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How to give your kids Healthy Meals on a Limited Budget

Kate Bloomsbury - Single Mum Blog | 16 February 2012

Stock Photo

We all know the importance of giving your kids healthy

...meals that are part of a greater nutrient-rich well-balanced diet. As many a parenting manual and nutritionist will attest, a good diet is essential for physical and cognitive development and healthy immune systems. Instilling good dietary habits from a young age also means that your kids are more likely to have a healthy attitude towards food in adult life.

This is all well and good but eating well is not necessarily conducive to spending little. Supermarkets don't make things easy as junk food, fatty snacks and pre-packaged ready meals are all markedly cheaper than say, organic fruit and vegetables.

Plus, what child would really choose to eat salad with their meal as opposed to fries, without putting up a fight? Certainly not my child! Convincing kids to eat healthy meals is hard task for any parent so even if you've pulled off a healthy weekly shop within budget, it doesn't necessarily mean your kids will go for it.

There are a few things you can do though. Here's a few tips for getting your kids to eat healthy meals without breaking the bank.


Healthy Meal Planning

  • It may seem obvious but the first rule for a good food budget is planning. If possible, evaluate what you spend on food on average on a weekly basis so you're able to work out what can cut down on or exchange for a healthier option. Then, work on planning each meal including lunches so you only buy the necessary ingredients.
  • Check the weekend newspapers for supermarket discount coupons. Always check out the special offers sections in stores as well, though be careful not to get carried away (as I often have) and end up overspending. Buy supermarket own brands wherever possible.
  • If you're kids are fussy about eating fruit and vegetables, don't be afraid to use trickery and disguise on them! Blended soups, pasta sauces and fruit smoothies are all effective ways to get those nutrients into them.
  • Find out what fruits and vegetables are in season for your area and choose healthy meal recipes accordingly. If you're feeling super-organised, start a family recipe book with recipes grouped by season so you have a ready-made cookery guide for next year.
  • Invest in some good sturdy storage containers and buy certain foods (e.g. pasta, oats, rice, cereals) in bulk. This will work out much cheaper in the long term.
  • Consider growing your own vegetables. If you have the time cultivating a vegetable patch can be rewarding both for your wallet, the environment and your kids who will learn about nature in the process.
  • Then sometimes when all this virtue gets too much work, I think it is more important to have quality dinner time with the kids rather than running around soaking chickpeas! Ordering in can really save the day, I use this chance for the kids to try something different like Vietnamese or Japanese: both of which are reasonably priced and have plenty of healthy options.

By Kate Bloomsbury from Delivery Hero Delivery Hero is a Sydney based internet start-up, making it easier for Aussies to order takeaway delivery online. Kate is one of the star contributors to Delivery Hero's blog, giving advice and tips on all things food.





This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of SingleMum.com.au. The views of the author are not necessarily representative of those of SingleMum.com.au. This article contains only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Singlemum.com.au Disclaimer here


What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the

kids

are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.

Centrelink

plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a

divorce

or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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