like perfecting pancake shapes…

I have to admit, my 2nd breakfast choices are not always the healthiest, but I try to balance things out:

Oven-baked bacon with softened brown rice. A simple lettuce salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese for dressing. Warm cup of four fruits/berries tea.

I prefer baking bacon as it helps you separate the oil with less the effort while keeping it crisp. I hate seeing bacon swimming in grease when frying.

And this one is even less healthier, haha! Poached egg on baked bacon over brown rice. Yeeha!

Whenever I gorge on cholesterol for second breakfast, I make up for it by eating more fruits, vegetables and white meat during lunch and dinner. I don’t want to be overzealous about healthy eating but there must always be balance.

Up next: The P100-A-Day Challenge: Lunch.
This will be a longer post (with more pics) because lunch has always been my most challenging meal of the day.


  1. The Reluctant Stylista

    February 1, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Meh. Nahihirapan nga ako sa 200/day eh, but if you can do it maybe I can, too. Bitin naman to, I need to know what you eat for lunch and dinner! :))

  2. forsakinghalfloves

    February 1, 2013 at 1:21 am

    I've read somewhere that it's easier to lose/maintain weight if there's consistency with your meals, particularly breakfast. I've also gone back to cereal for breakfast. Or one or two pieces of wheat bread and a (very) thin layer of cream cheese. But when I spied a jar of blueberry preserves in our pantry a few weeks ago (Christmas gift to my brother), I've been using that, haha. I haven't been using pseudo butter for a while now, so I think that's good. Can't wait to read the rest. 🙂

  3. Mythicman

    February 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Actually, if you stick with traditional home cooked meal for the simple Filipino family, a 100 pesos a day diet is very much achievable. The problem today is, families from the lower income bracket tend to think that instant food such as instant pancit canton saves money… but it actually doesn't. 5 members X P9.00 will amount to 45 pesos and that only contains carbohydrates, sodium and preservatives. And that is IF you can survive on 1 pancit canton per meal.

    However, the fish soup, whether it is diningding or gulay bisaya. Usually contains fish, usually galunggong (or big bellied round scad), malunggay (horse radish), tomatoes, and onions to be paired up with rice will cost slightly less but is a much more complete meal. Same goes for meals like, pinakbet, ginataan, binagoongan, or ginisang ampalaya etc. etc.

  4. skysenshi

    February 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Yep! That was the secret to it. I cooked most of my lunches. Haha!

    Instant pancit canton will cost you your gall bladder. Mas mahal pa gagastusin mo pa-ospital.

  5. skysenshi

    February 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

    That is very true. I'm actually maintaining my weight by making sure I never go hungry. Kasi if I end up gorging because of hunger, I go on acid overdrive and automatically lose 5 lbs and sleep because of the pain.

  6. skysenshi

    February 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Sooon!! In a couple of days. Ayusin ko pa documentation haha!

  7. forsakinghalfloves

    February 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Yeah if I don't eat well during the day I end up stress eating at night and then I feel bloated and sluggish. Not good. Still struggling to remind myself to eat on time and to eat well every day, not just on days when I have yoga class. Minsan kasi pag may deadline we make do with junk because we can't really get up and hunt for good food. Not good. I've stopped buying instant noodles, though.

    Last December, I started writing down what I eat during the day. I haven't gotten around to recording the caloric content or nutritional value of the stuff I've eaten, but just writing them down helps a lot. I thumb through my notes and make changes for the next day or next week, especially when I review that I've consumed a lot of sugar or salt on certain days, which meant I was probably stressing that time. It's a process 🙂

  8. animetric

    February 2, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Oh nag Nestle Fitnesse ka din pala! I prefer the plain variant though, haha!

  9. skysenshi

    February 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    That's actually a pretty good method of keeping your nutrients in check. I do that for my water intake, though, because I hate water and need to have a self-imposed quota on it. I will blog about this also…because it actually saved my life.

  10. skysenshi

    February 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I stopped eating this when I lost my 1st molar. Haha. Kasi sa tigas nung flake, yung cracked tooth ko lalong lumala and my aunt had to pull it out because it couldn't be rescued by root canal. I'm now sticking to Quaker Oats, kaso mukhang naphe-phase out ata yung favorite kong variant.

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