Will eating a diet based on wartime rations save you money?


I took a look at my pre-1940s diet… I was not only shocked to see how many calories I was consuming as well as the high fat content but also the amount of processed foods too. As if that wasn’t enough I couldn’t believe that I was spending over $15 a day on food JUST FOR ME!  I struggle financially like any other single Mom out there with children at home and one wage coming in, so my budget is a very important part of me being able to get by. When I made changes to the way I ate it not only helped me to lose weight and feel a lot healthier but there is now more money in my purse which helps pay the bills… on average I am nearly $10 better off per day which is a $5000 saving per year and over half my food is now organic and mostly wholefoods…
This summer I will strive to finally plant my Victory Garden – how awesome would it be to pick homegrown fresh organic vegetables on my way to work every morning…

My average day before the 1940s Experiment =  $15.75 (3600 cals)

Breakfast: 3 slices toast with butter and some slices of cheese $1.00 (700 cals)
Snack: Extra large coffee from Tim Hortons with double cream $1.75 (100 cals)
Lunch: Buy a packet of sandwiches- tuna and mayonnaise $3.50 (500 cals)
Snack: Extra large coffee from Tim Hortons + small bag of chips + chocolate bars $4.00 (700 cals)
Dinner: Large beef lasagna with extra cheese + a salad with dressing $4.00 (1200 cals)
Supper: Milk and cookies x 4 $1.50 (400 cals)

My average day during the 1940s Experiment =  $6.00 (2025 cals)

Breakfast: 1 dry cup of organic oatmeal 25 c (300 cals)
Snack: Piece of organic fruit and a few raw organic nuts if available 75c (150 cals)
Lunch: Large semi-organic salad with leaf greens + various raw veggies and some organic kidney beans + a baked potato $2.00 (500 cals)
Snack: Piece of organic fruit 50 c (75 cals)
Dinner: A veggie based meal from wartime recipe book or a veggie stew inc a little pastry or potatoes or rice $1.50 (600 cals)
Supper: Glass of almond milk and a couple of slices of toast with a vegan organic margarine and marmite $1.00 (400 cals)
How do you economize?
C xxxx
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7 thoughts on “Will eating a diet based on wartime rations save you money?

    • Hi there

      I buy my organic oatmeal for just $3.49 a big bag, a buy a big bag of organic pears (8-10) of them for just $3.99 on special, I buy a huge tub of organic spinach for $4.99 that lasts me all week… not all my fruit and veggies are organic as I just cannot afford to go 100% but I try my hardest to incorporate as much as I can that is grown in Canada or I try and buy locally grown potatoes and other veggies…

      I tend to look for the reduced items or the organics on special when ever I can…

      C xxxx

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  1. Just a reply to Joy, Organic produce is a lot more expensive here in the maritimes actually. You can save money though by shopping seasonally, and shopping at local farmers markets. I’m quite envious of my friends in California both for cost and selection.

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  2. I think looking at ration era recipes is helpful to get a good idea as to how to stretch ingredients. Here in the US during the war, Velveeta cheese was encouraged as a meat substitute. I am a fan of the old time radio show The Great Gildersleeve and Velveeta was a major sponsor of the program. I heard so many of their commercials from the war years, I looked at some of their old cooking pamphlets and compared them to present day. I noticed that the WWII recipes called for maybe 2-3 oz of cheese max for a family of four. If you look at the current ones, they take at least 8 oz and usually much more. Many of the recipes are exactly the same, except for the amount of cheese included. I thought that was interesting. Our thinking as to what a meal should look like has undergone a big change over the years and not for the better.

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    • What an interesting reply Mary! I agree about the cheese- when I was eating cheese and not doing the experiment it would be nothing for me to double my whole weeks ration in just one day and think that was completely normal…

      C xxxx

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  3. I recently bought Eat for Victory and Wartime Recipes and at first I didn’t think the portions would be enough for our family of four. But the food tasted so good that you didn’t feel the need to eat more. It was very satisfying food and helped me to realize food that is fresh, home made and seasoned with fresh herbs satisfies you with less. It was a lightbulb moment, lol.

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  4. You are so right! This is the third serious attempt I’ve made at this (2006, 2009 and 2011) and once the initial first week or two when I had some withdrawal symptoms from junk food, was over, it was very easy to eat this way and be satisfied..

    As soon as I began to let slip and tasted processed junk again, the cravings came back and the good work undone..

    As for portions- I HAVE to eat until my stomach is full so although the main dish size is relatively small I do fill up my plate with lots of fresh veg and potato.

    C xxxx

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