Helping My Overweight Family Get Healthy

Updated on February 19, 2008
V.W. asks from Bad Axe, MI
35 answers

Hi there my name is V. and I just recently decided I need to get my health and my childrens in line. My sons are both a little overweight the younger one is quite overweight as I am. I am realizing this is not healthy for them or myself but for the life of me can not figure out how to get into healthier foods and meals. I have eaten the same things since I was a child you know Meat potatoes tons of butter in the middle lots of condiments for all my meats etc. I know I have to change our eating habits but I'm not sure what to cook for meals that is healthy.

I know this sounds stupid that I dont know how to cook healthy food but I really dont I was raised on all these not so good food and thats what I learned to cook. Also, we are very low income so the high grade meats and specialty foods are a no for the budget. I cant afford the yogurts and stuff. I and have high blood pressure as well yesterday out shopping just relaxing with my mom it was 177 over 110 I am just afraid that when I cut out the salt and fat and sugar and fatty meat we will be having salads every night. Any suggestions would be great or wonderful realistic websites with recipies. Thank you so much V. and family.

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So What Happened?

Im so excited I have started to substitute turkey burger for regular. Salads are before every dinner and much healthier meals thanks to the websites everyone posted. Thank you so much for all your help everyone we are on our way. My kids aren't fighting me too much either. A few melt downs here and there but nothing to horible. Thanks so much V.

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J.G.

answers from Detroit on

Here is a very low cal and easy recipe for soup.
- One can refried beans- you can read the labels for low sodium
- 21/2 cups salsa- mild to spicy- what every you prefer. I prefer a chuncky kind.
- 1 can of prepackaged chicken- similar to tuna
- 1 cup of corn
- any other veggie you want-
Just put it together and warm. It is great and very low cal.
Good luck.

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C.P.

answers from Detroit on

What's wrong with salads everynight? Lol, we actually began eating a lot of salads a couple of years ago in an effort to help us fill up before dinner so we would eat less. We started by making them taste good (a little bit of shredded cheese, a few croutons and some bacon bits) until we got used to them and liked them. Now we still have a couple tablespoons of cheese but no more bacon bits and no more croutons and we still look forward to the salads. Just start with one thing at a time, otherwise you'll get overwhelmed and no one will be happy. Good luck!

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D.W.

answers from Detroit on

Hi V., I am also overweight. My two oldest kids are also overweight. I have tried different things over the years like weight watchers and medical weight loss. Right now I am on The Biggest Loser diet, I love the show (Tue. 8:00 channel 4). This program online only costs $20.00 a month. They give you lists of food to eat, health recipes (that are usually delicous),a tonof people to talk to for support. It has been working for me so far. Since January 1st I have lost 12 pounds. I would like it to go faster but I definietly lose 1-3 pounds a week. They say that is the way to take it off so it does not come back. I try to look for bargains especially with chicken when I shop, like buy one get one free. Definitely clip coupons. Also if you go to a fruit market for fruits & veggies it is less expensive and tastes fresher. If you cannot truly afford joining anywhere the one thing they all say is drink lots of water eat right and excersise. It really does work. If you set an example the kids will follow. Good luck.

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L.N.

answers from Benton Harbor on

V.~
First of all, kudos to you for wanting to focus on your family's health. So many kids grow up without a chance at a normal adulthood because they had parents who didn't care about nutrition. The easiest way to make changes is one at a time. About the simplest and cost effective way to start is to load up on frozen veggies. Fill the freezer with them and replace a not-so-healthy side dish with a vegetable. For example, when I am rushed and make something simple like spaghetti, I substitute the garlic bread with a veggie. If I make chicken nuggets for the kids I always pair it with a veg. Just that alone will make such a difference. You don't have to have salad every night. It may take a while to get all the foods in your house replaced with healthier choices, after all nobody can afford to throw it all away and start over, but you can make changes one at a time and put your family on a road to good health!

Stay determined and you'll reap huge rewards!
~L.

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L.C.

answers from Saginaw on

You have certainly triggered a tidal wave of great advice!

I have a slightly simpler solution -- an older and, frankly, cheaper, style of eating:

Whole grains -- they are the cheapest foods on the planet. You can make salads that look and taste a lot like more expensive, less-filling pasta salads, for a fraction of the price. Just replace the volume of pasta with the same amount of rice, whole (cooked) wheat (usually sold as wheat groats - they take a LONG time to cook, but how hard is it to have 50 cents worth of wheat simmering in water on the back of the stove for 4 hours?) or whole (cooked) barley (much faster cooking time than wheat), or quinoa (wash it with fresh water first to remove the bitter compounds the plant makes as pest repellent) which is really fast...

Cornmeal, oatmeal, rolled oats, rolled barley or rye or wheat flakes, bran, oat bran... all of them are cheap, cheap, cheap and filling, filling, filling. Replace cold cereals and toast with oatmeal, or at least homemade muffins (not from a packaged mix, please - they take 5 minutes to stir together, and you can be in control of the ingredients!), will save a HUGE amount of money. With the exception of puffed wheat and other 'single ingredient' cereals which are really cheap, breakfast cereal is the most over-inflated priced food you can buy. For 1/2 a pound of grains, and easily the same weight in sugar, boxed cereals cost 5 - 50 times the price of their ingredients. Little known secret: most of those 'cereals' were invented to stop people thinking sexual thoughts. Weird, eh?

Pair them with cooked beans as the 'main' course for supper, and use meats (high fat cheap kinds or lean, doesn't matter in such small portions) to add a bit of extra flavour, more like a condiment than the 'meal'. Vegetables and fresh fruits can remain the side dishes they are now... because they are also historically the costly foods people ate relatively little of.

Beans & rice is the historic 'cheap and easy' foods typical all over the world. There are a million variations, so it need not be boring. But you still can't buy a cheaper diet.

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S.L.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi, V.-

We to are on a tight budget but we've found sticky to a certain dollars amount each week helps. We spend $100.00 per week to feed the four of us and by cutting coupons and shopping the adds in the Sunday paper it works. The 110 calorie packs are great snacks for us and the kids! If ground turkey is on sale we buy four lbs and use them when we need them. Of course you need fresh fruit and veggies but try not to cook the veggies. And if the kids will eat them with ranch just buy fat free or low fat ranch. Whatever you need to do to get them to eat fresh carrots or celery with reduced fat peanut butter and raisins. Yogurt goes on sale almost everyweek and use coupons! As for dinners, we use kraftfoods.com alot. I know it can be hard but really try to cut out butter and salt and kick up the activites and this will help to get you all healthy and have fun together. My husband and I both were over weight but we cut down our cable and cell phone bills so we could afford a YMCA membership and we hardly ever eat out, unless it's in the budget. If this isn't an option, have dance parties with your kids:) My kids love this! I turn on the radio and we just dance silly in the living room. It burns calories and energy and it's fun at the same time so they don't feel like it's work. I hope these ideas help:)

S.

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K.K.

answers from Detroit on

hi V. -- i know exactly what you're talking about. i, too, have problems with finding healthy recipes and budgeting for the healthier items. i've found that fresh frozen veggies are the best way to go -- their often 10 bags for $10 at Kroger and each bag might be able to make it for two meals. and remember that if you're going to change everyone's eating habits, it's going to take some time -- i just read that it sometimes takes offering a kid the same thing 15 times before he'll eat it. it's difficult, but at every meal i offer my kids a protein, a veggie and a starch. i try to season things with spices rather than butter all the time.

while i don't have a blood pressure problem (yet) i am about 100 pounds overweight. eating is only one part of being healthy...and i've started to incorporate more activity into our daily lives. maybe if you take one thing at a time it can help to get healthier. it doesn't have to cost anything to start moving and exercising as a family. it might help if you just start with movement.

hope it helps. you're not alone; i'm working on the same stuff with my family.

K.

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P.R.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My family is going through the same thing I found a book called healthy lunchbox..I would recommend checking it out at your local library.

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A.V.

answers from Detroit on

we go rid of all chips and cookies because that is what we would sit down with and eat. I have been trying to stick with 200 calories 5 to 6 times a day. we also eat breakfast every day. we do a lot of bone less chicken and i got 10 lbs of it for $20 last month from Angel food. Angel food has some very good food and it will save you money. If you want more information you can contact Flint First Wesleyan Church and get a menu for this month or find a location for Angel food that is closser to you. there phone # is ###-###-####. You can cook your chicken in the oven or in the crock pot with salsa, chicken broth, ranch dressing, catalina dressing,or Italian dressing. i also put in green peppers and sometimes onions to give it more flavor some times those are the only things i use. Also we drink alot of water and not alot of salt.
Hope this helps
A.

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T.W.

answers from Lansing on

Yes, I agree about the ground tukey, I have been doing this for years and it is inexpensive and tastes great.

I would also suggest taking out your junk food from your grocery list, when you do this I assure you, you will have more money in your budget for healthy snacks. You do not have to buy the name brand foods, many of the store brands are just as good and less expensive.

I try to make helthy treats that taste like a splurdge--like fruit and light cool whip,smoothies,eating frozen fruit out of the freezer on a hot summer day is delicious!

I also make a veggie soup that is very healthy and so delicious:

1 LB. cooked gound turkey
1 lg. can chicken broth
1 lg. can V8 Hot & Spicey
Small bag cole slaw
1 lg. onion--sliced
fozen mixed veggies

Add all ingedients (except meat) to lg. pot.
Simmer until tender add cooked meat and serve!

GL:)

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P.W.

answers from Benton Harbor on

Hi V.,

I can totally relate! It does seem that eating healthy tends to have a premium price tag attached. There are some awesome recipes on www.gofigure8.com. The website and recipes are free! Gofigure8 is the weight loss arm of Arbonne, a health and wellness company that offers amazing products, and an even more amazing income earning opportunity for busy moms like us. I am a Regional Vice President and Independent Consultant with Arbonne and would be delighted to share the information with you so that you can decide if it could be a fit. You are welcome to look at my website, www.paulawygonik.myarbonne.com, or call me at ###-###-#### to learn more. Best of luck!

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K.U.

answers from Kalamazoo on

There is a lot of websites with recipes out there that are geared toward healthy eating. Do a few google searches and you will have a lot of choices at your fingertips.
It will take you a while to get you and your family accustomed to less fatty foods. With my family I try and stick to basics. A protein, starch and a veggie. I use frozen veggies in the winter mostly and I don't add any butter to them. Maybe a little salt and pepper. Starch is basics...baked potato, steamed potato, or rice(brown), sometimes mac and cheese that I make using whole wheat pasta. You have to try different kinds of whole wheat pasta...the macaroni is one we like. Brown rice actually has more flavor and my daughter and husband like it better than white.
For protein I will do chicken breasts, pork chops, or a fish fillet.
Chicken breasts can be done so many ways. ~ BBQ'd, marinated in italian dressing, saute'd with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, diced up and saute'd with vegetables, or breaded and baked.
Pork Chops ~ I usually just coat with bread crumbs..no added butter or oil...and bake.
Fish can just be popped in the oven with a little lemon juice and olive oil..salt and pepper.
Whole Chicken ~ Pop it in the oven with a little salt and pepper and slow roast it. Its moist and leftovers are great for other things....chicken tacos, chicken salad, or stir fry.
But, your pallet's will eventually adapt to the new flavors and begin to even like them more than your fatty versions.
Keep protein portions small. Your body really only needs about 6-8oz of protein a day. That is not much.
You will be hungry for a while...but that is temporary until your stomach shrinks and gets used to smaller meals.
Maybe for a while, just have one night a week for you favorite recipe from before.
But, my suggestion is just to keep it balanced and keep your diet consistent. Your body needs to get used to what you are putting in to it.
And actually...the healthier foods cost less! Veggies are cheap. Butter is expensive;)
Good luck! If you need any recipe ideas, let me know I will send some via email.

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

Google Weight Watchers recipes-- they are easy to make and taste good. Stop buying any white grain products, switch to whole wheat everything (including pasta). Make your own spagetti sauces (really very easy). Buy the 4% lean meat at Kroger or Meijers, it is more expensive, but you don't need to use as much. Buying fruit and veggies for snacks is actually cheaper than buying junk food.

You can still have lean meats and pototos-- just cut out the butter and sour cream, etc. They make low fat spray butter.

Once you get use to the change it will become second nature to you.

Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Detroit on

I have recently lost 18 pounds. Hooray!! I do see a chiropractor who I purchase some whole food supplements from, but the bottom line is I have completely cut out SUGAR and "white food", and I am trying to stay away from things containing MSG. Eating FRESH and/or organic when you can, lots of vegetables, no pop, even diet...water is best, NO FAST FOOD and a great attitude you will see and FEEL results pretty quickly. So many foods claiming to be low fat are actually loaded with sugar and MSG. Artificial sweeteners and "white food" actually make you feel hungry.
Your blood pressure is out the ceiling!! Oh my...try taking at least 1200 mg of calcium w/ vitamin D and magnesium before bed get 20 minutes of sunshine ON YOUR FACE a day. I have known people who have taken a calcium supplement (Coral Calcium) and have lowered their BP by so much the doctor was shocked. They either reduced their BP meds, or stopped them completely. For myself, I quit taking the calcium because it lowered my pressure so much I was feeling faint.
All this sounds like it would be a big change for you and your family's eating habits but it can be done. All the best to you!

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A.P.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Congrats on choosing a healthier lifestyle, it can be sooo overwhelming to start.
I agree with another advice giver on whole grains and beans etc. They are cheap and can be spiced up to suit your taste. stick mostly to the outside isles of the supermarket and check out the reduced produce cart, Farmer's Market in spring/summer/early fall, or if you have the room grow your own, the kids will love watching their food grow. If you don't have the room (like us) we have a window box where we grow tomatoes and some herbs (so many recipes use herbs and when you buy them in the store they can go bad quickly). I also like to use ground turkey and frozen chicken breasts. Buy the ground turkey in bulk then patty them up in 4oz. patties and freeze.
EatingWell.com has some great recipes you can search in different areas like weight loss, Diabetic appropriate, low sodium etc., but many with exotic ingredients. Allrecipes.com has a huge library of recipes and you can search with ingredients you have on hand (user submitted and not all healthy).
Plan your meals and make as much as you can yourself. Get some family exercise and Good Luck!!!

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K.D.

answers from Detroit on

Good for you for embrassing a healthier lifestyle!
A couple suggestions. One, check out a book called "the glycemic revolution"--it teaches you about carbs, their impact on the body and how to choose the better ones. It also has recipies.
Then I suggest a web site called sparkpeople.com. It is a "diet" site, but has support, recipies, and all sorts of tools for tracking diet and exercise.
In the meantime, make small changes like eliminating enriched flour products from your diet. Use whole grain breads, and whole grain flour, brown or basmati rice, sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes. Eat veggies and low cal dip rather than chips and dip...and drink lots of water not juice or pop.

Good luck!

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H.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hi V....good for you for being determined to get your family healthy. It isn't easy and I really blame the food companies for marketing cheap unhealthy food. Anyway, here are a few things that are inexpensive and healthy. Hope it helps. Breakfast: Oatmeal! not the packets but the big quaker oats box. You can put a little sugar and cinnamon in there and bam...a great breakfast. I make alot of soups for my family and they love them. My favorites are chicken noodle (buy a whole chicken), lentil and pea. There is a book I got out of the library called 'how to cook without a book' that really helped me to cook something out of nothing (used to be if I was missing one thing out of a recipe I was stumped). Good luck to you and God Bless!

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J.M.

answers from Lansing on

We all struggle with this! Broil meat with seasonings you enjoy instead of salt. Reduce portions. Drink water while the meal is preparing, it fills you up and is healthy. Put out fruit or vegetable out while they smell dinner cooking and they fill up (restrict the amount) of healthy fruits and veggies instead of snacks, chips, pop. Fresh food has less salt than prepared. Milk as a staple has helped us. It's well balanced and reducing the fat makes it a great option. Less salt than low fat yogurt. Watch low fat items as we have found out they add salt to make it taste better.

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H.H.

answers from Saginaw on

Go to sparkpeople.com. It is a fantastic site with lots of resources and lots of recipes. I am in much the same boat as you. My friends and I started our own support group and one of the people found this site. I have lost 18 pounds since the beginning of the year and she has lost 22 and everyone in our group has lost at least 10. The biggest thing is to drink lots of water and fresh fruits and vegetables. They're actually pretty good once you realize you can have an apple for a snack just as easily as a bag of potato chips! Also you say you can't afford yogurts and stuff. Yogurt isn't really that expensive, but beyond that, don't you think the extra money you pay in health care for being overweight would make up for paying just a little extra for a longer, healthier life for you, and more importantly, for your kids. Also, if you are that low-income you should qualify for WIC, which would help you buy healthy foods.

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A.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi V.,

I saw your post and it reminded me of this article that I read from Mercola.com. Here is the link.
http://v.mercola.com/blogs/post.aspx?App=public_blog&...
If you can get from that link search for organic food cost.
Plus if you don't want to go organic yet, I know that I go to a local fruit market in the Roseville area. Randazzo's fruit market is really inexpensive.
I would take small steps first like adding vegetables to dinner. Kroger usually has a good price like 10 for $10 plus start buying fruit to place on your dinner or Kitchen table so when you want a snack you will go for the healthy food first.

I've had these habits since my husband and I have been married. He is not a healthy eater but I try little things to help him eat healthy food.

Angie

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

I think that's a wonderful thing to do for your family! My advice is to start small. Substitute healthier things in your favorite recipes. Ground turkey instead of beef, leaner cuts of meats. Use smaller amounts of butter, oils, etc. Add frozen veggies to everything. You won't stick with it if you go to extremes. I'd get a healthy recipe book and see what you can whip up that appeals to the family. Starting to weed out things like pop, chips, etc will help over a long period of time too. My husband and I are both overweight and have been working on it for several years. I focus on the day to day, I try to lose one pound a week by cutting out 2500 calories over the week. So far I've lost 18, it adds up! Cutting out pop was hard for me, but after I got through the beginning part it was easy and it made a big difference. You can do it! Don't be hard on yourself if you backslide, just keep trying each week. Good luck!

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J.W.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi V.
Just a few suggestions from me are:
1. Get a book or look on line to find out exactly what a portion size is. I have found out even if I eat healthy, if my portion size is off I will still gain or maintain my weight. I love to eat. Love the taste of food. And yes I use it sometimes for comfort also. But being aware of portion size helps me to get back in line when I stray every now and then. Find out how many calories per day a person REALLY needs. Adjust for children.
2. Try to cook from scratch/fresh as much as you can. I live off a limited income also, but I am a stay at home mom, so I do have time to cook. Try to stay away from boxed products and premade foods. Stay out of the aisles in the grocery store when shopping. The healthier food is all around the edges/outside of the aisles. You might me amazed to find out though, that fresh vegetables can be more expensive per portion than meat is. But it is a NECESSARY food., and KEY to losing weight. Also, stay away from imitation and diet products. Human bodies are not designed to process imitation food. It stores it and cannot get rid of it. Just try to eat less of the REAL stuff.
3. And maybe the most important suggestion... keep personal food logs for you and your family. I make one up each month, Sunday through Saturday, nothing fancy, just empty squares. I just jot down info in, but it really makes me aware of what I am putting in my mouth. I found this was KEY to me losing weight and eating healthier.
4. Then theres that yucky exercise we have to do also. I find I get up a sweat just in walking 1/2 to 2 miles a day, yes, even in the winter. If you dress in layers, you would be surprised how warm it can be. The more snow on the sidewalks, the shorter your walk can be due to its much harder to walk in. And the fresh air is invigorating. I NEVER regret my walks. Yoga is also a non stressfull way to get strengthening/calming techniques into your day. I like the TV program Nameste Yoga. Google it if your interested. I have the DVDs.

Eat to live not live to eat. Remember, meals are not supposed to be an event. They are just something a person is supposed to do so they have the energy to live thier life.
Good Luck in creating a healthier family!

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C.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

If you are in the GRand Rapids Mi area on Tue. Feb. 19th at St. Mark's Episcipal church, my nutritional group , Nourishing Ways of West Michigan, is having guest speaker come to talk on how to convert your kitchen from a standard american diet into a whole foods kitchen. Another words it will address the exact question on where to start and how! It starts at 7pm and is free!! You can make yogert with the milk you get at meijer! A whole gallon of it! Are you able to apply for wic or food stamps? I am low income too, when you eat right you fill up quicker and don't need to eat so much plus it is less trips to the doctor too.
C.

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S.R.

answers from Lansing on

V.,

Eating healthy doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. It' just means you have to know where to put the cash and where not to put it. And, while the "knowing where to put it" is the hardest part, it's good to know there is a wealth of information available at little to no cost.

For nutritional information you might want to visit the Weston A Price Foundation: http://www.westonaprice.org/ . There are many articles on nutrition but, more importantly, the available articles explain the body-science behind the nutrition in a way that makes it easy to understand and relate to.

Also, if you can find a copy of Sally Fallon's books: 'Nurishing Traditions' or 'Eat Fat to Lose Fat' you'll really get a primer on how and why the body uses dietary fats and how and why you should use them to achieve your goals.

Joy,

S.

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L.W.

answers from Benton Harbor on

The best way to stick to a lifestyle change, is to make smaller changes that you can live with forever. You don't have to buy a lot of specialty foods, but you might have to do a little more from scratch. There will also definitely be an adjustment period. They say it takes 2-3 weeks for your tastebuds to change/get used to something new. What I personally have done is 1: drastically reduce condiments. There is a lot of extra fat and salt in most of them. Some ideas: on bread, use butter or peanut butter very sparingly and try applesauce or apple butter, on salad use very little dressing or if you were going to add cheese, use cottage cheese and skip the dressing. On potatoes and vegetables, use different seasoning besides butter and salt. Mrs. Dash makes salt-free or low salt varietie. We use season salt that has a lot besides salt in it--this makes it easier to skip the butter and use less salt. 2: Cut the fat off meat as much as possible, and use meat in things instead of as a main course (like make chili with beans, stew, etc.). Beans are often less expensive. 3: Fill up on fruits and veggies.

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M.K.

answers from Detroit on

There are some great suggestions already. Another great thing to switch too is turkey burger instead of ground beef. There are great recipes online to make Turkey burgers and meatloaf. You can still make things like mashed pototoes just use lowfat milk when mixing them and not alot of butter. You can add garlic or mix them with chicken broth to make them tastier. Also switch to lowfat milk even 2% has a lot of fat. Cut out sugary cereals for breakfast. My kids love Honey nut cheerios and Kix and serve with a piece of fresh fruit.

Just doing little things like these will make a difference.

Good Luck and stick to it for your kids.

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L.O.

answers from Detroit on

It is not that hard or expensive to eat healthy.

boneless skinless chicken breasts are inexpensive and you can do a lot with them.

Stir fry is a great cheap easy dinner. just chicken and veggies over rice.

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi V.,

It is hard to make the changes, but my husband and I started changing our diet about 2 years ago. I buy ground turkey, which is actually cheaper than the leaner ground beef. (The brand I buy is anyway.) We started slowly, mixing the turkey and beef together to get used to it. We did the same with our pasta. We gradually switched from regular to whole wheat and started by mixing. The kids don't know the difference and they never noticed. I shop at Aldi and get a lot of canned fruit there in light syrup or natural juices. The kids can have that for snack. We still have snacks like cheese crackers and sometimes chips, but we try not to keep them in the house. It's easier to say, you can have fruit or yogurt when what they would rather have is out of the house.

Good Luck. It's hard, but you can do it. Just keep trying. Your kids will be OK.

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

V.,

I think it is great that you want to take control of your family's nutrition. Check to see if your health insurance will help cover the cost to see a nutritionist. They will be able to help you get an idea of what types of foods you should be eating on a daily basis and what foods you should stay away from.

Take a look at the book "Meal Patterning" by Chris Johnson. I found a copy at my local library. He has some great ideas in his book, but most importantly he has revamped the food pyramid and turned it into a food target. It shows the percentages of the types of foods you should be eating daily and then shows how healthy they are by placing them in rings in the target. Red = bad foods, orange = not-so-good foods, yellow = ok occasionally, light-green = daily foods, dark green = really good for you foods.

This target has been a great teaching tool for my 6-year-old son. When we are talking about the dinner menu for the week he will ask where the dinner ingredients are on the target. It is nice to see our progress and see how our diets have changed over time to include more green and less red foods.

Also, www.savingdinner.com is a great site for meal planning. Leanne Ely has also written many cookbooks called Saving Dinner, Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way, Saving Dinner through the Holidays, etc. Her weekly menus and recipes include side-dishes as well as the main course recipe. Her shopping lists include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, and lots of different spices to make your food taste new each time.

We love her recipes and it is rare when I duplicate a recipe once every two months or so. I can't afford the fish as much as she has in her weekly menus, so instead I use more chicken and vegetarian recipes.

I have found that even on a budget of $150 a week for the three of us, buying mostly organic foods (our son has multiple food intolerances), I usually come home with having not spent my entire budget. I even make enough of the dinner to have left-overs for lunch the next day and they are just as tasty, healthier too.

Remember, your kids are used to the sugary foods and high-fat, high-protein dinners. They may fight you and refuse to try the vegetables and complain about the healthy snacks. Just remember you are the mom and it is your job to teach them good nutrition skills, skills that will help them to make good choices in the future.

Make your changes slowly, but stand firm with the decisions you and your husband have made. Eventually your boys will adjust to the new eating style and will learn to like fruits, vegetables, and even learn to try new recipes without complaining.

The gift of good food choices and continued health down the road is one of the most precious gifts of all.

Good luck!

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E.R.

answers from Kalamazoo on

cut out beef and pork. You would be surprised how much my blood pressure went down because of this. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef in anything and it is cheaper. Use beef and chicken broth to flavor. And eat fresh veggies or frozen, not canned, too much salt. Eat white cheese, yellow is higher in cholesterol. Most things white are not good. for instance, white bread, white rice, sugar. Use brown sugar, whole grain bread,the money you save on ground turkey VS, ground beef will make up the difference as far as money goes. too some up,fish,chicken,turkey,fresh/frozen veggies,[use MRS.Dash],SALT FREE, are best. No MSG's if possible read all labels. Soups, chips, even your broths, have high sodium and MSG.

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D.M.

answers from Saginaw on

Start small drink water, instead of pop, or juice. Whole grain cereals are an easy switch, instead of fruit loops go cherrios, instead of cookies give them crackers. and instead of candy have fruit, or raisins but do watch the dried fruit it is smaller so you eat more and still has alot of sugar and calories. whole fruits and veggies are best. as for cost go cheap you can get a whole bag of small apples for the price of a few candy bars. canned fruit is also an option. not as good as fresh but cheaper and better then fruit snacks and more filing. As far as the meat and potatoes thing you can still have that just change the portion and how you prepare them. If your recipe calls for butter, use brumel and brown it tastes way better then butter and is good for you. If it calls for oil use olive or canola. canola yu can get at the same price as vegitable oil and is so much better. get some whole wheat flour to use for thickening gravy's and such. Also alot of people think the thing to do is artificial sweetner. do not do this..... You usually do not lose weight or recieve any health benifits and most of the time they create extra problems... If you need any more help on replacements. you can email me specific things and I'll be more then happy to try and help you find low cost alternatives. I have this same battle at my home and know how frustrating it can be. but hang in there it is worth it,,... especially for your children...

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B.L.

answers from Detroit on

V., sign up for some of the free online health newsletters- there are tons! One that addresses childhood obesity (every Thurs.) is Denise Austin.com, and she gives you tips for healthy eating and exercise.
I defat and lower the calories in traditional recipes-use low fat or skim milk, cheese, margarine; lower sodium broth and soup. It's easy to find high fiber pasta, bread, buns, etc. These usually cost just a few cents more, and if you buy less junk food, you can afford it.
If you buy less pre-packaged foods and more fresh, whole foods, your bill will go down AND you can control the salt, fat and sugar content easier.
Make small changes! Once the kids (and you) get used to one change, introduce another. We also find the salad and butter spritzers very handy.
Good luck. It is not easy, but you can do it! Your family's health is soooo worth it.

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S.S.

answers from Detroit on

In October I came face-to-face with "get healthy or else" at my doctor's office. I run a product brokerage business and help people to do just that. I had never thought it would be me who needed the help!

Since then, I have lost and kept off 20 pounds and feel better than I have in years! I still eat too. Not just salads either. I teach people how to eat low glycemic. You don't need special food, no packaged meals either. If you want to know more, I am available to meet in person or via www.marketamerica.com/thevoiceoftruth. You can also look at www.transitionslifestyle.com to learn about our program. The supplements are optional. We may be able to work out a way for you to get them for free...

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L.C.

answers from Grand Rapids on

If I were you, I would get connected with weighdown.com. They have Bible lessons that are very intense and they teach you how to run to God rather than food, spending money, addictions, etc. In this way of life you don't have to buy special foods; you simply wait until your stomach growls and then only eat slowly until you are politely satisfied. You don't have to eat low fat and no fat unless you prefer them. I have lost over 70 pounds and still going down. One lady there lost 300 pounds in 18 months with no problems whatsoever. She never will be heavy again because she has learned to run the "Almighty God" who created the Heavens and the earth and she has no worries now and her young children are also learning to eat this way too. We are starting to see real savings by not over spending and eventually there will be excess money in our checking account. I went there to lose weight, but it seems like the weight is only the "tip of the iceberg."
Anything that people "over" do, they can learn to run to God for and now those same people don't have problems in any of those areas and have learned how to live "Pure" lives and are being so incredibly blessed that you would not believe the testimonies if you did not know they don't tell lies. People who used to be smokers, drinkers, child molesters, etc. can partake of their former addictions (with the exception of child molesters and those types of addictions)and not have a problem with over indulging in the same areas.
I thoroughly recommend this website to any and all who want to do better in any area of their lives. I have never regretted it for even a moment. I was so depressed because I was so fat that nobody wanted to hire me and then God sent me to a yard sale where I learned about Weighdown.com and have been so blessed. These people live daily lives like those in the book of Acts. They don't judge people, they are truly loving and kind and they don't expect anything in return. They just want to serve God and His kingdom and when they say they love you, it is not just empty words like most people say to you. Get plugged in to these Bible studies and learn how to run to God, the creator, and not the created. It is a daily walk that is like nothing I ever learned about in the past. I have also gotten off of anti-depressants and have no ill effects.
Many of the people who got plugged in to Weighdown.com had horribly bad credit and low income as a result of over spending, etc. They learned to live on less income and save more, even those whose income was extremely low to begin with. Not having to buy special foods to live this way saves so much money all by itself. All the people I have talked to who live this way say that their grocery bill has been cut in half because their whole family lives on less. Your body is crying out to eat/process less and then it saves you money in the long run. It is incredible!
Some people did not need to lose much weight but had bad attitudes in different areas of their lives and have turned it all over to God and actually lived out what God's word says to do and not merely "say" they are living out the Bible.
This group does not have sermons about tithing because they want any income they receive in this area to be strictly "Spirit led". What other church have you ever heard of that does not have sermons about tithe? I love to support my church because I know a church has bills like families, but I don't hear sermons about it. The church connected with weighdown is called something different.
The people meet in homes around the world just like in the Bible.

L. Cory
[email protected]____.com

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L.O.

answers from Detroit on

Hi V.-
I am a single Mom, so I can certainly understand the budget issue. I would like to recommend a few things for you:
1st I suggest you start with the condiments- watch your trans fats to be safe they should be below a 2. Also reduce your sodium boxed foods & frozen foods are the worst - so try & use whole foods as much as possible! And finally I have another something I would love to share with you would you be open to hear about it? I was able to lose 60 pounds on this healthy system. You can email me @ [email protected]____.com
L.

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