Weight Loss Support - Conflicted mom cries for help




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emid78
07-27-2013, 07:35 PM
I want so badly to get myself motivated but can't seem to get there. I need to get myself into that mental state. My daughter, who's 15, just had a physical and the doctor was very concerned. She is 5'1 and weighs 180lbs!!! That's 50lbs less than me. I always knew she was "thick" but now I am more concerned then ever. We went for blood work today because the doctor was concerned with diabetes or even thyroid disease. I am scared for her. I do not want her to go through her teen years like me and have all of those insecurities. I see it with her when we are shopping for clothes. It really hurts. Another concern I have is that my income supports 6 people. And we do get help from food stamps, which only lasts maybe 2 weeks. And I coupon as much as possible. I have twins that are ADHD and look malnourished. Their doctors said they need to eat more fatty foods to bulk up. I can't afford to buy healthy and fatty. Sadly, fatty foods are cheaper and last longer in my house. Fruits and veggies are expensive and do not last at all. A pound of apples only lasts maybe one serving each in my house. I am so conflicted :?:. I would love to just buy healthy all the time but even if I add cash to my groceries, it still wouldn't be enough. Not to mention I am a horrible cook. I can barely follow a recipe and everyone in my house is picky.

I want my daughter and I to get healthy. I want to succeed and help her do the same.

How to I get in that mindset? How do I buy and prepare healthy food that everyone will enjoy and is affordable. Remember, I feed 6 so I pretty much have to double whatever I buy to make sure there's enough.


MissSMcC
07-27-2013, 07:47 PM
I live in Scotland so food available and pricing is a little different here, but how about things like beans and pulses? tinned kidney beans etc with tomatoes and spices can make a great homemade chili, and is full of nutrients. with the economic downturn a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet and put healthy nutritious food on the table, I am not sure but I would guess there are some frugal cookbooks or maybe even online recipes? I would try a google search for 'easy cooking on a budget'. and I know you say you're not a cook but maybe there are some simple recipes as well. good luck :)

TammiL
07-27-2013, 08:20 PM
I'm sorry but I don't really buy the whole we don't have the money. I grew up dirt poor and still live without much money. I have 27 dollars to last until the end of the month, but you had better believe we always have fruits and veggies in the house. Ifyour daughter is sick then you do everything, and I mean everything you can. If your kid had cancer you would do everything you could to help. You probably will get mad at me and tell me how wrong I am. But I'm sick of seeing people say they can't do for their kids. Try to get her on track with a nutritionist and plain out your meals so everything goes as far as it can.


TheSecondHalf
07-27-2013, 10:14 PM
I'm sorry but I don't really buy the whole we don't have the money. I grew up dirt poor and still live without much money. I have 27 dollars to last until the end of the month, but you had better believe we always have fruits and veggies in the house. Ifyour daughter is sick then you do everything, and I mean everything you can. If your kid had cancer you would do everything you could to help. You probably will get mad at me and tell me how wrong I am. But I'm sick of seeing people say they can't do for their kids. Try to get her on track with a nutritionist and plain out your meals so everything goes as far as it can.

Have a little compassion. It sounds like this one person is supporting and feeding five other people - that's a lot of TIME as well as money. It's easy to just go with super cheap convenience food, especially if you don't know how to cook. It's a risk to try new things and invest the bulk of your budget in fresh foods if you're afraid they either a. won't get eaten or b. won't last.

"When I was a kid" doesn't really apply anymore. Grocery prices have skyrocketed and fresh foods are FAR more expensive than they used to be - and people don't always know what to do with them.

Its not IMPOSSIBLE to cook healthy and cheap, but if you don't know where to start then what do you do? YOU ASK. Just like this mom is doing.

I have a lot of thoughts on this and some links I'd like to share but as it turns out, it's bedtime at my house (YAY! it crept up on me) and I have kids to get to bed. I'll be back later with some useful (I hope!) info.

In the meantime, emid78, do you have a Pinterest account? I have found soooo many cheap and easy crock pot recipes there.

rubidoux
07-27-2013, 11:54 PM
I agree, TammiL, that was a little rough. I don't think OP is saying that she's going to ignore her dd's problems. I think she's looking for constructive advice.

I wish I had some good advice for you Emil. I will say that since I've been seriously dieting, I spend a lot less on my own food than on everyone else. And when I cheat, I am always shocked at how much it costs me to eat crap.

One thing I noticed was that you draw a dichotomy between healthy and fatty, but fat can be very healthy. My diet is 85% fat and my doctors, shocked though they were for a while, are now looking at my test results and saying I shouldn't change a thing. I'm not saying you guys should do my diet, but you might be able to come up with something healthy and satisfying.

amandie
07-28-2013, 12:05 AM
Nut butter is a perfect fatty food, you can make your own with nuts in bulk if you have a food processor. Many beans can be made into dips like hummus, refried beans, garlic or whatever flavor you choose or just leave it by itself and add it to meals. I even have used beans in baked sweets in place of flour. Eggs in bulk are good too.

I definitely second crockpot meals or large casseroles like brown rice, beans, and a ton of simple veggies with a bit of meat. Very easy and you cannot screw it up. You can even make your own yogurt in the crockpot- fat free, low fat or full fat- your choice! Good luck.

kaplods
07-28-2013, 01:30 AM
I'm sorry but I don't really buy the whole we don't have the money. I grew up dirt poor and still live without much money. I have 27 dollars to last until the end of the month, but you had better believe we always have fruits and veggies in the house. Ifyour daughter is sick then you do everything, and I mean everything you can. If your kid had cancer you would do everything you could to help. You probably will get mad at me and tell me how wrong I am. But I'm sick of seeing people say they can't do for their kids. Try to get her on track with a nutritionist and plain out your meals so everything goes as far as it can.


You've been lucky. The availability of affordable, healthy, wholesome food is not universal. Generally, folks living in rural, semi-rural, and suburban areas, even at the lowest poverty levels have more access to affordable, wholesome foods than do people in urban areas.

I'm not saying this as a personal excuse, because for the most part, I've been lucky too. My husband and I went through a rough patch when our monthly budget for food routinely fell between $25 and $45 for the entire month. We weren't eligible for assistance as our income was too high (but our medical and medications expenses were quite high).

For anyone who thinks eating healthy is easy on any budget, anywhere, I'd like to give them $50 for the month and set them up in a dangerous urban neighborhood with no vehicle, where the only food sources within walking distance are fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

Thankfully, I've never been in that position, but I did work with people who were. It was my job to help people access community services, and it wasn't always as easy as you might think.


To OP: that doesn't mean your situation is hopeless, it's just going to take effort, creativity, and sacrifice on everyone's part.

Fear is going to be the biggest obstacle, especially the fear of new foods. Pickiness is something everyone in the family is going to have to work at overcoming.

It will be difficult to overcome the fear and aversion to strange foods, but food is going to be your medicine and medicine doesn't always taste good.

This advice is somewhat controversial. It even got a recent thread shut down, but when you are dealing with poverty AND health problems there really isn't any other choice.

You can buy healthy food that everyone can eat. Those who need the extra fat and carbs can add them at the table.

Growing up as an overweight kid in a large lower middle class family, my underweight brother and thin father and grandfather ate extra helpings and buttered bread. My mother, grandmother and I generally ate the same meals, even when we were dieting, but without the higher calorie extras.

Exchange plan and calorie counting are convenient ways to gain or lose weight. Exchange plans make grocery shopping easier.

There are TONS of money saving tips in the shoestring meals forum. Frugal living sites online and frugal living books like The Complete Tightwad Gazette are full of tips. Not every or even most of the tips will be useful to you, but even so, you'll find ideas and inspiration you can use.

Involve the kids in the planning, shopping, and food preparation/cooking. Research has shown that kids AND adults are more open to trying foods they've helped prepare.

Cooking skills are built on practice. It's pretty much impossible to find food that's cheap, easy, and healthy. Two out of three is usually the best you can do.

Since you need cheap and healthy, that's going to eliminate easy. You and your children are going to have to work, sacrifice, and learn.

It'll be hard at first, but tastebuds really CAN be retrained.

Electro
07-28-2013, 02:22 AM
I always enjoy reading Kaplods advice - it generally contains a lot of common sense.

Re the kids being picky. Don't stress too much about that, they are picky because they can be. If they are served things that they do not like they will intially refuse and behave badly, but they will not starve. The thing to do is be consistent, put together as good a variety of food as your skill allows then they will eat enough of something to stay healthy, even though it may not seem like enough at every meal.

Though it may seem as though you are being the worst parent in the world for the first few weeks (and it is likely that they will tell you this) they will get used to it. It helps if they know what is going on and why the changes are happening (for those old enough to take it on). As time goes on the long term changes in habits will definately offset any short term deficiencies. They will eat what you put in front of them - eventually.

You have at least one child old enough to help out as she is 15 years old, as a child we all knew how to cook at least one family mealand from a very young age we would do so every week or so. It let my parents continue to work late hours on a regular basis. Spaghetti bolognaise for instance is quick, easy and hard to stuff up. The sauce can be made ahead of time and is useful for a wide range of recipes and the mince can be extended by adding grated vegetables like carrots so that less feeds more and it is more nutrious (the kids don't tend to notice the vege in there).

Stir fry is also fast and mainly needs preparation work like chopping. Again hard to get wrong and you can use coupons to get flavour packs when they are on special. They have lots of vegs and help stretch out cheap meats easily, especially when served on a bed of rice.

The idea would be to have a basic healthy meal for everyone to share, frozen vegetables are a handy and easy option as they can just be microwaved ready for serving. Lean protein as the main component can come from the freezer as well - cook large batches once or twice a week and freeze ready for the nights you will be too busy to prepare.

Pre-made sauces will hide the blandness of the flavours or mistakes that are made and allow the kids to individualise the food you provide. Learn a few recipes, they do not have to be fancy, and do them regularly. This allows you to cook extra when you have time if you have the freezer space for them. If not you can cook enough for two meals at a time, serve one and put the other in the fridge for tomorrow. It will be boring, but will save time and energy for you. Boring can still be healthy and generally tends to be cheaper.

For those who need high energy foods use easy sides like rice, pasta or legumes and again, cook extra for the next meal so you do not have to cook every night. They all keep and reheat easily and store well for long periods of time. They act as a filler in the same way as extra bread does for the active ones. Even sandwiches would be healthier than a lot of the fast food options and are quick and easy.

This will allow you to cook one meal with two or three easy components and lots of just needing to heat up things. Each person choses what they need from what is on offer and after a while it will become easy and natural. It also means you will have family meals more regularly which makes for better relationships all around.

Changing habits is estimated to take about 3 months to do so be prepared for at least that long for it to really take effect.

You have a lot happening around you and it sounds like there are limited supports. I hope things improve for you and that you do settle into a new routine. Good luck!

emid78
07-28-2013, 07:32 AM
Thanks for all of the great advice everyone. And even for the honest, cut the crap approach from TammiL. Although I do not agree 100%, I was not really offended. Sometimes tough love is the best approach.

I have been doing some research on healthy meal ideas and I did find some good ones. I am also going to buy some healthy alternatives at the store during my next shopping trip. Maybe switch out the chips for pretzels or popcorn. Ground turkey instead of ground beef.

I am hoping that once my daughter and I get started and start seeing results, we will continue and not turn back. I really need to focus so I can lead the way for her. Again, I just need to get my mind there and stop making excuses.

Electro
07-28-2013, 07:36 AM
Good luck and I hope it works out for you! Things can be tough at times, but this can draw people closer. Making popcorn together is great family fun.

snowlilly
07-28-2013, 09:07 AM
Try air popped popcorn as an alternative to the buttery one. It may be slightly less tasty, but it's a ton more healthy.

shcirerf
07-28-2013, 10:29 AM
You can pop popcorn in a skillet with no oil on your stove. You just need to shake the skillet back and forth so the popcorn won't burn. Then, I spritz with a bit of cooking spray, like Pam and add a touch of salt. It's really good and a sack of popcorn is cheap and goes a long way!

sacha
07-28-2013, 10:37 AM
Emid, can you give us an example of what you serve in your house in a day? 6 people is a lot but maybe people can offer suggestions based on that.

jiffypop
07-28-2013, 10:46 AM
emid - check out this forum http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/shoestring-meals-235/ LOTS of great ides. as for the snacks, around here, a 1-pound jar of unpopped corn runs about 1.49 or so on sale and has about a zillion servings in it. the store brand microwave bags have anywhere from 4 to 6 little microwave bags in it for about 1.29.

takes a little effort to heat up the pot, and even 1/3 cup of unpopped kernels yields way more than i can eat. So, i haul out the tupperware collection and shake different seasonings over each container - chili powder, or garlic powder, curry powder, or fresh pepper, or whatever.

remember - these changes will take some time and experimentation and thought. BTW, in some states, food stamps and other food support can be used at farmers markets. just plan carefully - and ask the farmers if they have any overripe fruit. they often have some in the truck, and they'll sell it to you at a discount. use them within a day or two [cook into fruit compote or bake into a pie or cobbler or something with only a little sugar]. or cut it up and freeze for later.

Wannabeskinny
07-28-2013, 10:48 AM
I really feel for you. Do you have a partner? Maybe he/she can help along with the meal planning as well?

My suggestion is that you cut out this picky eater stuff right now. The solution to that is a lot simpler than continuing on with the pickiness. Offer a meal, and if someone refuses it they can't eat anything else instead. They might go to bed hungry a few times but believe me, they won't starve themselves. Make meal time family team. That means turn off the tv and sit together to eat. Have everyone participate with the cooking, prepping, setting the table, and clean up. This really needs to be a family event.

Fat is not bad, but there are a lot of things that can contribute to a teenager's weight gain. Most often those things are soda, juice, sweets, and too many carby snacks like chips and cookies. I know that it seems like if you deny these things to your daughter that she'll be jealous if the little ones get it. But in fact you'll be doing everyone a service by cutting them out of everyone's diet. This is no way for kids to eat at any weight. Your daughter's diet shouldn't be any different than the other kids' diet. Everyone should have healthy snacks to eat no matter how much they weight.

Fresh food is a bummer and doesn't keep well.... so eat it before it goes bad!! Cut out dessert and replace it with fruit instead.

With your daughter, tell her you want to lose weight and you NEED her help. Choose an exercise program you can do together. Children are so motivated to help their parents, if she things you're going out on a walk together so that she helps you she'll go with bells on. And it will be special bonding time.

I know this is a lot of stuff and advice but I hope some of it helps. Another thing I would look into is being more active as a family. How much tv time can you eliminate and go to the park instead? What activities can you do together that are not sedantary? It's these little changes that make the biggest difference.

suzukigurl
07-28-2013, 12:04 PM
Good morning, I've been thinking about your post for a few days and just wanted to add a few things that I hope can help you. Some you may already be doing or other may not be possible but maybe something can help a little :D

First I noticed you said the dr is concerned and is running tests on your daughter so she may not have any medical conditions at this time. Only the tests will be able to determine that, at her height and weight she becomes it risk for many things but that still doesn't mean she has any of them. She is young so she has that going for her! Either way the if they find anything or not the weight needs to be a major focus and it looks like you already know that.

Before I give some of my food ideas, I wanted to mention exercise! And the great thing about exercise is it can be FREE and could incorporate the entire family or just you two. Walking, playing ball (sounds like you have a big enough family to have a mini basketball team lol) you can find workout DVDs at thrift stores or garage sales cheep, swimming at a public beach in the summer, bike rides if you all have a bike available, cans of food can be light weights and so on.... If your daughter is diabetic exercise is something that the dr will defiantly recommend for her to help control her sugars anyway.

On to food, many times it depends on what is available to you in your area so it is hard to say just do this and you'll be fine. Dollar stores can be a great resource when money is tight, you will be surprised what you can find there, I have even heard some dollar stores carry fresh produce and if you can't find the healthy stuff there it may be a resource for some of the fattier foods for your other children. There are even a few dollar stores here that take coupons and food stamps. In my county people who are on food stamps may also be eligible for farmers market checks, where the county gives you a voucher to use at farm stands to get fresh healthy foods maybe where you live offers something similar (doesn't hurt to check). Have you considered growing any of your own veggies? Again not sure if it possible for you and will not be an instant source of food but maybe something for next season... It already sounds like you coupon and shop sales but most stores have varied fruits and veggies or fresh lean meats on sale from week to week, buy what you can when you can find good deals. Since you are not a master chef I have found my George Forman grill is a great fast and easy way to make many meats chicken breast, turkey burgers etc, and healthier since they are not sitting in the fat that is being cooked off the meat. Again another item to keep an eye out for at a thrift store, garage sale or maybe even ebay.

Best of luck, and positive energy to you and your family, change is never easy but sometimes just plain necessary! :hug:

jessicado22
07-28-2013, 12:23 PM
We started doing freezer meals last year and our food budget dropped by hundreds. Look up freezer meals on pinterest -- there are so many results. We buy bulk at the beginning of each month. This seems expensive, but if you stagger purchases, it is actually cheaper in the long run and eventually you will have versatility built up. For example, one month buy chicken, the next ground turkey, etc. Then bag up meals -- enchiladas, stir fry, etc. If you look up dump recipes for the crock pot -- they are so EASY!!!!! You literally just put some chicken in with a few ingredients. If you don't have a crock pot yet, try a thrift store. They make cooking so easy.

The greatest part about this, is although you spend pretty much an entire day cooking and preparing everything -- from then on dinner is just pull out and heat. Makes daily dinner time fast and hassle free!

Of course, this would only work with a family of 6 if you have a separate freezer... Another great freezer option to make sure you get your fruit is premade smoothie packs. Just buy fruit in bulk and then assemble it all (again great smoothie recipes on pinterest), and pull a baggie out each day to make your smoothie. If you want to get really healthy, I have one each day with yogurt, oatmeal and spinach. But if you are a newbie, plain fruit smoothies taste just like a desert!

I know how hard it is to fall into life patterns, but seeing what is happening to your daughter must be great motivation. At 15, you've only got a few years to help her change engrained bad habits. It can be a journey for both of you together -- a bonding experience! (Especially if she helps you on preparation of food together). And you won't have something to feel guilty about in the long run.

Other options are often local farming groups will offer produce baskets for low income. Good luck!

emid78
07-28-2013, 01:09 PM
Emid, can you give us an example of what you serve in your house in a day? 6 people is a lot but maybe people can offer suggestions based on that.

We make spaghetti with meat sauce and a lot of chicken meals. Sometimes, if on sale, I will buy 2-3 steaks and cut each in half. Sometimes tacos. Potatoes, corn, rice a roni or pasta roni. There are times I come home from work and don't feel like cooking so we do frozen pizzas or chicken nuggets and fries.

I plan on exchanging ground beef for ground turkey and incorporating more veggies. I think the key is to follow recipes better so these veggies taste better for the kids. I have a couple kids that like corn, and others that don't. One that will only eat corn and cauliflower. But nothing else. He is my pickiest. Doesn't even like rice or tacos, unless chicken.

I've been surfing the web for healthy recipes and trying to create a grocery list based on that. Usually when I shop, I am in a hurry so I grab what I can. I need to plan a menu for the week, get my coupons out and stick to it.

I am slowly getting my head where it needs to be.

dcapulet
07-28-2013, 01:42 PM
You've been lucky. The availability of affordable, healthy, wholesome food is not universal. Generally, folks living in rural, semi-rural, and suburban areas, even at the lowest poverty levels have more access to affordable, wholesome foods than do people in urban areas.



^ This. As someone who lived in NY for over 30 years, I can tell you first hand that the amount of fruits and vegetables that are low-cost is NON-EXISTENT (where we lived). $4 for a head of wilted lettuce was the norm.

Thank you to those who understand that what is available in some places is not available all places. OP- best of luck to you.

sacha
07-28-2013, 01:48 PM
We make spaghetti with meat sauce and a lot of chicken meals. Sometimes, if on sale, I will buy 2-3 steaks and cut each in half. Sometimes tacos. Potatoes, corn, rice a roni or pasta roni. There are times I come home from work and don't feel like cooking so we do frozen pizzas or chicken nuggets and fries.

I plan on exchanging ground beef for ground turkey and incorporating more veggies. I think the key is to follow recipes better so these veggies taste better for the kids. I have a couple kids that like corn, and others that don't. One that will only eat corn and cauliflower. But nothing else. He is my pickiest. Doesn't even like rice or tacos, unless chicken.

I've been surfing the web for healthy recipes and trying to create a grocery list based on that. Usually when I shop, I am in a hurry so I grab what I can. I need to plan a menu for the week, get my coupons out and stick to it.

I am slowly getting my head where it needs to be.

The book by Jessica Seinfeld was a bit of a godsend to me as I have a picky eater as well, he is not diagnosed with ADHD (yet- he is 3 and we are currently under evaluation) so focusing on diet is really important as you are already aware, certain foods increase the behaviours associated.

I'm not in the same financial boat (I don't live in the US so I don't know your prices) but using baby food (yes baby food!) and other cheap fresh vegetables that keep well (cabbage - winter squashes) can be mixed into things like plain tomato sauce without them even realizing.

I found the book for $4 at a used bookstore, I'm sure there are cheap versions on Amazon. The books are based on typical "kid" food. Also great is the book Clean Eating for Kids by Tosca Reno. Again, stuff like spaghetti or muffins but healthier options without them knowing.

My oldest is only 3 so I can't pretend to understand, just want to give you a hug.

sacha
07-28-2013, 01:52 PM
And I don't know how you feel about this, but my mom also practiced what is now known as 'freegan' lifestyle. Basically, on the mornings the grocery stores used to put out their veggies when they were 'past perfect' and still very edible, she used to go to the back of the store and ask to take them home. I know some stores won't do this, but some might. Just a thought. I know some find it 'wrong', but that is how we ate fresh foods with a dirt poor budget.

sacha
07-28-2013, 01:55 PM
Another book recommendation (sorry- although I'm sure these are all available free at a library, there are no English libraries where I live so I don't know) is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman which is basically a giant thick red book on - well, what the title says! It teaches you right from scratch, down to butchering your own chicken (huge price difference- for me, $1-2/kilo whole chicken is $12-17/kilo chicken breast!!!!!), how to make something like cauliflower rice, and how to select vegetables in proper season but last a very long time.

CanadianMomma
07-29-2013, 04:08 AM
emid78 I just wanted to pipe in. I know when I was a teenager and overweight it wasn't really from what my Mom was putting on the table. A lot of the time it has to do with learning about proper portions, and like another poster says, limiting the amount of sugary drinks and starchy snacks. So maybe while you are working towards offering your children healthier meals you can work with your daughter about understanding healthier portion sizes at the same time?

Also I wanted to add; learning to cook isn't easy, especially if you have no background in it. I am a cook by trade and have graduated from culinary school and I love telling people that I was the worst cook most of my life. I tried to hard boil eggs in a microwave once. Learning to cook is just a matter of practice and figuring out what works for you and your family. Stick with it and before long you'll be amazed at how far you've come.

emid78
08-02-2013, 07:40 AM
My daughters test results came back, for the most part, normal. Her vitamin D levels are low and hemoglobin A1C1 is slightly elevated but hopefully will a little diet and exercise, that will subside. I had planned to let her walk in the morning with my son, while I am at work but I just got a letter in the mail that a level 3 sex offender moved in across the street. Just another obstacle that we need to come up with a solution to. The whole neighbor thing is another story. That makes me so MAD and there is nothing I can do. I know, I tried. My community used to rank in the top 10 safest in the country. What happened??????

I did some grocery shopping yesterday. Bought more fruits and veggies then I normally would and less junk. Spent more than I wanted to and the grapes are gone already. See nothing lasts here. But I do want to say that I found a couple of healthy recipes on www.allrecipes.com. Last night I made chicken & garlic, with cilantro and lime juice. Although some of the chicken was a little thicker than I would have liked, it actually tasted good. You mean I cooked something right?? No one ended scraping any in the garbage. I also made roasted red potatoes, another recipe I found, and they came out really good too. And lastly a bag of frozen mixed veggies that were steamed. I have to say that I am proud of that meal. I guess if I put my mind to it and take my time, I can actually prepare a decent meal.

Thanks for all the support.

tricon7
08-02-2013, 10:15 AM
Is there a way you can get a Sam's Club membership? We couldn't afford one, either, but my father-in-law joined and he was allowed an extra card for a family member, so he gave it to us; no charge. Evidently a membership comes with an extra card. Perhaps someone you know well has one you could have? Or do you have a church or group that might chip in for you? We get a lot of bulk items there that cost waaay cheaper than anywhere else. Things like eggs, milk, cheese, meat, peanut butter, etc, etc. A quart of olive oil is something like six bucks! I don't know if they sell fruit there (my wife does the shopping), but if they did, so much the better.

I'll add that some of the things we buy - like string cheese - get gobbled up fast by my kids. Too fast. They don't understand that it has to last all week, and they're too young to know how to ration it for the week. Perhaps doing this yourself may spread it out longer?

Munchy
08-02-2013, 11:46 AM
Emid, I feel for you. It's hard to cook on a budget, let alone a household of different tastes. I'm a single mom and definitely cut corners wherever I can. Freezer meals help me save money so I'm not wasting time/energy (cooking once for many, many servings), not wasting food (cooking it before it goes bad), and I feel good knowing I'm serving healthy food that I made with my own hands. Incorporating the veggies is great because it stretches your meat, which is often the most expensive part of a meal!

With my daughter, I usually cook things that would be considered "kid-friendly," but I incorporate vegetables. I've done it since she was born, but I serve the same food to any other kids (and adults!) that happen to be around, and it always is well-received.

For example, I make cauliflower cheese sauce for her mac and cheese, (something like this (http://www.eatori.com/2013/06/truffled-lowish-fat-cauliflower-mac-and-cheese.html) but I don't add the extra florets of cauliflower) and sometimes do half macaroni/half small chopped broccoli.

I make squash chicken nuggets: Mix 1lb ground chicken, 2 grated yellow squash (squeeze water out) and 1 egg. I season with a bit of adobo, but you can use salt, pepper, whatever you want. Form into chicken nugget shapes, bread in whole wheat panko, and bake at 425 on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet for about 15 mins, turning over once during cooking.

Or zucchini turkey meatballs: mix 1lb ground turkey, 2 grated zucchini (squeeze water out), 1 egg, grated Parmesan and Italian breadcrumbs, I use adobo seasoning too, form into meatballs and bake at 425 for about 15 mins.

For freezing: Let cool and use a spatula to make sure the nuggets/meatballs are not stuck to the cookie sheet. Freeze on the cookie sheet for about four hours or until solid. Transfer the food into labeled freezer bags. This way you can take out as many as you want at a time and they're not stuck together. You can microwave them, use a pan, or even the oven before serving.

Tacos are healthy! Can you add beans into your turkey taco meat or chopped chicken? If you're using flour tortillas, you may want to just check for a lower calorie option like La Tortilla Factory smart and delicious line (http://www.latortillafactory.com/all-products.aspx) or Ole Wellness High Fiber (http://www.olemexicanfoods.com/high-fiberlow-carb-8-wraps/).

My daughter also loves corn tortilla quesadillas, but only cheese/black bean, which I gladly give her with a simple side of tomato salad (chopped tomato, olive oil, fresh cracked salt and pepper), and corn. I find that burrito/enchiladas are a great way to chop up any and all veggies and add in. You can even freeze them ahead of time by cooking the filling, rolling it up, freezing on a cookie sheet, then putting them into a large freezer bag when frozen.

If your kids like anything with ground beef, something I like to do is pulse mushrooms (1lb meat with 1 package of mushroom - 10oz?) and cook them together. Even my father who falsely claims allergy to mushrooms never knows they're there. You can use this trick for burgers, tacos, sloppy joes, shepherds pie, etc. I saw this sloppy joe (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/06/sloppy-joes-plus/) recipe which I haven't tried, but it may be an option.

Burgers are another great option. Just finely shred or pulse any vegetable you want into it. You will be surprised at how nobody notices them, especially if the colors are the same.

You can make "fries" out of almost any vegetable and kids will eat them up, but oven fries are really not that unhealthy if you're not overloading them with oil. How about loaded baked potatoes with center cut or turkey bacon, cauliflower/cheese sauce, broccoli, and light sour cream or plain greek yogurt?

My daughter also loves pizzas on flatbread, flour tortillas or pitas. Kids love to put their own sauce (I cook large batches of tomato sauce and put one jar in the fridge and the rest in the freezer), cheese, and toppings onto them. I just look for the breads that have more fiber and protein and fewer calories and carbs. The tortillas I linked above, Flatout light (http://www.flatoutbread.com/products/flatout-wraps/flatout-light/light-original/), Trader Joe's wholegrain pitas (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=1049) are some of the brands we use.

http://www.skinnytaste.com/ is one of the best blogs for healthy eating if you're looking for ideas. Every single recipe I've made from there has been delicious, and I'm sure I've made at least 30 different ones over the past few years.

Snacks we have at home are baby carrots, chopped cucumbers, grape tomatoes (all can be dipped in a lower cal ranch or hummus), popcorn, any and all fruits, nuts, jerky, yogurt or banana ice cream (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-w-93414).

You can do this! It will take a little transition time, but it's better late than never.

NJChick78
08-02-2013, 01:05 PM
Try food banks. Also if you have a produce only store... the one near me is called Produce Junction. Today I got tons of Vegs for $20. 5lbs potatoes were 1.50, 5lbs bananas $2

girlzmom
08-02-2013, 02:18 PM
Glad to hear your daughters tests came back good. Low Vit D is common for most of us and is easy to supplement. I so understand your struggle. I feed 8 people in my house and everyone has different likes and dislikes. The price of fresh fruit and vegetables is expensive when compared to ramen noodle packs and mac n cheese. Like at your house, fruit doesn't last long, but that is good. I know my kids like fresh fruit and canned also. Vegetables are trickier and a meal doesn't go by without someone complaining that they don't like something I've included. Over the years, I've become a pretty good cook, but my kids would still prefer a frozen pizza or ramen noodles than most of my meals. We don't have soda in the house and only one or two times a month have juice. They mostly drink water and few drink milk. Carrots are inexpensive and can be used in cooking and as a raw snack. If you have a blender, smoothies are usually well liked by kids and you can add a small amount of fresh spinach. They will complain about the color, but the fruit really hides the taste and all but the most stubborn will drink it. Before my family got so big, I rarely cooked. Out of necessity, I've had to make cooking my main hobby. When we had TV, I watched cooking shows and I also use the internet for recipes, food blogs and videos. Although it takes time and energy, which I know you are always short on with as many people as you are responsible for, you and your daughter can take up cooking as a hobby together. There will be meals that most people like and meals that no one likes. I know you and your daughter want to lose weight, but a little butter on your steamed vegetables isn't that bad and the fat actually helps the body absorb more of the vitamins. When the weather is cooler, many vegetable like cauliflower and broccoli are really tasty roasted in the oven. Cooking can be enjoyable and affordable when you cut back on snacks and microwave foods. Just remind yourself, it's because you love your kids even though they will think you are trying to torture them. Savor the times they say they like what you cooked. It's hard to compete with big food manufactures. They have billions of dollars to make their foods irresistible.

Lecomtes
08-02-2013, 04:15 PM
Many great ideas here!
OP, I feel for you. Feeding a family healthy food on a budget is so hard. One idea that I didn't already see offered is testing out more vegetarian dishes, meals without meat are often less expensive to prepare. A few ideas...
Aloo Gobi (Indian cauliflower & potatoes)...my favorite. :)
Vegetarian curry w/ rice
Spagetti squash with mushrooms, basil, and tomato sauce
Black bean burgers
Eggplant Parm
Yaki Soba noodles with veggies
Vegetarian lasagna

For those nights when you're too tired to cook (what mama hasn't had a few *hundred* of those! lol) maybe you could keep a stock of whole wheat pizza crusts on hand and have the kiddos deck it out with their choice of veggies, cheese and sauce and throw it in the oven for 10 minutes.

Good luck! :D

patns
08-02-2013, 10:05 PM
See you can cook! Good for you. As someone suggested if you can afford it, invest in a crock pot. Not hard to cook at all with them and you can make quite large healthy meals with them.
Your daughter is at an ideal age to learn about healthy food choices and could look for healthy recipes online that she could try herself.

dimarie
08-02-2013, 10:40 PM
Hi Emid!

I know its a struggle to actually start a new diet and eating right plus the economical issue, but believe me if all of you sat down and talked about it and all aproved it would be easyer on you. I gained almost 100 pounds in less then 2 years because a depression i was strugling with and what i allways used as an excuse (not saying that you are) was that i didnt have the money nor the time to go to the vegeterian markets and buy food there becasue they are so expensive .... turns out i started dieting 3 weeks ago and i make a list of my 3 meals a day ... and you know what? is not as expensive as i thought =P i allways save $50 for my grocerie shopping i eat oatmeal in the morning and a piece of whole bread, a vegeterian salad for lunch and a fruit cocktail for dinner and i drink about 64oz of water everyday plus i drink 8 oz of water with one yellow lime (no sugar) every morning . I dont eat that everyday tho i change plates from day to day i also try to take proteins in my food and keep my calories down to 1,400 calories per day tops and i feel much better . The key here is for all of you to come to an agreement really if you all do it it will be easyer and as for your twins if you get them to eat healthy plus giving them the vitamins they need they will be ok. You and your daughter should exercise to like taking walks or riding a bicycle that would give you time to spend with her aswell ;) And i tell you again its hard to do the change but when you finally do it, you will see how easy and convenient it really is .... Plus the meals are so easy to do it wont take more than 30 minutes . In here you will see a lot of ppl trying to give yoiu advise from comparing theyr lives to yours or saying ived been there done that but that wont help and you may even feel a bit annoyed y it cuse many are not getting at the stress level your problem is at .... But all begins in your mind if you can change yours and your famillys in to thinking ... "Hey! Eating right is much better!" you will be able to do it :D P.S if you need anything else you are more than wellcome to mesege me good luck :)

NBbluesea
08-02-2013, 11:46 PM
I feel so sorry for you & your kid. However a Mom who can support another 5 persons seems to be strong enough to find a way out of this situation. Do not lose your motivation...ever.
I live in Egypt, & vegetables are cheap, yet we cook it in a very unhealthy way. Just try to find healthier ways to cook whatever you have (grains, poultry, meat...etc) & try to replace meat with poultry if you can (meat is the most expensive type of food here in Egypt). Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts are versatile & there are plenty of healthy recipes out there.

I'm not a good cook too, but through trial & error you will eventually be a good cook. Just use little quantities of good fats (vegetable oils are good source of good fats) & try to limit junk foods as much as you can, even if they are cheap.

The most important thing is to start a healthy "life style" BIT by BIT. Do not rush into ALL these healthy things directly. Just do one healthy tip after the other, gradually, so you won't lose your motivation & off course not to destroy your budget .

Keep it up & never give up & am sure you will find the way.

AwShucks
08-03-2013, 12:26 AM
I second getting your daughter involved in the cooking, and any of the other kids that are interested and old enough. Kids usually like eating something they have a vested interest in.

Start now making a binder with all of your new successful recipes (I have faith there will be more!) I hate it when I make a new dish, then can't find the recipe again. Soon enough, they will become committed to memory, but in the beginning, it helps to keep them all together.

I also want to mention frozen veggies. A little water, salt & pepper, and some dehydrated onion added to a bag of frozen green beans makes a pretty good side dish -- 10-12oz bags can be found for under $1 in my area.

Also, protein snacks will keep the kids full longer than chips, crackers, etc. One of my local stores has low sugar, low carb flavored yogurt cups 10 for $4, and everyone could choose their own flavor!

Cheese sticks are good, but I found that if I buy the same Sargento cheddar cheese in individually wrapped sticks as opposed to a bag of slices (same ounces) it's actually about $.70 cents more expensive. Guess which one I buy? :)

Eating healthy, even for one person, takes a lot of thought and planning. Your kids are lucky to have a mom that's going to be building meals with their optimum health in mind. Best of luck to you!