In support of World Hunger Day, our merchandising manager Jo has been taking on the ‘Living Below the Line’ challenge in which the total value of all food and drink she consumes for a day must be below £1. Here’s how she’s coped on day one.  

The night before I started the challenge, I made my sweet potato, carrot and kidney bean stew/chilli thing.  Whilst peeling the onion I thought how just peeling one more layer would mean I lose vital food; I have so few vegetables for these 5 days that one layer is a lot!  Then I imagined how a parent would feel if they were trying to feed their children on a similar budget and they peeled an onion to find it was rotten inside –disappointed would not describe it!  I imagine as a parent on low income you would shop extremely carefully, inspecting the fruit & veg and checking use by dates.  Whenever I find potatoes have gone soft or green I just buy some more and not everyone has that option.  I’m actually disgusted at the food wastage in my household so this challenge has definitely made me think about that! Now to take action!


I started the day with toast then had porridge when I got to work.  My colleagues were surprised at the amount of food I had for the day; some said it was more than they would eat in a day!  But is it the right sort of food?  I couldn’t afford any fruit on the budget and I didn’t miss it in day one but I’m sure I will by the end of the 5 days.  My diet will be carb heavy and at least it’s filling, but without much protein it’s not keeping me full for long.

I ate two slices of bread and butter just before having the sweet potato & bean stew for lunch….at this rate I was not going to have any snacks for the afternoon or evening!  For dinner I made a tomato and onion sauce with pasta; again I made enough for three meals.  One advantage of doing this challenge with other people is that you would be able to eat a variety of foods; just the same as eating together as a household (as I usually do but can’t because of doing the challenge).  It’s a little depressing thinking that I’ll only be eating 4 different meals for 10 lunches & dinners in a row!  The pasta was nice but I couldn’t help thinking that a bit of cheese would make it a lot nicer!  I was still hungry after dinner so I ate the last two ginger nuts of my daily allowance and I was ok.

I started this as an experiment and didn’t plan to ask for sponsorship because I didn’t want the pressure of completing the challenge, but it’s actually been fairly easy so far so I think I can handle 5 days.  If anyone would like to sponsor me, here’s my Live Below the Line page…

 I’m hoping to raise £200 for Action Against Hunger and you can see more about what they do here…