Live Below the Line: Day 4

Mmmm, squirrel sandwich

Well, my food intake is over for another day and so endeth Day 4 of the Live Below the Line Challenge. In case you’ve been on Mars this week, I’m living on £1 a day for five days, to try and get even the smallest degree of empathy for the 1.4 billion people globally who live in extreme poverty.

Today hasn’t been as bad as yesterday I think for two reasons: a. it’s not my birthday anymore and b. I have had something to look forward to in the food stakes… More on that below!

This morning started the same as every day, with my now traditional pitta bread. I think that it may be quite wrong that when I got to work and saw a squirrel eating a sandwich he’d foraged out of the bin I felt really quite jealous of him. That bread looked like Mighty White or some other awesome shizzle.

For lunch today I took my tin of vegetable soup and the spare pitta bread from the pack of six that will not be used for breakfast. When I set this out I felt quite chuffed that it looked like a proper meal. There were different kinds of vegetables in it, even one or two bits of pearl barley and some little tiny pasta hoops! I thought I was well in, nutritionally. Which maybe I was, but I must confess I was quite disappointed when I read the back of the tin and found that the whole lot was a measley 160 calories. On top of today’s 8.5 mile cycle that did not sound sufficient…

Day 4 Breakfast

Soft cheese with garlic and herbs – 25 calories, 1.7g fat, 1.1g sat fat, 3.5p
Value pitta bread – 130 calories, 1g fat, 0 saturates, 3.3p
Cup of value tea with a value sweetener – Negligible nutrition, 0.3p

Meal cost: 7.1p
Calorie Content – 155
Fat Content – 2.7g
Saturated Fat – 1.1g 

Day 4 Lunch

Tin of value vegetable soup – 160 calories, 1g fat, 24p
Soft cheese with garlic and herbs – 25 calories, 1.7g fat, 1.1g sat fat, 3.5p
Value pitta bread – 130 calories, 1g fat, 0 saturates, 3.3p

Meal cost – 30.8p
Calories content – 315 calories
Fat content – 3.7g
Sat fat – 1.1g

My day at work finished and I hopped on the bike to get home, when half way back there it was – the growl of a hunger pang. Darn. However, all was not lost. I’d been building a plan for tonight’s tea for nearly 72 hours and so convincing was I that it was a super awesome amazing meal plan, The Boy requested to be included in on it – not just tonight, but for tomorrow lunch as well! So here it is, the full recipe and costings. Wait for it, this will blow your socks off in the Live Below the Line Recipe stakes.

Day 4 Dinner
Pasta Blaster Extravaganza! (Serves 4)


400g of value pasta (24p, 6p per portion = 350 calories, 1.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat)
2 tins of value beans and sausages (66p, 16.5p per portion = 230 calories, 7g fat, 2g sat fat)
200 ml value passata (11.6p, 2.9p per portion = 17 calories, 0.1g fat)
one reduced courgette, cubed (25p, 6.25p per portion = 10 calories)
eight reduced mushrooms, slice (11p, 2.75p per portion = 8 calories)
Swirl of soft cheese with garlic and herbs (3.5p, 0.8p per portion = 8 calories, 0.4g fat, 0.3g sat fat)


1. Put the pasta on to boil.
2. Meanwhile, dry fry the courgette and mushrooms until softened. 
3. Add the passata and beans and sausages to the vegetables and bring to a simmer.
4. When the pasta is cooked, drain.
5. Add the soft cheese to the sauce mix, and stir in along with the pasta.
6. Serve with a smug look on your face. We got 4 sausages per portion.

Meal cost – 35.2p per portion
Calories – 606.8
Fat – 9g
Sat fat – 2.8g

And there you have it. Our forays to Tesco have finally paid off, not just in terms of the reduced mushrooms I mentioned yesterday, but also with reduced courgettes – huzzah and hooray! I got to cook something which involved chopping up and applying heat to real live vegetables! This meal has been a real boost to me today and although, 3 hours or more after eating it I am still burping, I thoroughly enjoyed it and do not feel hungry.

It made me laugh that I’d only half finished mine by the time The Boy had eaten his, washed up, made us a brew and then gone out for a ciggie! I am definitely eating more slowly!

The Live Below the Line issue that has been playing on my mind the most today is how difficult this challenge would be if I didn’t have readily available, running drinking water. What would I do about my value rice, my value pasta? How would I enjoy my value teabags? Once more, undertaking this challenge has helped me understand the things that I often take for granted. Like flushing the toilet with drinking water. Which is, quite frankly, stupid.

Day 4 Totals

Total cost – 73.1p
Total calorie intake – 1076.8
Total fat intake – 15.4g
Total sat fat – 5g

Despite feeling more satisfied (perhaps due to having more nutrients I guess), I have only managed an appalling 53.8% of my daily recommended calorie intake. I guess that means I should go to bed.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.