Is it safe to Live Below the Line for 5 days?
It’s possible to maintain good nutrition whilst living below the line, but it will take careful planning. Dietary variety will be the key to a healthier challenge. You need to aim to include all of the five food groups outlined in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating - breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat or alternatives.
Your eating pattern will also be important. Eating at least three meals a day, like breakfast, lunch and dinner, will assist in maintaining energy levels and satisfying your appetite.
What sort of food should I try to buy with my $10?
You need to make sure you are buying foods from across the five food groups. High fibre foods such as rice, pasta, oats and lentils or legumes will help fill you up.
Frozen or canned vegetables often include a variety of vegetables in one pack. Alternatively, buying fresh fruit or vegetables from local markets or greengrocers can be a budget friendly option.
Dairy is important too, and can be surprisingly affordable!
Meat will probably be outside your budget. As protein alternatives consider lentils (dried or tinned), legumes (such as baked beans), eggs or tinned fish.
Look for home brands or buy from local suppliers at markets.
What sort of food should I avoid?
Foods that do not fit into the five food groups! ‘Extra’ foods such as chips, chocolate, lollies, soft drink and biscuits, to name a few, will be expensive and do not provide long-lasting energy and nourishment.
From a price perspective, branded foods are going to be the more expensive choice.
Any tips or tricks you can recommend to make Live Below the Line as easy as possible?
- Plan for regular meals to satisfy your appetite.
- Combining with other people will mean you have more money at your disposal to purchase some bulk items (e.g. rice, bags of fruit).
- Maintain adequate hydration. Most people need around 2 litres of water a day. One of the benefits of regularly drinking water is that it can help fill you up. If you don’t drink much water at the moment, try and increase your intake prior to commencing the challenge - and keep it up afterwards too!
- Plan ahead. Do some price checks in the supermarket and think about how you could incorporate the five food groups.
- You may have to compromise on buying your favourite brands and the flavours you are used to.
Is there any reason why I should not do Live Below the Line?
If you have a medical condition, take regular medication, have recently been unwell, in hospital or had surgery it is strongly recommended you seek approval from your treating doctor before participating in the challenge.
In addition, children and young adolescents need adequate energy to support growth and as such children under 15 are not recommended to take part.
Last year, practising dietitian and accredited nutritionist Rebecca Gawthorn took up the Live Below the Line Challenge. She shared with us some of her tips and tricks for making it through the week:
1. Lentils & beans are a great source of protein, so grab a few tins for the week. You can usually get these for less than $1.
2. It’s super important you keep hydrated!! Drink plenty of water.
3. Choosing quality carbs that have a low GI (Glycemic index) are important for Live Below the Line as they will help you stay fuller for longer and have more energy throughout the day.
Click here to read more of her top tips!
We asked dietitian and LBL regular Nicole Vaughan to share her tips on taking the Live Below the Line Challenge, including a meal plan, shopping list and recipes. Having spent 6 years at university and studying both psychology and dietetics, Nicole is now a clinical dietitian living and working in a hospital out in rural Victoria. She loves her job and gets to work with a variety of patients in both the hospital and the community with conditions ranging from cancer, kidney disease, or a recent stroke or bowel surgery to those with diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies or intolerances. She’s completed the LBL Challenge twice and is very passionate about improving the lives of those living in poverty by increasing their access to education.