One Week of Groceries (Day 5: Live Below The Line)

My Live Below The Line week is just about finished – but you can still sponsor me here:

What does one week’s worth of groceries look like for a family in different countries around the world? For my 5 days below the line, this was my shopping basket:


There was enough for one…..but only enough. No treats, no variation, not even any fruit. I made one jar of tikka sauce stretch across 5 meals. I made every portion of rice go a little bit further. I counted out my slices of bread to ensure I had enough for the week. My usual varied diet was reduced to a rotated set of meals that I’d chop and change between to keep some kind of variety in my days. The sudden increase in carbs has left my body confused, and I’m glad I don’t have to face breakfast of toast and jam tomorrow morning. I’m craving red pepper, and chinese spices, and fish and other types of protein. I cannot express how thankful I am that I have the option in my daily life to buy a wide variety of different types of food, instead of being limited to only what my pennies will stretch to.

A set of photographs appeared recently on my news feed, highlighting the differences of what would feed a family for a week in various countries.


There are more pictures from other countries included in the link but I picked out this selection, mainly because they were the ones that caught my attention the most. Firstly, the sheer amount of food for relatively small families of four in the pictures from Britain and USA. Meanwhile, larger families in Mali and Chad are feeding their entire brood on such meagre portions. There is a distinct contrast in the types of food as well – with USA and Britain’s grocery baskets filled with processed food and snacks in sharp contrast with Turkey and Japan, with their large amounts of fresh ingredients, and then the grain-based diets of Mali and Chad.

How would these families cope if they were to live a week in another’s shoes? How would the family from the USA react to living off the diet of the family from Turkey? What kind of shock to the system would the family from Chad have to eat the diet of a family from Britain?


Day 5 of Live Below The Line

Breakfast: toast and jam 6p
Lunch: roast vegetables 20p
Dinner: sausage (21p) and vegetable(20p) tikka (10p) curry and rice (7p) – total 68p

Total for the day: 94p

In my picture above I included what has been my only kind of drink this week – water! We are so lucky to have access to clean, drinking water from our taps. To be able to turn on a tap and know that what I drink will be safe – a privilege that is a far away concept for many people around the world, most of whom are living under the extreme poverty line. I have personal experience of this from my time volunteering overseas in Ghana. Our volunteer house did not have clean running water, and we had to buy clean water from stalls in little square packages. The simple luxury of clean, running water was a distant concept. Thankfully, many of the charities who are partners with Live Below The Line also work on projects to give clean water to communities across the world.

As my final day of the challenge draws to a close, I find myself in a strange place. Live Below The Line makes you startlingly aware of your own and others excess. It also makes you aware of how, just be being more prepared and planning ahead, you could get by on a lot less. Live Below The Line is not just a worldwide charity campaign – it is also a very personal challenge. It offers opportunity to bring change for 1.2 billion people……and also to change yourself. 

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