I was already planning on going to the grocery store after work today to get some produce, so I decided to start preparing for my Live Below the Line week by getting my groceries early. I knew that my chances of getting anything fresh were slim to none, but with proper preparation and some smart choices, I was able to get a week’s worth of food for only $8.75.
I entered the store already knowing that I was going to have to rely on starches, such as rice and pasta. They’re the cheapest options and you get the most bang for your buck. What I was determined to avoid was low-cost, low nutritional value foods such as boxed macaroni and cheese or instant noodles. I know these items can be tempting, especially when you can get three packs of instant noodles for $1.00, but there are other healthier choices that you can find.
So, without further ado, here’s was I bought:
One 900g bag of brown rice @ $1.99
One 750g package of pasta @$0.97 (on sale)
One 640ml jar of pasta sauce @ $0.97 (on sale)
One bunch of broccoli @ $1.47
Two apples @ $1.04
One lemon @ $0.40
One head of garlic @ $0.18
Five tea bags @ $0.43
Three cups of rolled oats @ $0.88 (on sale)
For a grand total of…$8.33!! I came under budget by $0.42, but I’m going to allow this leeway to account for the cost of the salt and pepper I’ll be using to season my meals.
My daily meals will consist of a breakfast of cooked rolled oats and a cup of black tea (I might need to be really stingy and use one bag for two separate brews); brown rice and broccoli seasoned with lemon, garlic, salt and pepper for lunch; apple slices for a snack; and pasta and sauce for dinner.
My daily intake of nutritional values would be approximately:
9g of fat (11% of suggested % daily value)
0mg of cholesterol
510mg of sodium (21% of suggested % daily value)
210g of carbohydrates (71% of suggested % daily value)
17g of fibre (60% of suggested % daily value)
21g of sugar
23g of protein
Although I’ll be below the suggested % daily values for fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and sugar (which is never a bad thing), I’m slightly worried about how few calories I’ll be getting and my less than ideal percentages of fibre and protein. Just goes to show how malnourished those who have to live below the poverty line are. I’ll definitely have to rely on my goal of 6-8 glasses of water a day to help me feel full.
Tomorrow I’ll be cooking and freezing my lunches, ensuring that my only source of fresh vegetables will keep for the week. I have a feeling that on top of preparing my meals, I’ll also have to prepare myself mentally for the challenge that lies ahead.