We are now half way through the Live Below the Line challenge. In this guest blog post from Frances Hague,  group leader of the  Newcastle RESULTS group, Frances reflects on the challenge so far and what meals she has been making. Have a read and share with your friends.

Day 1

I’m nervous and excited for the start of LBTL today – and so pleased with how many lovely people have sponsored me!

Hot water and porridge with banana
Hot water and porridge with banana

Went shopping with my £5 in hand yesterday and came home with a bag full of bargains and smart price food for £4.62. I’m going to try to be as creative as possible but no doubt the same meals will crop up a few times!

The spare 38p is in case of the need for emergency tea bags, since going without a cup of tea is definitely going to be difficult…

Currently preparing for tomorrow by eating as much as possible!

Day 2

The first day of Live Below the Line was a little bit different to what I expected.

Vegtable fried rice
Vegtable fried rice

I wasn’t really hungry at any point during the day – no more so than usual anyway! I think I’ve definitely made good food choices that will keep me full, and now understand why so many people who live below the poverty line rely heavily on staple foods such as rice or potatoes.

I have noticed how bland my meals have been, particularly when making porridge and omelettes with water rather than milk, or not having spices and herbs to season rice dishes.

I usually really look forward to planning, cooking and eating my meals, but I’ve already found that rather than enjoying it, I’m eating just to fuel myself – a constant reality for those who live below the poverty line.

Day 3

So I’m at the half-way point of my LBTL challenge, and not feeling too bad. My energy levels are a bit lower than usual, and I found it a harder to get up this morning, but I suppose lethargy is something that comes with having stodgy food as part of your staple diet every day.

Vegetable and lentil dahl
Vegetable and lentil dahl

The lack of variety is getting to me; I miss having spices and different fruits (although buying a pack of frozen veg was definitely a good idea). When I’m busy complaining about having so few ingredients to work with, I’m constantly reminding myself that this situation is only temporary for me but a reality for so many millions of people.

I also now realise that buying cheap tea bags was a great idea, as a lack of caffeine is not pretty! LBTL puts into perspective how spending £2 on a cup of tea in a cafe is such a frivolous waste of money, and definitely makes me think twice about doing so in future.

Fancy trying the challange yourself? Sign up to Live Below the Line with RESULTS here.