LBTL Day 1

My first Below the Line breakfast was 2 slices of toast and margarine, and a drink of water – total cost about 7.5p. This is what I’m planning to have every morning.

Not that different to what I normally have at work, except maybe thinner slices of bread and the margarine wasn’t Flora (but worst of all – no coffee!!!). Except … I had breakfast about an hour and a half earlier than normal, which meant that my stomach was rumbling by about 10:30. Maybe I should try bringing it to work with me and eating it later, or would it be all cold and chewy by then?

But I remembered to pack my soup for lunch, and heated it up in a microwave in the staff restaurant. It actually wasn’t too bad, and the garlic croutons definitely gave it a bit of a lift – just as well it was okay as I’ll be having it twice more this week.

The Costa promotional materials on the table really didn’t bother me, and nor did the sight of all the food being served up and eaten in the restaurant. I wonder if this will still be the case later in the week?

Here’s what was in my lunch (3 portions):

Lentil & Vegetable Soup

100g red lentils

50g rice

200ml passata

1 onion

10g margarine

300g frozen mixed vegetables

Mixed herbs, salt, pepper, 1 tsp Marmite and a pinch of chilli powder.


3 slices bread

30g margarine

Large clove of garlic

Mixed herbs

Total cost per portion – 28.5p

I started cooking almost as soon as I got in from work – I guess I was a bit hungry! Tonight’s meal was something I often make anyway, it turned out quite well using the Tesco value rice, beans and peppers.

Veggie chilli and rice

Ingredients for 4 portions:

300g long grain rice

15g margarine

2 medium onions

300ml passata

1 400g tin red kidney beans

2 large cloves garlic

130g mushrooms

1 red pepper

2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander and 0.5 tsp chilli powder.

Total cost per portion about 40p – will have to check tomorrow as my clever planning and pricing spreadsheet is on my laptop at work!

Today has gone pretty well although I really missed my proper coffee on the way to work and numerous vending machine coffees during the day. And I do seem to have been thinking about food rather a lot!

I don’t feel hungry right now but if I do I will have to try to ignore it and resort to knitting, reading or an early night!

The challenge?

Spend 5 days feeding yourself with £1 a day – the UK equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

The reason?

To give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make £1 cover a lot more than food…

The details?

Sponsor me here, or sign up to do it yourself at:


2 thoughts on “LBTL Day 1

  1. I like the look of that soup, would be interested in exact recipe – or did you just bung all ingredients together? I could not survive without my extras like tea – fruit and yogurts to keep hunger pangs at bay. You are doing really well.

    • Hi Ali, I just fried the onion, then added the lentils and some water and simmered for about 15 minutes – then I added the rice and tomato and seasonings and simmered for another 10 then added the frozen mixed veg at the end. I usually add barley rather than rice to a soup like this which takes longer so best to put it in before the lentils. It was okay but not brilliant – it would be much nicer with fresh vegetables I think!

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