How do you eat healthy when you are a single mom with limited time and limited finances?
The Dietary Guidelines for all people is to eat a diet that is low in fat and high in whole grains fruits and vegetables. We often tell people to shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store to get the “healthiest” food choices. Unfortunately, these foods are often more expensive. You can, however, still eat in a healthful way without totally blowing your budget. One idea is to think ahead. On the weekends make large quantities of storable foods that can be used for dinners and/or lunches during the week. You can use a crock pot and simmer vegetables, meats and starches together for a delicious stew of some type. There are entire books devoted to crock pot cooking. Frozen vegetables are a good healthy alternative to fresh vegetables and are less expensive and may be used in this way. An easy cheap dinner is a tortilla (preferably whole wheat) stuffed with some type of vegetable, meat, and/or cheese and salsa. For example, I may cook a chicken over the weekend and keep in the refrigerator for the week. When I get home, all I do is “zap” pieces from the chicken, some of my frozen vegetables, a little cheese, wrap it all up in a whole wheat tortilla and top with salsa. Cheap and easy.!The other issue in this equation is portion size, portion size, portion size!. Most of us eat too much! The food choices may be fine but you are tired, the kids are bickering and you overeat. Remember it is not so much what you eat as how much you eat! Teach your children this now so that they will not develop diabetes.As far as healthy choices go, you do want to try to limit high fat foods like French fries, fried chicken, etc and choose a diet with whole grains, vegetables and fruits but even with these types of choices, do not forget the portion size. So let’s say you have picked the kids up from after school activities and they want to stop at a fast food place for supper. There are healthy choices at most fast food places these days. Educate yourself about the nutrition information from your favorite fast food place. This information is available either online from a book or the chain itself may have that information available. For example, at Wendy’s, their chili and a side salad is a good choice. These two items come from their 99 cent menu, so for $2.00 and some change you have your dinner. Most places these days have wraps that are low in fat and not high priced. In general, most of the regular hamburgers are good choices as well.Another issue for yourself and your children is to learn the benefit of exercise, or just getting more active. Activity has so many positive benefits from reducing blood sugars, relieving stress, improving blood pressure and lipids as well as sleep. It can also burn up those excess calories that you may have gotten into at lunch. This needs to become part of your daily schedule, whether it’s going for a walk with the kids after work or walking on your lunch break or dancing with the kids to a favorite video or something! Just move!! And the beauty of all that is that it doesn’t cost you anythingSo I do believe that you can eat healthy an d be healthy despite limited time and finances Eat less high fat foods, watch your portion sizes, be active and plan ahead!