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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are honest-to-God unhealthy eaters. Fried foods, potatoes, french fries. We are bad. And we need to lose weight. I'm packing on pregnancy weight and DH is overweight. I want my children to eat healthier and us too.<br><br>
Here are our problems:<br>
1. We have a strict budget. $50-75 a week in grocery (including diapers, tolietries etc)<br>
2. I am a very picky eater and kinda a chicken when it comes to trying new foods.<br>
3. I'm an idiot when it comes to what is actually healthy foods. And what foods should we be eating to lose weight?<br>
4. We are meat-eaters and don't plan to change that.<br><br>
So where can I get a crash course on healthy, loosing weight, cheap foods?<br><br>
And what do you eat when you are out running errands all day?<br><br>
Please help.
 

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Kudos to you for wanting to eat healthier. I keep trying and am getting better after some health issues.<br><br>
Here's my suggestions, I'm sure you'll get lots more:<br><br>
1.) Get (or use) a large crockpot. There are good cookbooks out there for crockpot cooking and usually this is a very economical way to cook, and involves simple, unprocessed ingredients for the most part. Processed foods are generally a problem in weight management (and health!) so cooking "from scratch" is best, and the crockpot is an easy way to do it. I use a lot of recipes involving dried beans and brown rice. Very cheap and healthy too.<br><br>
2.) Salads with dinner....My BF is a big meat and potatoes guy and I have found ways to slip him veggies. One is to make a big salad with every dinner. Not with iceberg lettuce (not many nutrients) but just about any other lettuce/greens, carrots, cucumber, radish, celery, onion (really, whatever you have on hand!) and I add blue cheese, olives, and avocado to jazz it up...it's up to your personal taste and budget, but I find that if there is a salad there, even non-veggie lovers will eat it happily.<br><br>
3.) Buy a whole chicken. Roast it for dinner. Take the carcass leftovers and simmer it in the crockpot all day or on the stove for about 2 hours with water. Pick the meat off the bones, discard them, add meat back to the broth and put in whatever veggies you have, and salt, pepper, garlic to flavor. Then you have a nice batch of healthy chicken soup. OR use the picked meat to make chicken salad.<br><br>
4.) If you are running errands? Personally I keep on hand dried fruit, nuts, apples, string cheese for when I can't get a meal on the road. BUT I am celiac (can't have wheat), so most fast food is out for me anyway. If you're trying to avoid it you can get one of those little coolers or lunch packs and pack your own meal and eat in the car. I've done it many times.<br><br>
5.) Losing weight is based on one main thing - you have to burn more calories than you take in. So ultimately, you either have to exercise it off or eat a lot less to see a difference.<br><br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I use <a href="http://www.sparkpeople.com/" target="_blank">http://www.sparkpeople.com/</a><br><br>
I try to eat alot of salads and veggies and less meat. We're meat eaters too so I just make sure there are more veggies than meat. Cooking from scratch helps the budget too. Junk foods are expensive so if you can stop getting those and start making more meals from scratch, your grocery bill will be lower and you'll be healthier.<br><br>
I am a potato fiend. Any sort, but chips and fries are a huge weakness of mine. Now I roast potato slices. They're really good, really easy and my family loves them.
 

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<a href="http://www.sparkrecipes.com" target="_blank">http://www.sparkrecipes.com</a> is awesome too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips. I also have to make DH's lunch. Sometimes he gets leftover and sometimes I make something up for him.<br><br>
Please keep the food coming.<br><br>
Does anyone know a good resource that teaches what foods are good and what are bad? I have Dr. Sears Family Nutrition book that I am trying to read but it is pretty scientific for me and too long!
 

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Break the sears book down into smaller components. It's really one of the best and easiest beginning books on nutrition.<br><br>
That said I would focus on eliminating things one by one. For example, eliminating high fructose corn syrup from your diet (check labels). This may require making more from scratch, which is actually cheaper, albeit more time consuming.<br><br>
Making changes one by one gives you a better chance at changing your diet for life. If you try to change everything your body will revolt with horrible cravings.<br><br>
See where you can make substitutions. You love french fries...well what about instead of deep fat frying, baking them in the oven after coating them with olive oil and seasonings?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>babybugmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9851172"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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See where you can make substitutions. You love french fries...well what about instead of deep fat frying, baking them in the oven after coating them with olive oil and seasonings?</div>
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Yep. My oldest is a french fry addict so I've started baking sweet potato fries in the toaster oven for him. He gobbles them up the same he would regular deep fat fried fries. Still need to figure out how to get him off of the pre-processed chicken nuggets, he won't touch homemade ones with a ten foot pole. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: And since he eats very little in the way of protein it's a struggle.
 

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<b><i>1. We have a strict budget. $50-75 a week in grocery (including diapers, tolietries etc)</i></b>
<ul><li>Buy items in bulk, and hook up with a buying club or co-op if possible.</li>
<li>Do not buy any processed foods or multi-ingredient foods--these are expensive and can usually be made from scratch with healthier and more frugal results.</li>
<li>Make eggs (pastured if possible), beans and lentils a large part of your diet.</li>
<li>Continue to eat meat, but try to opt for roasts and whole chickens because they offer plenty of leftovers and you can make stock and broth from the bones.</li>
<li>Bake your own bread.</li>
<li>Learn to love oatmeal (no instant!) for breakfast.</li>
<li>Buy the unloved vegetables--cabbage, collard greens, beets, turnips--which are very nutritious and very cheap.</li>
<li>Try to grow a little of your own which is difficult this time of year, but you can start planning for next year.</li>
</ul><br>
2. I am a very picky eater and kinda a chicken when it comes to trying new foods.
<ul><li>Don't worry about trying to many new things, instead try to make your old options healthier.</li>
<li>Some people try one new thing each week, so it's not overwhelming.</li>
</ul><br>
3. I'm an idiot when it comes to what is actually healthy foods. And what foods should we be eating to lose weight?
<ul><li>You need to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume.</li>
<li>However, there's more to it than that. If you have issues with insulin resistance and many people do, you also need to eat low-glycemic whole foods and eat plenty of protein and fat. Sometimes when we're trying to lose weight we fall for a lot of diet foods, and that's not necessarily good for your body.</li>
</ul><br>
4. We are meat-eaters and don't plan to change that.
<ul><li>I don't think you need to change that. Just look for high quality meats that aren't processed.</li>
</ul>
 

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It's much cheaper to buy ingredients than it is to buy already-made foods. Yes, you do need to put in some time in the kitchen but when you do cook, make more than one batch or one meals' worth and stock the freezer with the rest. Make three dozen muffins or two loaves of banana bread, double up on spaghetti sauce and freeze some, etc. If you always make some to save every time you cook, you will spend less time in the kitchen and have your own "fast food" to pull out of the freezer and throw together something quickly.<br><br>
I totally agree with revamping your familiar recipes bit by bit, rather than trying to covert all at once. Our first step was to go whole grain. I've found there are soo many mild tasting grains out there, when all I knew of before was "whole wheat" and figured whole grain was always a strong flavor, yucky. Nope!<br><br>
Breakfast cereals are a budget killer! Will the family accept smoothies? You can hide a lot of good stuff in a smoothie! Or, if they like hot cereal but not oatmeal I have a yummy recipe for a whole grain hot cereal that utilizes grains bought in bulk. There's also a recipe for egg casserole that can be frozen in portions so it would be easy to warm up a piece or two at breakfast time. A mama posted it on the TF board; I bet a search would turn it up.<br><br>
A good way to make your own chicken nuggets is to coat them with a mixture of breadcrumbs seasoned with parmesan and a bit of italian herb blend. Mix up a ranch-style dip with plain yogurt or sour cream or if you are really going for it, kefir cheese, for dipping that is healthier than store-bought ranch dressing. You can make enough for a few weeks and offer it for dipping veggies as a snack, too.<br><br>
Lunches are a challenge so I like to stock the freezer with one cup portions of things like beans, taco filling, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, whatever you like. It's simple to have a healthy hot lunch when the ingredients are already made.<br><br>
Cooking seems like a challenge, I know, but the kids can participate to what extent they are able - tiny ones get bowls and spoons of their own to "cook" with on the floor, older toddlers are allowed to help stir and fetch things, put muffin papers in cups, cut soft fruits with a butter knife. They are remarkably capable when given the chance! And I find they are more accepting of a dish they helped make.<br><br>
When we are really in the groove we pack lunches to take with us when we are out so we don't fall prey to the fast food temptation.<br><br>
I love KrankedyAnn's food site, it helps choose foods and covert your recipes to a healthier version that isn't alien to your family.<br><br>
In small steps, it works... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>velcromom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9853051"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I love KrankedyAnn's food site, it helps choose foods and covert your recipes to a healthier version that isn't alien to your family.</div>
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It may be out of your budget—but you might want to try her recipe mailers temporarily. She gives you a shopping list for the week's recipes, so you don't have to think much about meals.
 

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RE: the chicken nuggets, also trying making a chicken-croquette style nugget instead of breaded/fried chicken breast -- in other words, use cooked chicken, an egg for binder and maybe some flax, a little cream or white sauce or mayo. Season, and let the mixture sit in the fridge for a while until it's hardened and you can shape it. Shape into nuggest and coat with the usual egg wash/bread crumbs and fry. This will be a lot closer to processed nuggets in texture, which might be what's hanging your DC up. Then you can tinker with the seasonings and taste.<br><br>
Another idea is to treat meat as a condiment or flavoring, instead of as the main dish. So think bean or lentil soup with sausage, tostadas with refried beans and just a little chorizo, chili with three kinds of beans and just a little beef, chicken soup that is mostly veggies and noodles with a little chicken. Lasagne with half a pound of meat and loads of mushrooms and spinach and other veggies. Scalloped potatoes with ham, or ham and cabbage (instead of ham steaks and mashed, and peas or whatever). Meatloaf, meatballs, shepherd's pie, etc -- all these can stretch beef. Casseroles and soups are much more economical than, say, hamburgers or steaks or chops where there's a big slab of meat on everyone's plate, but you still won't feel as deprived as you might feel eating strictly vegetarian meals.<br><br>
Good luck! You've gotten some great ideas so far. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I make my own chicken nuggets and my kids eat them just as well as they eat the processed ones. I use bread crumbs, parmesean cheese, parsley and whatever spices sound good and bake them. They're healthy and don't take that much longer than premade ones. And of course we have to have dip.<br><br>
For lunch, alot of times I make a wrap. Just ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato and its a good change from a sandwich. We do leftovers for lunch alot too. My dh will eat anything between 2 pieces of bread so he makes sandwiches out of bizarre combinations.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Alyantavid</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9853672"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I make my own chicken nuggets and my kids eat them just as well as they eat the processed ones. I use bread crumbs, parmesean cheese, parsley and whatever spices sound good and bake them.</div>
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I do too, but dang, organic chicken breasts are expensive! I don't think I could eat non-organic chicken, if it's from the store.
 

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An awesome cookbook is called<br>
Lickety-Split Meals: For Health Conscious People on the Go! by Zonya Foco<br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%2Fref%3Dnb_ss_b%2F104-2015071-7443100%3Furl%3Dsearch-alias%253Dstripbooks%26field-keywords%3Dlickety%2Bsplit" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/...=lickety+split</a><br><br>
It teaches you about nutrition, what to shop for, how to read labels, and is a cookbook full of yummy recipes that real people will eat.<br><br>
OH! How could I forget?<br>
"The Mom's Guide to Meal Makeovers" It's a cookbook and a website. The cookbook has all your family's favorite foods, and they tell you how to make them healthy. They also tell you all the foods on the shelves that are the healthiest in each category, and why (such as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mac and cheese, etc.) if you choos eto buy them pre-made.
 

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Good for you getting healthier! I lost 95 pounds and now that I've had my babe I need to lose 30 of it plus another 55 is my goal. It is one. step. at. a. time. So don't get overwhelmed, just take whatever advice seems doable and start there. I would start w/reading ingredients and really knowing what they are and what you are putting in your body. By changing that, weight has to come off. That's what I did...no artificial anything (colors, flavors), no "natural" flavors, yeast extract, corn syrups, sugars, aspartame, etc...<br><br>
I would do as much from scratch for your budget...that can get challenging!<br><br>
Good Luck mama. I can't wait to hear about your families success!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks for the tips. I also have to make DH's lunch. Sometimes he gets leftover and sometimes I make something up for him.<br><br>
Please keep the food coming.<br><br>
Does anyone know a good resource that teaches what foods are good and what are bad? I have Dr. Sears Family Nutrition book that I am trying to read but it is pretty scientific for me and too long!</div>
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Jane Brody's book, I believe its called good food. Most libraries should have a copy.
 

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Good for you for wanting to get your family healthier!<br><br>
I think the best advice I've ever heard on how to eat healthily was from Michael Pollan, who summed up 6 decades of nutrition research into this: <b>"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."</b><br><br>
Food means stuff that actually is food, not things that contain polysyllabic ingredients that may be derived from petroleum byproducts, or things that maybe, once, long ago, might have been attached to an ear of corn at a molecular level (this includes the aforementioned high-fructose corn syrup, also appearing on labels as glucose-fructose). Packaged food generally should be avoided, but when in doubt, if there's something on the label that you can't pronounce or don't know what it is, just don't buy it.<br><br>
Not too much means pay attention to portion size! For a week, measure your portions religiously. A serving of meat is 4-5 oz. A serving of any starch is 1/2 cup, a serving of vegetables is a full cup. A serving of ice cream is 1/2 cup. Dinner, ideally, would consist of one serving of meat, one of starch, and two of vegetables. Try it. You'll be shocked at how different your dinner looks (and feels). The tricky thing is that your stomach expects a certain volume of food - if you reduce your portion sizes, you'll feel hungry much sooner and you won't feel satisfied with meals, but the effect is short-lived. If you consistently eat less, you'll feel satisfied with less.<br><br>
Mostly plants means pretty much that. Plants that haven't been mucked about with. Whole grains (if you want to get *really* into it you technically ought to soak your grains, but don't worry about that right now.) Unprocessed, fresh vegetables that look the same as they did when they came out of the ground are best, but if those aren't in the budget, frozen veg will do in a pinch. Try to avoid canned vegetables (except tomatoes) since they are far less nutritious than frozen or fresh. Beans are a great cheap source of protein. Buying dried is usually the most economical, you just soak them overnight and simmer for an hour or so before you need to use them (a slow cooker is great for these too).<br><br>
Good nutrition isn't really all that complicated, so please don't feel overwhelmed and intimidated. And, you don't have to dive in headfirst - it's probably easiest to aim for learning one new recipe a week, and replacing one packaged item with something similar (or with a similar function) made from scratch each week. And, be aware that processed foods are mildly addictive, and it will be easiest on your family if you ease in slowly.<br><br>
Finally, strange as it sounds, TV can help you. PBS has some great cooking shows on Saturday mornings, and FoodTV - as long as you stay away from people like Paula Deen and those awful "Unwrapped" type shows - is a fantastic source of ideas and they often show how to do basic techniques for things, like how to make stock/broth, how to roast a chicken, how to make a bechamel sauce, etc. (Bechamel is a standard white sauce that you can use to make all sorts of things, but most notably cheese sauce for mac & cheese.) So plunk your butt down on your couch and watch a couple hours - you'll be surprised at how much you learn! (If you watch nothing else, watch the show "Good Eats". It's fantastic.)
 
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