Mastercheap Day 3: Resisting Temptation

Monday means work, and work means going to an event with loads of free food on offer. Can the Mastercheap project survive?

Monday's menu

Breakfast: 100g muesli, 100ml skim milk Lunch: 200g pasta spirals served with 185g tinned tuna and 150g mixed vegetables Dinner: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices multi-grain toast with table spread, 1 slice chocolate cake Snack: 35g peanuts Totals Energy 9666kj: (target 9000kj), Protein 108.7g (target 55g), Sodium 1288mg (target 1500mg max), Fat 61.4g (target 90g max) Total cups of black tea: 6 In summary: Because I'm stuffed, I'm not tempted by your high tea.

One of the rules I'm applying during Mastercheap is that I can't eat "free food" — meals offered by friends or relatives, or made available at work functions. As I explain in the Mastercheap FAQ which went up yesterday, I realise that anyone forced to live on this budget would almost certainly latch onto those opportunities when they arose. However, for the purposes of this experiment, it makes much more sense to test the worst-case scenario: one where literally all I get to eat is what the $25 supplies.

That does, however, pose the challenge of showing up at events and then turning down the food. As I foreshadowed in the Day 2 write-up, today I was scheduled to attend the Australian launch of the new Livescribe pen, a device whose earlier incarnations I've covered on Lifehacker. It was definitely an event I needed to be at, but it also promised a ""sumptuous high tea of sandwiches, scones and desserts" which, under the Mastercheap rules, I can't eat.

I'd hope that a combination of my own willpower and the peer pressure of all my Mastercheap-aware colleagues would be enough to keep me away from the sandwiches. However, to make the whole prospect less tempting, I did the obvious thing: ate a massive lunch before I headed to the event.

What constitutes a massive lunch on this budget? Pasta combined with a tin of tuna (in springwater to minimise salt) and my traditional daily serve of frozen mixed vegetables. This was a very successful meal on all fronts. The tuna represents the biggest protein hit I've had since the project started, and combining the vegetables into the pasta made them seem more appetising.

More to the point, having eaten my two bowls full, I had no desire whatsoever to partake of the high tea on offer. I didn't even feel the urge to raid the snack supply of peanuts I'd bought with me to use in case of emergency.

It's already been suggested by readers that eating lunch in the middle of the day is more satisfying, and that certainly worked here. My dinner was scrambled eggs on toast (the first 'repeat' main meal I've had, albeit this time in a simpler form than for Saturday's lunch), and I went to bed feeling entirely satisfied.

I've got a Tuesday breakfast function to go to, but after today I'm confident my muesli will serve me well. And by the time I get to my first sandwich lunch of the project, I'll already be at the halfway mark.

Lifehacker's Mastercheap experiment sees editor Angus Kidman trying to survive with a weekly food budget of just $25.


Comments

    From mastercheap to poverty line is only $15 difference... great tips for people doing this challenge!
    http://livebelowtheline.com/

      25 is more than $3.50 per day compared to the 'live bellow the poverty line' it seems lavish.

      For what its worth my home food bill is sub $40 per week and most people think i eat on a tight budget, for someone of my size and activity level i couldn't get by on Angus's rations and doing the bellow the poverty line would probably see me drop at least 2kg.

        It's not much more than $3.50 ($3.57 to be precise). The $2 a day challenge would indeed be much tougher, though I think it's probably doable in pure kilojoule terms. Balance, variety and a range of nutrients, I suspect not.

    Just thought I'd share this with you so you can have decent meals, but please don't get cage eggs.
    http://aldi.com.au/au/html/product_range/recipes_and_tips_14228.htm

      There's some interesting recipes there, but in true Aldi style the quantities are family-oriented -- not the best option for a single person in most cases. I've covered off the eggs issue in the FAQ.

    You should also be counting your sugar and carbohydrate quantities, just as important to keep low as your sodium.

    My biggest struggle eating cheaply is also eating in such a way that doesn't make my diabetes any worse, and cheap usually means relying upon things like carbohydrates which aren't any good for me in large quantities.

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