Live Below the Line begins next week, challenging you to spend less than £1 a day on all of your food and drink for five days. Often eating cheaply is seen as being incompatible with eating ethically. Check out my tips on how to prepare in the run up to the challenge, so you can eat ethically on a shoestring!
Meat isn’t cheap
A quick way to save money and up your ethical points is to cut down on your meat consumption. A twin-pack of free range chicken breasts from Tesco will set you back £5.36 (more than you have to spend for the whole challenge!). You can pay a lot less, but beware, seemingly cheap options like lunch slices often have a high water content and consequently can be of dubious nutritional value. Missing out meat for the length of the challenge will go a long way to reducing your outlay and keeping you within your budget.
Give (chick) peas a chance
Tins of pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans are a really cheap way to eat food that packs a nutritional punch. A tin of red kidney beans is just 30p and will make a tasty chilli; 50p will get you a tin of chickpeas that is a versatile ingredient for salads, curries, hummus, falafel and all manner of other lovely recipes.
Shop local, think global
Shopping at your local greengrocer is a great way to enhance your cheap ethical eating. You are supporting your local economy by spreading wealth that might normally get swallowed up by big supermarket chains. You are also reducing your carbon footprint as, more often than not, local greengrocers stock more domestic produce than your nearest supermarket.
Some great places leading the way in the ethical grocer category are:
Unicorn Grocery is a worker co-operative owned and run by its workforce which offers advice and support to others setting up similar ventures.
The Real Food Store is Exeter’s first community owned food store passionate about locality, seasonality and sustainability.
True Food Community Co-Operative operates a hybrid system of a large shop and multiple mobile markets held in community centres.
The People’s Supermarket has a vision is to create a commercially sustainable, social enterprise that achieves its growth and targets whilst operating within values based on community development and cohesion.
Indulge your App-etite
There is plenty of technology out there to help support you in your quest for wallet-friendly ethical eating.
The free App ‘mySuperList’ is a great little shopping list app which gives you details of real products, prices, offers and vouchers.
The Good Shopping Guide’s ‘Ethical Shopping App’ allows you to search through over 700 famous brands. This app costs £2.99 so if you do want to use it, you will need to buy it before you start the challenge!
As simple as it sounds, doing your research and taking a shopping list with you can make a real difference. Taking a shopping list with you ensures you don’t deviate from the ingredients you really need and save money on unnecessary purchases.
Why do it for ActionAid?
An ethical no-brainer. Right now there are 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line, many of whom are girls and women. Together we can fight this injustice.
We hope you agree that, whilst eating ethically and cheaply isn’t easy, a bit of creativity can go a long way. Challenge yourself today to think before you eat and protect your pennies!
So what are you waiting for?
Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/ActionAid