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Old 07-27-2013, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default Conflicted mom cries for help

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.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:47 PM   #2
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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
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:20 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:54 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:05 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TammiL View Post
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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:22 AM   #8
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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!
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:32 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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Try air popped popcorn as an alternative to the buttery one. It may be slightly less tasty, but it's a ton more healthy.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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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!
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:37 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:46 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:48 AM   #15
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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.
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