Jul 20

My Week for £10 – Day 8

Today has been a hungry day.  My husband has been finding things particularly hard for the past two days and can’t wait to finish.  Fortunately today is our last day.   I made Kushari for lunch, and finally got round to making white bean chilli for supper.

Final meal of the week.  White bean chilli

Final meal of the week. White bean chilli

So now that we are at the end of the week, I feel able to share a few thoughts.

Is it possible to feed two people for a week on £10?

Yes.  Just.

What remains after a week on £10.  A handful of rice and 6p.

What remains after a week on £10. A handful of rice and 6p.

Is it possible to do so in a healthy way?

That depends on how you define ‘healthy’.  It is certainly not an optimal way to eat; our diet lacked protein, and we barely managed to get our ‘5 a day’, but it was certainly possible to prepare a week’s food without resorting to junk foods, and to cook something different every day; out of 13 meals that I prepared, I only repeated myself twice.

It wasn’t easy, however, and it’s a good thing that we like rice and beans.  If we were to prolong the experiment, I would be concerned about having insufficient nutrients, which may be a factor contributing to both physical and mental health issues.

I should point out that neither of us had a particularly grueling week outside of the challenge.  The impact had we been adhering to a demanding work schedule could have been much greater.  I lost 6lbs in weight during the week.  That is no problem for me, but it is safe to assume that some people will become underweight and undernourished on a minimal food budget for a sustained period.  Paradoxically, they may also become overweight and undernourished, turning to cheap unhealthy foods for comfort and flavour.

Feeding 2 people for £10 is difficult enough when both people can eat most things.  If you factor in special diets, allergies, intolerances and fussy eaters, the thing becomes so much harder.  With families already under strain, the stress of having to be creative on a tight budget when some or all of these factors are present should not be underestimated.

My biggest revelation was that providing food on a limited budget has an impact far beyond mealtimes.  Food is all around us, and an integral part of everyday life.  The sensation of being separated from that was more isolating than I could have predicted.  On the positive side, I began to be more aware of the amount of unnecessary food I buy, and how I can manage on a lot less than I think.

Tomorrow I plan to go to a food bank to find out more about food poverty first hand, and report my findings in this blog.  The following day I share.my 5 storecupboard essentials for budget cooking.  Please join me in continuing to raise awareness of the important issue of food poverty.

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