*UPDATED* Rations per adult & per child

Weekly ration

Over the duration of the war some rationed became stricter… which means for example a previous ration of 16 oz of sugar per week dipped down to 8oz and so on. This is also why when you search online for amounts you get a variety of different answers.

We eat most of our rations at minimum level, and we do just fine. Its more than adequate. This experiment is really just to see whether or not this way of living is possible/ viable in the modern day.

  •  Bacon & Ham 4 oz (113 grams) at minimum level (8oz at max) <— thats NOT each, bacon and ham formed that entire ration. We half and half it. The bacon is eternally useful to add to more uninteresting vegetable dishes…. and if there any left over at the end of the week…. a bacon sandwich for MrC.
  • Meat to the value of 1 shilling and two which bought 1lb 3oz meat (540g) This initially did NOT include things like offal and sausages, however, sausages would have required some of the meat ration and so when available, usually contain ALLOT of bread. <— obviously unless you go to a butcher youre not going to get this weird amount (540g) …. In red meats case we round down to a pack of 500g.

I, admittingly, underestimated our amount of red meat per week…. which means since December we’ve been eating about half our ration. OOOPS! MrC and Master N will be glad about this :D…… still theres no reason to go overboard. We’ve done really well on half the amount, so really… do we need double?

  • Butter 2 oz (56 grams) at minimum level (8oz at max)
  • Cheese 1 oz (23 grams) at minimum level (8oz at maximum level) (although we take it at 2oz, that equals about 1 250g block of cheddar for the family each week)<—-Although something like cottage cheese is a cheese and so logically would have been on this ration… Government cheddar was what was available at the time…. none of this new fangled stuff. lol.

The butter and cheese coupons were interchangeable…. which is handy as we use more butter than we do cheese, one 250g block tends to last us 2 weeks instead of 1.

  • Margarine 4 oz (113 grams) minimum level (12oz max level)
  • Cooking fat ie Lard 2 oz (23 grams) at minimum level (3oz at max)

margarine and Lard are both fats and so were also interchangeable on the ration books. Another handy swap as margarine for baking gets used up far quicker than cooking lard, which we only use a little of at a time.

  • Milk 3 pints per week per adult & children under 5; under 18’s got 3.5 Pints per week. Each consumer would have also received 1 tin of powdered milk (8 pints worth) every 8 weeks.
  • Sugar 8 oz (226 grams) minimum level (16 oz at max) <— we’ve accumulated a bit of a store of sugar… as it isnt berry season yet here we havent made in jams or preserves…. this ration will be put under more strain in the summer so a little stock piling isnt a bad thing.
  • Preserves 1 lb every 2 months (453 grams) at max level (80z pre month min level) <— like jams and honey

This preserve (jam) ration could be swapped for 1lb of sugar to make your own.

  • Tea 2 oz (56 grams) <— works out at about 16 tea bags per adult per week…. yes i really say there and worked that out lol. Coffee wasnt rationed, but few drank it… cant blame them, it was mostly chicory YUCK!
  • Eggs 1 fresh egg per week per adult, up to 3 per week per child (under 5) when available, 2 to expectant mothers. <— we would be entitled to 5 – 7 eggs per week… so we take an average 6 and buy a box of Large organic eggs per week.
  • Sweets/Candy 8oz per month minimum 16 oz maximum (12 oz every 4 weeks (340 grams) per person per month in april 1945)

As well as the above children under 5 and nursing/ expectant mothers would have received a vitamin enriched cordial (mostly orange) and, when available, and actual orange per week.

I buy a no sugar added blackcurrant cordial for the kids. Seeing as we have almost unlimited access to allot of vegetables (living almost rurally as well as near a larger city) vitamins arent a problem. Obviously people living rurally generally did better on and off rations than those in a larger town or city. Access to fresh vegetables, meat weather legitimately or black market would have been far better out here in our part of Yorkshire than in the middle of London.

In addition to this a points system was put in place which limited your purchase of tinned or imported goods.

16 points (24 at its peak) were available in your ration book every 4 weeks for tinned & dried foods …. that 16 points would enable you to purchase for instance, 1 can of tinned fish or 2lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas.

NEWLY ADDED JUNE 10th 2012 – Reguarding points rationing

A blunder on our part (well spotted Pamela) on how many rationing points we can actually have for a family of 5 means a reduction in tinned, boxed and packed goods. With what we thought were our points was a box of cereal, 2 to 3 tins of baked beans a tin of corned beef and a packet of raisins every 2 weeks or so. WHOOPS!

The points rationing system initially governed tinned meats and dried fruit and went on to incorporate most tinned goods and cereals (not including oats). Each person (including children) received 16 points per person per month (so 4 points a week in theory).

This means obviously, as a family of five, that we get 5 x 16 points = 80 points per month or 20 points per week.  Now from research we know that most tinned meats, dried fruit and tinned fish would have equalled your whole months ration of 16 points… but not every item used up all 16 points…. beans were classed as essential food so would they have ‘cost’ a whole months ration for 1 tin??? Unfortunately I cannot find the points ‘price’ for the 4 items we seem to buy regularly on points (but if i ever buy condensed milk I know it cost 10 points per tin).

So… because we have no accurate idea exactly how many points cereals etc would have cost we’re going to assume each item costs one unit of 16 points per item….. therefore we’re restricting our tin/ box/ dried fruit intake to 5 items per month….MATHS: 16 points per month x 5 people = 5 items per month…. or an item per week.

/// On an non-food related note… each person would have received four coupons each month for soap… 1 coupon could buy:

  • 4 oz (113 g) bar hard soap (used for everything from laundry to dishes)
  • 3 oz (85 g) bar toilet soap (regular soap you wash yourselves with)
  • 12 oz (14 g) No. 1 liquid soap (like washing up liquid, dish detergent)
  • 6 oz (170 g) soft soap
  • 3 oz (85 g) soap flakes (laundry)
  • 6 oz (170 g) soap powder (laundry)

I wince at the thought of choosing between washing my hair, my body or my clothes…. Im very glad modern conveniences and low priced soap means we dont HAVE TO chose.


13 responses to “*UPDATED* Rations per adult & per child

    • Yes. Even though they were smaller in size, children needed their full ration to stay healthy/ grow, where as adults would have needed it for health/ body repair. This wasnt always the case as rations could be sold on the blackmarket for money and all the rations were not always available. There is a particular advert (from ww2) that showsa large man and a smaller woman asking who needs the largest meat ration. The advert answers both, as both would be work hard and both would equally need the muscle feeding/ repairing protein.
      Children under 5 could sometimes get a little more… like 1 extra egg per week, vitamins, vitamin enriched squash and more milk.
      Vegetarians (very few during ww2) were given an extra cheese ration.

      • Thanks. I’ve been thinking of trying rationing with our family but wasn’t sure what the rations were for kids. I’m a vegetarian so I’m going to have to adapt the rations to fit that. I’ve been reading the blog 1940’s experiment too. The blogger started her rationing as a way to lose weight and has since gone vegan but still on rations! She has had to adapt it though to allow certain substitutes.
        I love your blog and i’m a regular visitor – keep it up!

      • Yep vegans and vegetarians were rare during ww2, so there are few authentic 40’s vegetarian recipes as such… however, due to the rationing and sometimes lack of meat, you had to learn how to cook/ eat a few completely veg meals per week. We actually consume one of the lower amounts of meat available during parts of the war…. rations started out higher at the beginning of the war and gradually got less and less as the war went on…. we take our meat ration amounts from the lower end, as 2 red meat meals are sufficient per week… then you add a veg meal, some fish, used you points (tinned meat) and perhaps some game (nice and lean) etc and thats more than enough.

        Its funny how some experiments/ projects etc can start with one motive but expand and grow as you get on.
        I love reading posts from the 1940s experiment and really that was a great boost to start this blog/ experiment seriously. Our motive to try this started of being more financial and has evolved as we have. We started trying to prove we could do better than survive on a low income and ended up finding a lot more about the food we eat. Locality and sustainability are a new focus for us at the moment, not only are they great things to take into account generally, but… they make the experiment more realistic.

  1. I’m a little confused by the points ration to be honest! It says 16 points per person every four weeks and that would get 1 tin or 2lb of dried fruit or 8lb of split peas but you buy 4 tins every week, a box of cereal and a packet of raisins. Should that not be 4 tins every month? Sorry – my brain is mashed trying to work it all out 🙂

    • EEEK YOURE RIGHT! Points are a funny business but well done, youve spotted what I havent…. [feels a right derrr), YEP YOURE RIGHT but point are a little different….. Im looking into it… because during some parts of the war up to 24 per person were allowed and different items ‘cost’ different points… hmmmm more research 😛

  2. LOL! I wondered why it didn’t add up, I thought it was just me and my pathetic maths skills…:) I think I’ll stick to the main rations for now and wait for your research – I think my family would have something to say about if they could only have 2 tins of beans and 2 of tomatoes every month!

  3. Thank you for including the soap information here! I’ve been researching rationing (food, clothes and household essentials) for some time now as I am interested in the link between consumption and its impact on natural resources. That said, cutting down, growing your own, making your own is actually more fun anyway…

    • so true, I’ve noticed from week to week as I buy the vegetables and fruit (from a local grocer) that theres less and less locally sourced items… most coming from Spain, France and south America at the moment. More people need to consume produce grown locally to them, this encourages local farmers to produce and so there’s more variety. The money also stays within your area…. so everyone’s winning. Obviously buying French/ Spanish fruit then does not benefit the local producers of fruit, or veg and so your apples, courgettes, strawberries… and well anything and everything is picked before its ripe and bounced through cold storage until it arrives in our stores. Apart from it harming local production the fruit itself is also not at its best (think pithy apples, watery tomatoes and tasteless strawberries). Items picked close to home are picked when ripe so you get the best quality fruit wise and vitamin wise… a lot of these fruit/ veg also encourage insects etc to reside in the UK.
      During WW2 most of the UKs food was imported, this meant using every available patch of garden, village green etc to grow enough food to feed britain.

  4. Hiya

    Love your blog

    I’ve a question about fruit and veg…..

    Do you shop at the supermarket and only buy stuff that’s been grown in uk?

    Or are you much more ‘local’ than that??



    • We only buy fruit/ veg that’s in season and grown in the UK. If local (in our town) grocer gets in fruit/ veg from with our area, we buy there… if he has nothing we buy from supermarkets… but ALWAYS items from within the UK and ONLY items in season. The more local the better, as they’re fresh, picked at just the right time, and haven’t had to spend time in cold storage travelling.

  5. Love your blog! Been thinking about doing a similar thing here in America, although our rationing wasn’t as strict. Where do you get your information on rations per adult/child? I can only find basic info on things like sugar.

  6. We had to live on war rations for 6 years – it was the only way we could feed ourselves. To all intents and purposes with the exception of cheese and occasionally tea and butter, we still stick to them out of force of habit. Didn’t do us any harm, saved us money and we felt very fit.

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