Day 1 Living Below the Line: Finding out what true hunger really means

Day 1 The meaning of true hunger

I woke up hungry this morning.  I actually welcomed hunger today so I would enjoy my more bland breakfast more and I could see if it would actually fill me up.

This week I’m taking part in Live Below The Line where I will live below the poverty line spending £1 or less on food per day for 5 days.

I’ve been making batches of food out of my ingredients over the weekend for the 5 days and I’m going to show you what I’m eating for each meal from Monday to Friday this week.  I’m going to show you exactly how much each meal costs with a list of ingredients that I’ve used.

Monday’s meals


Frugal Green Thickie No.1: Ginger Cake

Day 1 Breakfast Living Below the Line

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This smoothie is cheaper than normal as it has no sweeteners, no fancy fruit, no milk, no coconut, no nuts and more oats to bulk out the calories.  Considering it’s not quite the taste I would have normally gone for it was still pretty nice, still tasted sweet, I couldn’t taste the spinach at all and my toddler seemed to like it just the same.  She wolfed down her smoothie in 5 seconds flat, asked for more while I was still in the first mouthful.  I ‘chew’ my smoothies.  I know smoothies don’t need chewing as they are pretty smooth but as a smoothie is food, chewing a smoothie prepares the body for the food that’s coming, helps pre-digest it which avoids digestive discomfort if you are prone to it.

We had our breakfast at 7:30am and I wasn’t hungry until 11:30am which I thought was pretty good going.  By the time I’d got lunch on the table it was almost 12oclock which is the time we normally have lunch.

Here is a breakdown of the costs of the ingredients for a smoothie to serve one person:

  • Oats £0.05
  • Flaxseeds £0.06
  • Spinach £0.08
  • Bananas £0.13
  • Ginger & Cinnamon Spices £0.01
  • Water: FREE

Total cost of breakfast: 33p

Quite an expensive breakfast considering I’ve used a third of my daily budget already, but I do believe in setting yourself up for the day with a healthy filling breakfast.


Roasted Carrot & Onion Soup with 2 Homemade Wholemeal Bread Rolls & 1/2 Apple

Day 1 Lunch Living Below the Line

I really enjoyed the taste of this soup, and didn’t need a spread for my rolls as I dipped them straight in my soup.  I’d probably normally have a much bigger thicker soup and 1 bread roll not 2.  I tried to stop at one but I was still hungry so had both and so did my toddler.  She even ate all her soup which she doesn’t normally do.  I was really craving a massive salad with all the trimmings.  I do like a variety of different tastes and get bored of bland foods very easily.  Apple had never tasted so good!  I actually had half of my little girl’s apple as she only wanted half.  This was technically her fruit portion and I still have mine later so I’m going to include the cost of 1 apple later on.  I’m not going to waste food and as I’m pregnant, in theory I should have a little bit more money per day I think!  I haven’t taken this but I did assume I would finish off leftovers and that would equal the extra portions I should be eating anyway.

This is the lunch breakdown:

  • Carrots: £0.03
  • Onions: £0.02
  • Kidney Beans: £0.01
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Salt & Ginger: £0.01
  • Fresh Yeast: FREE (Tesco gives this away free at the bakery)
  • Wholemeal Flour: £0.06
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Salt £0.01
  • Water: FREE

Total Cost of Lunch: £0.26.  I can’t believe lunch was cheaper than breakfast!


Potato Rostis with Spicy Bean Hash, Vegetable & Carrot Salad and Roasted Tomato Sauce

Day 1 Dinner for living below the poverty line

I usually eat dinner with my husband after my toddler is in bed.  She has her dinner at 5pm but when my husband got home at 5:30pm we were both starving hungry and decided to have an early dinner.

I’ve never enjoyed a meal so much as this one.  It tasted gorgeous after the bland breakfast and lunch and there was a lot of variety on my plate which I liked.  I found it really filling and satisfying.

The breakdown of my dinner is:

  • Potatoes: £0.23
  • Oil: £0.01
  • Beans: £0.06
  • Spices: £0.01
  • Onion: £0.02
  • Water: FREE
  • Carrot: £0.01
  • Frozen Veg: £0.03
  • Oil: £0.01

Total Cost of Dinner: £0.39


  • Apple: £0.13

Total Cost for the day: £0.98

My husband actually ate an apple!  I’m glad we signed up to this challenge now.  He said he really appreciates free water now too.  I felt the same.  I was very thirsty today and drank loads of water.

How we felt today

I didn’t feel too bad today actually.  I normally eat this kind of food so it’s not really a change for me.  I did feel a bit hungrier than normal but my food did satisfy my hunger pretty much until the next meal which I was very happy about.  I don’t usually snack in between meals as I don’t want my toddler to either as she doesn’t eat her meals then.  I also don’t really snack in the evening as I get pregnancy heartburn if I eat too close to bedtime.  I do however eat far too much at mealtimes so I definitely had less than normal but it was still very doable.

My toddler seemed fine and ate the same quantities she normally would and never said she was hungry once.

My husband however was really feeling bad today.  He was having major caffeine and sugar withdrawals and had an awful headache, was feeling very naturally tired as he couldn’t have a cup of sugary tea to liven him up, and he also felt very hungry for a couple of hours before his lunch and a couple of hours before his dinner.  He said it was good to have a bit of a detox though.

What is true hunger?

A lot of people are shocked that I’m taking part in this challenge now.  I’m heavily pregnant and a lot of people feel very hungry for these 5 days so to allow myself to go hungry would obviously not be very wise for me or my new baby, or for that matter for my toddler or my husband.  We are all taking part and I wouldn’t have even attempted this challenge if I thought for one minute we would actually be going hungry.  I know for people who can afford to go hungry for 5 days it may help them to understand how people feel who truly can’t get enough food.  For me this isn’t an option so I’m going to set myself a different challenge, instead of understanding what hunger actually feels like, I’m going to hopefully show how it’s possible to avoid going hungry if you do have a limited budget to stick to.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced true hunger.  OK so I don’t really snack between meals so some of the time I am hungry before I eat my next meal.  I tend to overeat and have put on some weight this pregnancy because if I don’t eat enough I get too weak and feel dizzy so more often than not I’m not actually hungry for my next meal as I find it hard to align my hunger with meal times.  I prefer to wait until I’m hungry as find I feel better and maintain my perfect weight by doing this.  My experiment during my Green Thickie’s Challenge was a good example of this kind of eating.

I also experimented with fasting so I got closer to feeling true hunger and weakness but it still doesn’t come close to people who feel truly hungry day in day out all their lives and never get enough food to eat.  I can’t imagine how horrible that would be.  I’ve heard that some children who are starving actualy refuse food when they are given it as their bodies get so used to fasting and actually stop feeling hungry at all.  This would be a very dangerous state to be in on a regular basis so I really hope my fundraising this week go a little way to helping at least one person with their hunger levels.  (Please donate here)

I have read quite a lot that the worse the quality of food you eat, the worse your hunger levels are between meals.  Some people, such as Joel Fuhrman say ‘toxic hunger’ is the feeling of a rumbling stomach, headaches, feeling weak and dizzy in between meals, is caused by the body trying to rid itself of the foods.  He says that if you eat nutritious foods, your hunger symptoms won’t be half as bad as your body will be well nourished and you won’t get such extreme blood sugar level swings.

Feeling less hungry on a limited budget

So when you’re living on less money, it’s even more important for your health, to sustain your energy and to feel less hungry by eating healthy food.  So is it actually possible to eat healthily on a budget?  I think it is possible to eat much more healthily than most people realise.

The key is to avoid processed/ refined foods and to make everything from scratch with healthy basic ingredients.

That’s what I’m doing this week and I really hope it stops us from going hungry.

The rules of the challenge

Here are the rules of this Live Below The Line challenge that I’m sticking to this week:

  • From the 29th April – 3rd May you can spend no more than £1 a day on food and drink.
  • This means you have a total of £5 with which to buy all ingredients for your meals.
  • The full cost of all the items you consume must be included in your budget. This means budgeting for whole packets of food items such as rice, pasta, noodles and eggs etc.
  • For items such as salt, pepper, herbs and spices, simply work out the cost of each item per gram and budget your shopping proportionally. Separate your items before the challenge so there’s no need to be digging around in your cupboards.
  • You can share the cost of ingredients amongst a team, as long as no participant spends more than £1 a day or their total £5 budget. Working as a team will allow you to pool together funds and do more with your cooking.
  • You can’t grab a cheeky snack from the cupboard unless you include the cost of buying the item new in your budget.
  • You can use food sourced from your garden as long as you can account for the price of production!
  • No combination of meals on any given day can exceed the £1 spending limit. Remember this is a challenge to eat creatively and be enjoyed – don’t at any point deprive yourself of three meals a day.
  • You cannot accept ‘donated’ food from family or friends, but monetary donations towards your fundraising goals are acceptable, and encouraged!
  • You are allowed to drink tap water – remember you should try and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day.
  • Remember that cigarettes don’t come cheap either! Can you Live Below The Line and still manage to smoke?

So as you can see the rules encourage you not to deprive yourself and be creative so that’s exactly what I’m doing.  My Ingredients look pretty boring on their own but I’ve managed to devise a menu where we still have some variety our flavours in our meals every day.  So check back tomorrow to see what I managed to come up with for our daily meals.

Katherine Kyle @ Green Thickies

Founder at Green Thickies
Katherine lost 56 pounds and recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Green Thickies.
Read Katherine's inspiring comeback story, From Fat and Fatigued To Lean and Loving Life In 4 Months.
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  1. Hey Katherine,

    Thank you so much for embarking on this challenge. Living below the line is important for several reasons. First, the social aspect, of course. People go truly hungry every day, something that most of us can’t relate to. Second, I think it is important to prove that eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I always maintain that eating well wouldn’t seem so expensive if one actually stopped buying the foods that are working against their health, such as trans fats, sugars, and refined grains.

    Looking forward to subsequent updates. Stay strong!


  2. Amazing cheap eats. Will you give the recipe for the spicy bean hash. That looks easy.


  3. Amazing cheap eats. Can you give the recipe for the spicy bean hash. That looks easy.



  4. Thanks for blogging about your great meals. Like how you are varying the spicing of soups and smoothies to give it a different flavor every day.


  5. Do you have the recipe posted for the Potato Rostis with Spicy Bean Hash, Vegetable & Carrot Salad and Roasted Tomato Sauce? Because that sounds so divine. I’d also love to know how to make the rolls. Even the soup, while thin, sounded quite nice. Do you only post your smoothie/thickie recipes? Because I’d really love to know how to make some of these!

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