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Shinob1
09-14-2012, 11:55 AM
To provide some context on why I need to create a menu, my mother is very ill and needs to focus on eating a healthy diet. Long story short, she has stage 3 chronic kidney disease, borderline diabetic, and has heart disease. She has many other illnesses, both physical and mental. She’s not a good cook, (doesn’t have the mental faculties honestly), and often will eat boloney sandwiches for a week at a time. And by a sandwich I mean maybe 1 slice of meat and tomato between white bread with some mayo, that’s it. She does like to eat a variety of food, but she is on social security/disability and as such has a very limited budget. About once a week I take her out to eat somewhere or make a nice meal for her on Sunday’s to make sure she’s getting something decent to eat. However now I want to start preparing all of her meals to ensure she is eating healthy.

The specifics I need help with are:

Keeping down costs – budget is going to be about 150$ a month as that’s what she has in food stamps
Making sure that the food tastes good after being re-heated
Meals have to be healthy, goal is kidney and diabetic friendly
Best way to execute the cooking – need to be as efficient as possible
Making sure I have enough variety so she’s not bored eating the same thing


Any tips or suggestions are welcomed and greatly appreciated. However I really am looking to partner with a person or two on this forum on this issue. I would like to work with someone on an on-going basis to continue improving my culinary skills and menu planning. I’m willing to pay someone for lessons over skype, E-mail, etc. If this goes well, my end goal is preparing all of the meals for my mother, wife, and I.

ajhuff
09-14-2012, 12:21 PM
Whew! That's a tall order in my opinion! My nutrition class in school I did something similar, cooking for a diabetic who also claimed a milk allergy and seafood allergy. I only had to do one meal per week though! I had actually thought of doing this professionally once as I was approached by a family to do something similar. Idea was to make pre-made, pre-portioned healthy meals that could just be pulled out of the freezer reheated and served for dinner. Basically, fresher healthier TV dinners! In metro area markets I discovered there are already companies that do different versions of this, but nothing remotely close to where I live. I did not have the resources to pursue it.

I think your stumbling block will be budget.

I think bento boxes are a perfect approach to what you are trying to do, that was my concept.

There are countless books and web sites out there that are there teaching how to do exactly what you want to do. Many written my mindless celebrity chefs or "hostesses." We used this book in school and I thought it was pretty good:
http://www.amazon.com/Good-Taste-Contemporary-Approach-Cooking/dp/0135915953/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347639538&sr=1-1&keywords=%22in+good+taste%22+victor

-AJ

Zwiefel
09-14-2012, 12:29 PM
Buying meats, fresh veggies, and dried goods in bulk from sam's club/costco/etc. will help manage costs, but might require you to pre-cook 1+ weeks worth of meals at a time though. Might give you some extra knife time breaking all that down though :)

mhlee
09-14-2012, 12:47 PM
+1 to AJ's comment about budget being the stumbling block.

Honestly, in order to get one month's worth of meals for $150, you're going to have to be very selective of what to buy simply based on price. There is almost no way you will be able to say, "I want to buy a, b, c" and just buy those ingredients. You'll be at the whim of what's on sale, seasonal, and likely frozen (e.g. fish, and fruits and vegetables during the winter).

That being said, I highly recommend going to ethnic grocery stores first to see what their prices are. Here in California, Mexican/Latino/Hispanic/Chinese/Korean markets can be cheaper than buying goods from Costco; fruits and vegetables are almost always cheaper at the Mexican/Latino/Hispanic markets and you're not forced to buy in bulk.

But, more importantly, I think its critical that you have an understanding of what is required to make food that meets your requirements, especially what makes something "kidney friendly." (Foods and dishes that are diabetic and heart healthy are pretty commonly known.) The type of information and help you're looking for generally comes from nutritionists and doctors, and they're not cheap. You'll also keep your own costs down if you have a strong foundation of what needs to be done before simply asking someone for help. You're also opening yourself up to being scammed if you ask for help blindly. Read a lot first.

I will just add that one thing that I've also learned from my friends who are or have become diabetic, is that you need to make sure she has the proper medication for this. Diet alone may not be enough.

Best of luck with this.

Shinob1
09-14-2012, 01:24 PM
Thanks all for the responses so far. My high level plan is I would do a weekly shopping trip with her and on a Sunday, cook up a weeks worth of meals. So buying in bulk and cooking in bulk is definitely okay with me.

I agree that the budget will be a major issue. If I have to chip in some money by adding in an extra 50 a month to make due, it wouldn't be the end of the world. However the goal is to be as close as possible to the $150 a month.

As for the medication, she's on more meds that you can shake a stick at. Recently they have added in medication for the kidney, diabetic, and heart issues. One of the main goals will be to have her not eat processed food, limit salt, and eat a regular amount of meals a day. She loves veggies, fruit, and seafood. So pleasing her will be very easy. The hard part will be being in budget and having enough variety to stick with it.

Buying in bulk or ethnic groceries, I'll have to look into that. We have Sam's Club, which I think is the same thing as CostCo. I have shopped there before when I was dieting an exercising, but my membership has expired. I'd be willing to renew it if it meant I could stretch a buck for her and obviously I'd benefit from buying in bulk for my meals.

As for the professional help, I'm going to see about attending some more doctor appointments to fill in the knowledge gaps. I go over her paperwork regularly and will see this weekend if they included information about diet. If not, I'll do some additional research online to get started.

ajhuff
09-14-2012, 01:27 PM
In a way, it can't be done, and not to get too soap boxish, but speaking as a Type II Diabetic, all of the foods that are "diabetic approved" are out of your budget. The staples you can afford, rice, potatoes, bread, pasta are all off limits. It is very difficult to eat healthy and not go broke. And I'll stop there before I get worked up.

-AJ

Shinob1
09-14-2012, 01:33 PM
AJ - I appreciate the honesty and candid response. As someone who is diabetic, if you'd be willing to share with me what foods are diabetic friendly offline I'd be very grateful. If in the end I need to spend more money out of my pocket, then that's what I'll have to do. Right now it would be helpful to know what it is that the money needs to go to.

ajhuff
09-14-2012, 01:41 PM
The diet basics are not hard but I think not in your budget that's all. If you think you can supplement just. Little bit, that changes the dynamic. When I get home to my computer with. Keyboard I will type up. Few ideas.

-AJ

Shinob1
09-14-2012, 02:33 PM
The diet basics are not hard but I think not in your budget that's all. If you think you can supplement just. Little bit, that changes the dynamic. When I get home to my computer with. Keyboard I will type up. Few ideas.

-AJ

Sounds good!
http://i.imgur.com/5oaZj.png

Pensacola Tiger
09-14-2012, 02:38 PM
In a way, it can't be done, and not to get too soap boxish, but speaking as a Type II Diabetic, all of the foods that are "diabetic approved" are out of your budget. The staples you can afford, rice, potatoes, bread, pasta are all off limits. It is very difficult to eat healthy and not go broke. And I'll stop there before I get worked up.

-AJ

AJ,

What success, if any, have you had using the glycemic index to determine food choice?

Rick

Lucretia
09-14-2012, 03:07 PM
You might want to try your local library, too. There are LOTS of diabetic cookbooks out there.

The American Diabetes Association also has recipes (http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/) on line. Don't know how they are as far as kidney-friendly, or what your mom's limits are on carbohydrate intake, but it's a place to start.

Shinob1
09-14-2012, 04:48 PM
You might want to try your local library, too. There are LOTS of diabetic cookbooks out there.

The American Diabetes Association also has recipes (http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/) on line. Don't know how they are as far as kidney-friendly, or what your mom's limits are on carbohydrate intake, but it's a place to start.

Didn't even consider the library! I think people use to go to those back in the 1900s. :wink: I bet they have cookbooks that are specific for kidney disease too. My mother was given one by a friend and I browsed it briefly. I guess a lot of people with kidney disease are diabetic? From what I saw, a lot of the kidney friendly recipes followed what I assume is diabetic diet guidelines, lower carb, no sugar, salt etc.

I checked that site too and that was a great place to start. I'll read up over the weekend and see if a recipe or two would be something my mom would enjoy. The trick will be finding something that I can make for cheap.

ajhuff
09-14-2012, 05:13 PM
AJ,

What success, if any, have you had using the glycemic index to determine food choice?

Rick

I don't use it per se. Goal is to minimize carbohydrates and maximize fiber. When you concentrate on fiber you end up eating the same foods as if you were selecting with the glycemic index.

-AJ

Lucretia
09-14-2012, 09:22 PM
Didn't even consider the library! I think people use to go to those back in the 1900s. :wink:

Ah, grasshopper, go to the library and prepare to be amazed! I can't tell you how many recommended cookbooks have been checked out of the library for evaluation. Saved $$$ on ones that didn't look that wonderful in person. They also have these amazing moving pictures that you can check out! (1900s. Hmmph. Whippersnapper. :joec:)


I guess a lot of people with kidney disease are diabetic?
Actually, a lot of people who are diabetic get kidney disease...and heart disease...and nerve damage...and the list goes on...it's a horrible, horrible illness.

Cabbage is wonderful and cheap, as are eggs. Soups can be your friend. Cauliflower can be a decent substitute for potatoes (or rice, if you chop it finely). If you're going to have grains, have whole grains. AJ called it--minimize carbohydrates, maximize fiber. If you can get your mom to exercise at all (walking is perfect) it really helps control your sugar.

The Edge
09-15-2012, 04:40 AM
My grandmother had a lot of those same problems: kidney disease and diabetic. If I remember correctly, the doctor did give her papers with foods ranked on it, though I'm sure they are long gone now. I would ask for something like that if you go to the doctor's with her. The library, as mentioned, is also another noteworthy place to search. For budget, someone else mentioned this as well, but hit up the ethnic markets. A way to save on not adding a lot of salt, is by adding other spices. Indian markets have amazing deals on bulk spices, so much so, that you'll be hard pressed to spend $15 getting everything you see. For fish, the best deals I've seen have been at asian markets. Granted it won't be halibut, but you'll get fresh fish, if you know when it gets delivered, that won't break the bank. I think one thing that will help out cooking in bulk, is to do soups, as they often taste better the next day, and the variety can be endless. Just make a bunch, put it in individual serving sized containers, and all she'll have to do is heat them up. Good luck, and let us know how things work out! On a side note, I do get veggies pushed on me by people that have gardens in their backyards, as they often get overwhelmed when things actually start to get ripe, and they don't want to go through the hassle of canning or cooking it all at once.

Mike9
09-15-2012, 03:47 PM
If you have freezer space you can stock up. I would by bulk fish, but only if it is IQF - not block frozen. If you can buy a small chest freezer now if you don't have one. The price of meats is cheap, but after November will go up considerably and it's going to hurt a lot of people. Buy cases of canned goods, stocks, whatever - seriously - the price of food is going to go ballistic this winter.

SpikeC
09-15-2012, 04:40 PM
The failure of the corn crop is going to have some serious consequences.

lowercasebill
09-15-2012, 06:46 PM
speak with her doctors.. i assume she is on a low potassium diet for her kidneys there are lists available of what she can and cannot have.. next the diabetes doctor.. there should be handouts available .. check your local hospital/ community college/ high school adult education listing .. you should be able to find free or close to it lectures about living with diabetes.. once you have some basic education ask the endocrinologist for a referral to a registered dietician and consult with her.. once you have a list of the foods that meet all 3 of her limitations post them here and i suspect you will get lots of help.. lastly .. you will have to make some trade-offs and accept the fact that there is no perfect answer.. do the best you can and realize that there is no perfect answer and anything you do is better than what is happening now. good luck.

Shinob1
09-16-2012, 05:52 PM
Thanks all for the response so far. I'm going to see if I can speak with her doctors and gather some more information. I've had some PMs and emails from some members and greatly appreciate it.

sachem allison
09-16-2012, 06:27 PM
Thanks all for the responses so far. My high level plan is I would do a weekly shopping trip with her and on a Sunday, cook up a weeks worth of meals. So buying in bulk and cooking in bulk is definitely okay with me.

I agree that the budget will be a major issue. If I have to chip in some money by adding in an extra 50 a month to make due, it wouldn't be the end of the world. However the goal is to be as close as possible to the $150 a month.

As for the medication, she's on more meds that you can shake a stick at. Recently they have added in medication for the kidney, diabetic, and heart issues. One of the main goals will be to have her not eat processed food, limit salt, and eat a regular amount of meals a day. She loves veggies, fruit, and seafood. So pleasing her will be very easy. The hard part will be being in budget and having enough variety to stick with it.

Buying in bulk or ethnic groceries, I'll have to look into that. We have Sam's Club, which I think is the same thing as CostCo. I have shopped there before when I was dieting an exercising, but my membership has expired. I'd be willing to renew it if it meant I could stretch a buck for her and obviously I'd benefit from buying in bulk for my meals.

As for the professional help, I'm going to see about attending some more doctor appointments to fill in the knowledge gaps. I go over her paperwork regularly and will see this weekend if they included information about diet. If not, I'll do some additional research online to get started.

One of the major issues in acheiving your goal with the limited budget is that the less expensive bulk fillers such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, so on and so forth are incredibly not diabetic friendly and those same type items that are diabetic friendly are quite expensive. I suggest legumes, beans, split peas and lentils. These are diabetic friendly and low cost. Add some vegetables and a little meat as a garnish and you can make a huge variety of foods. definitely think ethnic cuisine (Indian and Asian cuisines) have a higher emphasis on vegetables and plant based proteins and these will definitely help with the diabetes and heart disease. I know, I have both. Farmers markets help and you live in Ohio make a weekend trip to the local farms and orchards and see if you can glean the fields after harvest. Go straight to the source if you can. Make a variety of sauces and proteins in advance . When I had time I would make little 300 calorie meals and freeze them in microwavable togo containers. I would spend one day and make 4 or 5 complete meals and divy them up, then I would put them in stacks of 4 or 5 mixed meals. That way I would never eat the same meal in a row. Pull out a couple of meals the day before and micro for 2 minutes and you are good to go. Do the same thing with soups.

sachem allison
09-16-2012, 06:29 PM
check out Dlife.com for the diabetes

Shinob1
09-17-2012, 12:55 PM
So after some more reading I'm starting to formulate a plan of attack. The common foods that I'm finding that make sense are lower carb veggie, fish protein, and poultry. Chef Son - you mentioned Asian influenced meals, and my mom loves stir-fry. So anything that resembles Chinese food will be a big hit.

I do have a couple of questions though - what would be the best way to prepare the food? I'm debating if I should steam the veggies vs. saute. If I steamed I'd cut out some fat and some calories, but I am afraid it would just turn out bland. Also, I don't have a steamer, so if I did steam the veg, how should I go about it?

Second question is creating a stir-fry sauce that is lower in sodium. For myself I finish with a store bought Stir-Fry sauce as a lot of my cooking is semi-homemade. So any ideas on how to create a simple low sodium sauce I can put on a Stir-Fry would be very helpful. This also kinda goes into the seasoning issue. If anyone knows of a seasoning "primer" of sorts, that would be awesome.

Tentatively and high level my menu plan will look something like this:


Fresh fruit plates
Salads with berries and or fruit
Baked Fish with veggie
Saute Chicken & veggie stir-fry
Vegetable Soup
Whole Grain Pasta with tomato sauce/gravy and turkey meatballs


The contents of the veggie will be driven off the diabetic and kidney disease lists I'm finding. Things like the top 10 or 15 foods. At some point I'm going to see if I can get her to see a renal nutritionist, but being that she's only stage 3, I'm not sure if it will make it harder to do so since seeing one is not a requirement at stage 3. I'll have to see what I can do on this one, but information on the web and cookbooks is enough to get me going.

ajhuff
09-17-2012, 01:38 PM
Metal strainer that fits into a pot with a lid = cheap steamer.

-AJ

sachem allison
09-17-2012, 01:42 PM
You really don't need a lot of liquid to steam your vegetables. 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid in the hot pan with the vegetables ,put a lid on it and cook to the desired tenderness. Remember bright color is better for you, don't over cook. You can steam the vegetables in a low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth. Better if you make your own, that way you know what goes in it. Use the trimmings of the vegetables from the meals you make. Buy your meat on the bone. Save the bones if you do a roast chicken and use that to make chicken stock, always save the bones, make stock and freeze in ice cube trays, remove from the trays when frozen and place in a ziploc bag, take out as needed. Fat is your friend if used in moderation, many vitamins and nutrients are fat soluble, so you need a little to stay health, also fat transports flavor that's why we love fatty foods. Use healthy fats when cooking ( canola for high heat cooking, extra virgin olive oil for finishing)( olive oil doesn't go with Asian food). If you can find it in an Asian market rice bran oil would be the way to go , it is extremely healthy for you and has a neutral flavor.
For low sodium stir-fry sauce, use low sodium soy sauce, or frankly just use less regular soy. Moderation is the key, smaller portions. 1/2 cup starch, 1 cup vegetables and 3-4 oz of meat and you should be fine. You can indulge in a dessert or something sweet once in a while , have a cheat day or meal. Don't deprive yourself and it will be easier.
If you make diabetic friendly food than it will automatically help with the kidneys and heart health and vice versa. The menus and theories are pretty close to the same. really check out www.dlife.com there are a lot of doctors and people who will help you and it's free. They have an extensive recipe library and tools that you can use. By the way any vegetable is better than none. stay away from the processed lunch meat, it is really high in sodium and other nasties. hope this helps

Zwiefel
09-17-2012, 01:56 PM
You can steam the vegetables in a low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth. Better if you make your own, that way you know what goes in it.

Good advice...would also point out that Swanson's makes a very low (maybe "no added"?) sodium "cooking chicken stock." It's made specifically for sauces that will be reduced. Good substitute for homemade if you don't have the time or run out of homemade:

http://www.amazon.com/Swanson-Chicken-26-Ounce-Aseptic-Packages/dp/B0029TAT24/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347904532&sr=8-1&keywords=swanson%27s+chicken+stock

ajhuff
09-17-2012, 03:45 PM
Metal strainer that fits into a pot with a lid = cheap steamer.

-AJ

You can also buy one of these at most grocery stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Large-Stainless-Vegetable-Steamer/dp/B00004UE8F/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347911023&sr=8-1&keywords=expandable+steamer

-AJ

ajhuff
09-17-2012, 03:49 PM
You can indulge in a dessert or something sweet once in a while , have a cheat day or meal. Don't deprive yourself and it will be easier.


Speaking from experience, this is almost critical. My wife does Weight Watchers. One thing she added to the regular routine of Weight Watchers is a cheat day. Saturday is weigh in day. On Saturdays she eats whatever she wants. Then back to the plan on Sundays. I do a lot better when I join her on Saturdays with her cheat day than if I try to grind it out every day. It's kind of like working overtime but you know you have a vacation coming up next month. It really helps mentally.

-AJ

Eamon Burke
09-17-2012, 04:08 PM
I just saw this thread. I wish I had seen it earlier.

One thing I will add is FERMENT, FERMENT, FERMENT. Fermented foods are huge in restricted diets like hers, and require no skill to prepare--you just take the food out and eat it.

However, someone will have to do the fermenting for her, as she is unlikely to keep up with it, and buying good fermented foods gets $$$.

If she is buying food exclusively with food stamps, and has no other money with which to buy food, and they are giving her $150, something is wrong. To put it in perspective, a single mother with one child IME(in Texas, of course) usually gets about $300, and a family of 4 gets about $500, assuming there is no other money with which to buy food.

Perhaps check out a local charity of some sort.

Shinob1
09-17-2012, 07:02 PM
I've started looking at the dlife.com and other websites, and they seem to have a lot of good information. As for the budget, she recieves a monthly check for being on disability, which is around $900 for the month. Between the rent, utilities, price of medication and other bills, she may have $50 extra a month if that. So she has to eat off of her foodstamps for the most part. It's a big reason why I take her out or cook for her once a week, so she can get a good meal in and have enough leftovers for another meal.

Zwiefel
09-17-2012, 09:47 PM
I just saw this thread. I wish I had seen it earlier.

One thing I will add is FERMENT, FERMENT, FERMENT. Fermented foods are huge in restricted diets like hers, and require no skill to prepare--you just take the food out and eat it.

However, someone will have to do the fermenting for her, as she is unlikely to keep up with it, and buying good fermented foods gets $$$.

If she is buying food exclusively with food stamps, and has no other money with which to buy food, and they are giving her $150, something is wrong. To put it in perspective, a single mother with one child IME(in Texas, of course) usually gets about $300, and a family of 4 gets about $500, assuming there is no other money with which to buy food.

Perhaps check out a local charity of some sort.

Eamon....could you give some examples? All i can think of is: sauerkraut, kimchee, beer, and yogurt....doesnt seem very rounded....

Eamon Burke
09-17-2012, 09:56 PM
That's the point--you can ferment dang near anything. It's how you keep fresh vegetables when you don't have a fridge. I would hit up the library for a book on fermenting, it's kind of an un-learning experience.

But really, $150 for a person who is living exclusively on Food Stamps is suspect. Maybe get a good looking person with tons of patience and good people skills to accompany her to the HHSC office next time.

ajhuff
09-17-2012, 10:02 PM
In 2000 when I was unemployed, on the verge of eviction for being in arears and owing several credit card companies I was told that I should be able to exist on $25/week, this was my government allowance. So to me $150 seems in the ballpark.

-AJ

Zwiefel
09-18-2012, 12:36 AM
$30/week was my budget for a couple of years (90's)...i ended up stealing a lot of food from my employer though.

Eamon Burke
09-18-2012, 02:21 AM
Things are MAJORLY different since 2008. The poverty line is far higher, and the benefits are pretty jacked. The actual process for determining need is a secret, but I can tell you from first and second hand knowledge that getting anything(whether it's Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, etc) from an HHSC office is very much about buttering up your worker. It is not much different than traffic tickets--it's more about rapport with the officer than actual severity or frequency of your driving habits.

My wife and I have 2 kids and we budget out $125 a week for food. We often end up going over. Food isn't as cheap anymore--beef is $5.5-8/lb, and apples are a dollar each. It's more than it used to be, but I don't think it's too much, it's almost expensive enough to be just.

I'm only saying that there are two options:
1. She is getting stiffed by the state.
or
2. She has money that COULD be allocated for food, that isn't. Thus it is a budget problem.

I think, as the earlier posters suggest, that she will not be able to eat healthfully, especially on such a restricted diet, without spending a good deal more money.

jayhay
09-18-2012, 09:45 AM
Hey man, here with a few suggestions. Sorry to hear about your moms illness. I can relate as my mom had some serious health problems and I helped with food as much as I could. I'll reiterate about the GI index. It's a very valuable tool for diabetics and the like. I know it may seem unlikely, but farmers markets can be a good source for cheaper produce. I know the fruitful season may be closing up soon, but you may be able to use it as a resource for the next couple months. Ask vendors for "seconds" or "b" produce. They generally always have it, just maybe not on the main table. Usually it's a not so round tomato, or a slightly imperfect head of lettuce. That's the stuff I buy, as it's just as good and costs way less. And if you develop a relationship with them and explain the situation, maybe they will give you a discount if you buy a few things. And for proteins, Trader Joe's has a good deal on frozen bonless skinless chicken breasts. I don't remember the exact price/weight but it's a lot cheaper than fresh, and it's a good product. Then you have stuff like shirataki noodles. No carbs or sodium, just a bit pricey. Might be good as a treat.

It's gonna be tough, but it's doable. It will get easier as you go, once you know the good deals and what to buy. And have fun with the preparations. Good luck with everything.

Shinob1
09-18-2012, 12:49 PM
Thanks again everyone for the responses. To clarify, she has food stamps in addition to her disability check, which is $900 a month. So there is other money to use for food, however her bills chew up the majority of her check so she pretty much eats off of the $150 in food stamps. Also, I can pitch in some money to help as well, so I don't want to get too hung up on the budget, but the goal is to be around $150 per month.

I see a common thread here on farmers markets. It's something that I "know of" at best, but haven't been to a farmer's market recently nor do I know where they are located. I'm assuming I can just google it up and go from there. However when we're talking about cost savings, how much of a savings can one expect to have? I always thought the farmer's market was more expensive not cheaper, because the quality is better. To maximize the savings, do I need to buy in bulk? If so, I imagine as Eamon was pointing out, I can look into fermenting or other means of preservation.

In addition to budget, cost, and purchasing food, what is the best way to prepare all of this? I've never had to cook so much food at once; is there a method to the madness I should follow? Should I do things like par-boil veggies or protein so when I go to saute them they cook faster? Do I prep/breakdown the veggie first and later proteins? Should I shoot for weekly shopping trips and food prep or would I be better off doing 2 weeks or more at a time?

Again, I cannot thank you all enough for the responses, PMs, and E-mails to help me with this task.

Eamon Burke
09-18-2012, 12:52 PM
Also, some farmer's markets, like the one I work at, and most of them in Michigan, offer a program where Food Stamps are matched, so you spend $10, you get $20 worth of credit for food. If there is a market near you that does that(you should ask the coordinator, they don't often advertise it for some reason), it would be HUGE for her budget.