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Can a sista get a piece of fruit?

Day 4 of the Food Stamp Challenge, and I. am. sick. of. chicken.

If you've been following me this week, you know I bought a roaster chicken to cook for my dinner and lunchtime meals, and that sucker isn't gone yet.

I realize that in the real world, where people are really food insecure, being able to use chicken to stretch meals for a week is a good thing. But it sure can get monotonous.

Today, I ate a salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and -- you guessed it -- chicken. Dinner will be spaghetti for the second night in a row. A chicken sandwich for tomorrow's lunch. Breakfast has been oatmeal all week.

While the monotony of my meals is a definite downer, it's good to know they're getting passing grades in the nutrition department, says CHOP nutritionist Elizabeth Wallace.

"Not bad. Not bad at all," Wallace said after looking at my meal plan for the week. "You've got at least three food groups in most meals."

Wallace praised me for prioritizing vegetables -- the ones included in my salads and the asparagus I ate the first two nights. She reminded me that veggies equal vitamins. Fresh is best, but frozen can serve as an inexpensive runner-up.

Now for the bad news. Where on earth is the fruit, Wallace asked.

I did buy five bananas, to eat each day before my morning workouts, but that was it. Fruit simply cost too much for my $35 budget.

Wallace suggested  I substitute jelly with a banana or apple on my peanut butter sandwich. Frozen berries - less expensive than fresh - would be a good mixed in oatmeal, she said.

She recommended mixing up my proteins by using canned tuna or salmon, eggs and beans. She suggested low-fat milk to ensure I'm getting calcium and vitamin D.

It's good to know I'm on solid nutritional ground with my choices. But I don't want to see another piece of chicken for a while.