So, how many calories can you really manage on £1/day?
With pretty careful planning and a vague attempt at getting a reasonable quantity/variety into my menu, I have worked out using My Fitness Pal that I am getting roughly the following:
This chart may not be completely accurate but my caloric intake was roughly 1250 calories. This is probably the amount I eat when I’m trying to be really careful with food, but is most definitely not a healthy level for most people. Factoring in the roughly 50 minutes of speedy walking I do on my commute to and from work (and up a hill), my calorie level would drop lower. This kind of calorie level is likely to be below your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), meaning your body is not getting enough calories to sustain its basic function. It would be possible to eat higher calorie canned/processed food on a similar cost, but would probably be even worse for your system.
For most people, this would be completely unsustainable and in the long term, incredibly unhealthy and difficult to manage. According to the NHS, the recommended calorie intake per day for a woman is 2000 and for a man is 2500. I suspect for many people these would be too high, but clearly, it would be virtually impossible to reach that on £1/day. Many people living under the extreme poverty line are likely to be in high-intensity, active jobs, which require a higher calorie diet. The extreme calorie deficit would be hugely detrimental to their well being.
Despite the low calories, I am full post dinner. While my breakfast and lunch were as disappointing as yesterday, my dinner was miraculously good!
Carbonara under the poverty line
I cooked the spaghetti, vegetables and hot dogs as normal (boiled as per packet instructions), and then cracked two eggs into the still steaming spaghetti, added a splash of milk, salt and pepper, stirred, and created the poor man’s carbonara! It was surprisingly delicious, considering how little it cost to make, and although I would substitute the hot dogs for bacon, I would definitely make it again.