Live Below the Line: Day 1 Dinner

My food intake for Day 1 of the Live Below the Line challenge is complete. The lack of rice so far this week has meant that I have eaten rather well today, but then it’s Bank Holiday Monday, so I’ve not had to actually do very much. The real challenge will start tomorrow with cycling to work, doing a day’s work, then cycling home.

The extra special treat battered fish portions were happily bigger than I was expecting, but they were full of mashed up ‘fish’ and full isn’t really the right word, so I’m not sure how good value they were in reality. But no matter, I am feeling full up so that’s good. Given that mushy peas are currently down to 6p a tin, I decided to treat myself to the whole tin, rather than the half a tin I was originally planning. Nom.

Day 1 Dinner

Battered white fish – 225 calories, 13g fat, 2g sat fat, 17.25p
Half tin new potatoes – 80 calories, no fat, 11.5p
Tin of mushy peas – 220 calories, 1.2g fat, no sat fat, 6p
Spoonful of sweetcorn – 35 calories, 0.3g fat, 4p
Squirt of garlic mayo – 25 calories, 2.5g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 0.5p

Meal cost = 39.25p
Total calories = 585 calories
Total fat = 17g
Total sat fat = 2.5g

I was pretty surprised that the tin of mushy peas contained nearly as many calories as the battered fish. Thanks very much tesco for adding sugar to the peas, completely unnecessarily! It’s quite shocking that the battered fish  also works out at 13% fat – that seems a very high percentage for something that needs to be oven baked.

Day 1 hasn’t been a terribly taxing experience, I think mainly because I’ve spent so many hours thinking and planning how I am going to deal with this challenge. I have noticed though that I am eating more slowly, being conscious that each meal is all the food I’m going to get and if I get peckish later then it’ll be tough. Finishing my last mouthful of dinner tonight was especially sad as I know that I won’t be eating anything else until my 7am pitta bread tomorrow. I really genuinely love food and I love eating so I think knowing that I can’t have anything else is making me want it all the more!

Day 1 Totals

Cost – 89.63p
Total Calorie intake – 1230
Total Fat intake – 26.4g
Of which saturates – 5.7g

So I’ve come in under budget, a good start. In terms of my nutritional health, the news is not so great. As a woman, I should be eating 2000 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight. Today I have come in at a measly 61.5% of this – and a lot of that was thanks to having the whole tin of mushy peas with added sugar!! I should be having no more than 65g of total fat per day, no more than 20g of which being saturated fat. If I were aiming to eat a low fat diet, this would be quite pleasing, but again, in terms of maintaining a healthy weight it does not seem that I have eaten sufficiently to fuel my body today. The only good thing is a relatively low intake of saturated fat, a small miracle given that pretty much everything I’ve eaten today was processed food! I dread to think what the hidden sugar and salt totals were.

I am beginning to see that people living in extreme poverty have by necessity to think about food all the time – to get enough calories to stay alive. I think staying healthy must be nothing more than a dream if you have so little with which to feed yourself and your family. If you want to help take families around the world out of poverty, and give them a chance at a healthy life, please sponsor me now.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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