Can You Eat Clean on £1/day? Part 2 – the shopping bit!

LBTL Shoping 2

Those of you familiar with this blog will know that tomorrow I start my Live Below the Line challenge to raise awareness and money for Oxfam.

I have £1 for all my food and drink per day for 5 days.  To add to the challenge, I am determined to not eat artificial ingredients. Further complicated by the fact that I am lactose intolerant, pre-diabetic and suffer with IBS on certain foods such as beans and pulses.

To find out more about this and if you would like to make a small donation read my first post Can You Eat Clean on £1 per Day?

Last night I went to Lidls to see what I could get for my £5 and if it is indeed possible to eat clean for £1 per day.

Now I wouldn’t normally shop in Lidls because it doesn’t sell everything that I want and I am a one stop shop kinda girl. However, I needed to get as much for my money as I could (I have a large appetite).

I was actually surprised at how much I bought.  It’s still a lot less than I would normally eat in 5 days but not as bad as I thought it would be.

LBTL SHopping

I found it easier to plan to eat the same thing each day.  I have never really understood why bodybuilders tend to do this.  You often see pictures of meal prep of the same meals for the whole week.  But:

  1. It was a lot less complicated then trying to vary my meals
  2. Because I am on such a tight budget for the 5 days I couldn’t afford to be buying packets of stuff that I was only going to use some of

What I bought:


  • 1 Packet of white long grain rice
  • 1 Packet of wholemeal pasta
  • 1 Packet of porridge oats
  • 1 Tin of tuna
  • 1 Tin of sardines
  • 1 Tin Sweetcorn
  • 1 Packet of frozen veg
  • 10 eggs
  • Tomato Puree
  • Garlic granules

LBTL Receipt

On the menu:

  • Breakfast:   Porridge made with water
  • Lunch:         Egg, Sweetcorn and Pasta Salad
  • Dinner:       Rice, vegetables and fish, flavoured with garlic and tomato.

How this differs from my normal diet:

In general

My day-to-day meals are very varied and I don’t have the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.  I use lots of seasoning and herbs to make things interesting and tasty.  Variety and taste make healthy eating sustainable and stops you from craving other foods.

I have 1-2 cups of coffee a day.  It will be good for me to have a break from the caffeine to give my adrenal glands a rest but it has reminded me that I will need to nurture myself a bit more and make sure I am getting adequate sleep so that I do not need it.

I snack a lot – I am a grazer.  There are different schools of thought as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but I have no choice – I can’t afford to snack!  My problem here is that breakfast is usually at 5 am which makes lunch a long time away.  I can have 100g of oats per day though so I will have 2 x 50g to spread it out a bit.

The biggest thing is not being able to afford things to make it taste nice!  Note I have not oil for frying either!


Porridge is a great option, its slow release and contains some protein.  I do have porridge once or twice a week but also like to go for high protein options such as Eat Clean, High Protein Breakfast Hash or Eat Clean Grain Free Breakfast of Stir Fried Mushrooms Topped with the Perfect Poached Egg.

When eating porridge, I normally top it with nuts for some extra protein and make it with almond milk for added calcium. or add raw cacao to vary the taste and increase its nutritional content. See Mood Lifting Super Porridge.


Usually lunch is protein and salad based for me with a jacket potato or sweet potato.  I was concerned about a lack of protein so the eggs were a bit of a find. Normally my eggs are free range and happy chickens – I have not even looked to see where these eggs came from but they were cheap!

I wouldn’t normally eat gluten pasta as it tends to make me feel a bit sluggish – especially in my training.  However, gluten it is only bad for you if you have celiac or non celiac gluten sensitivity.  There are some diets that advocate avoiding foods that cause inflammation of which gluten is thought to be one of them. My advice is, go by how you feel. If you can eat gluten and feel OK there is no problem!  For me I know I can eat a bit but eating it everyday is not great.

I am pleased that I managed to find wholemeal as its slower release than white. There is a lack of veg in this lunch too but fresh fruit and veg was not affordable.  I chose sweetcorn because it was affordable and I like it but I don’t tend to eat it often as it is quiet high in natural sugars and sugar is sugar! For my thoughts on sugar read Quit Sugar – My Journey with Sweet Things and How I Became Sugar Free


The sardines are a bit of a risk as I cannot stand them and don’t know if I will be able to force them down but Tuna was expensive!  Who knew that tinned tuna was a luxury item?

Ideally I would have had brown rice but they didn’t sell it. Brown rice has a lower GI content than white which helps to reduce insulin spikes therefore keeping blood sugar more stable.  As I have pre-diabetes this is important to me. Brown rice also contains more fiber and more nutrients than white rice because they have not been removed by the refining process.

I don’t normally eat frozen veg either as it doesn’t taste as nice as fresh but it is reported to have a higher nutrient content as they are preserved in the freezing process.

I think that I will be lacking in vitamins, calcium, and protein. I was going to stop taking my iron supplements as I pay for them over the counter and take them because without I get anaemic – which is not pleasant!  However, I decided that someone living in poverty in the UK would be able to get these on prescription for free so it’s OK but it did make me think about those people who are not lucky enough to live in a country that does not have an NHS.

I think I have done quite well in that I will be eating clean on £1 / day.  However, a diet as bland and boring as this is not sustainable.  You need to keep your healthy diet interesting and tasty to stick to it.

It will be interesting to see how I manage and how I feel. Sign up for email alerts so that you do not miss my midweek update!

If you would like to support me in this challenge a small donation would be gratefully received, it takes 5 minute of your time and can be done by clicking Donate Here

3 thoughts on “Can You Eat Clean on £1/day? Part 2 – the shopping bit!

  1. Good effort – think I would struggle on £4 or £5/day let alone £1! This has inspired me to actually figure it out. How much do you think you normally spend?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s