It is challenging to eliminate fibromyalgia trigger foods from your diet and replace them with fibro-friendly foods or add more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
One of the most problematic issues can be when your family doesn't want to eat new or healthier foods, so you have to get creative.
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Here are a few fibro mom tricks to sneak some extra vegetables and fruits into your family's meals, so the challenge of changing your diet isn't as difficult for yourself or unpleasant for your family.
In addition, you can use these ideas to experiment with reducing or increasing other types of food, for example, less refined sugar or more healthy fats.
1. START THE DAY WITH A BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE
Throw some fruit (fresh or frozen), greek yogurt, or dairy-free milk in a blender. You might also want to add a scoop of protein powder, chia, or hemp seeds there for extra protein.
Blend the mixture for a few seconds, and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. Leave out the protein powder for children and use dairy milk or nut milk fortified with vitamins.
To make it even more appealing, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of coconut ice cream in the smoothie. But, of course, your children won't believe that you let them have ice cream for breakfast!
2. BERRIES MAKE AN EXCELLENT SNACK
Think blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Add some to a small ziplock bag in your child's lunch box, or offer berries for an after-school snack.
You can also add berries, nuts, and seeds to oatmeal, granola, and cereal in the morning.
3. ADD SOME FRUITS & VEGETABLES TO SANDWICHES
You can add some banana or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and anything else they will eat.
You can even make a subway-style vegetable sandwich by combining several vegetables with some mayonnaise or mustard on bread.
For yourself, you might combine your vegetable ingredients of choice to create a salad bowl or use gluten-free bread for a sandwich if you are eating a gluten-free diet.
4. HAVE A SALAD BAR DINNER
Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, sliced avocado, leafy greens, and several salad dressing choices, and let everybody create their perfect salad. You can add a soup option, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to discuss with toasted bread cut into squares for homemade croutons.
If you want to avoid gluten, make a portion of gluten-free croutons for yourself. Make this quick and easy any day of the week by cooking soup in bulk in advance and storing it in the freezer in several portions.
5. DRINK YOUR FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Keep a variety of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage your family to drink them as snacks. Be creative. Start "family cocktail hour" by pouring everybody a glass of their favorite fruit juice over ice. Add some curly straws and cocktail umbrellas, and sit together to discuss how everybody's day went.
Natural fruit and vegetable juices are an easy way to get more nutrition into your diet and a fantastic way to add a fun family activity that doesn't take much energy or time to prepare.
6. TRY THIS FOR DESSERT
Put a small scoop of coconut ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit—a quick and easy delicious treat.
7. PICK FRUIT & VEGETABLE AS SNACKS
You can cut bananas into slices and top them with peanut butter or hazelnut cocoa spread. Serve walnuts with grapes. Cut up some fresh carrots into sticks and serve them with homemade guacamole—simple and nutritious snacks. Get my guacamole recipe.
8. TRY SOMETHING NEW
Pick some exotic fruit to get your family's curiosity. Luckily, their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension about trying something new. You could try plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.
9. MAKE SOUP
Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew heavy on the veggies and easy on the meat. This makes some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.
10. START A "MY VEGGIE DAY"
Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before. Otherwise, they lose a turn, and Mom gets to decide.
Incorporate a few of these ideas, and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.
HOW TO STICK TO A FOOD BUDGET
A common question when trying new recipes, creating a meal plan to suit your dietary needs, or figuring out which diet works best for you may be: How expensive will it be?
The stress of not knowing if you can afford to make changes to your diet can end the most motivated attitudes. It’s, therefore, essential that you ease into dietary changes as simply and affordably as possible.
Fortunately, the following few paragraphs will explore some tips on how you can stick to a budget.
BUY IN BULK
While there is a significant investment upfront when buying in bulk, you typically save quite a bit of money in the long run. Buying your lean meat in bulk and freezing it is a great way to save money and buy your pantry staples that will last a long time.
Buy nuts, flours, and oils in bulk to save. Store these items in airtight jars to maintain their freshness. Nuts will keep for up to three months at room temperature and up to six months in the refrigerator.
Buying dry herbs and ground spices in bulk can also help you get the best value for money. Keep herbs and spices you will use in six months in your pantry and store the remaining in ziplock bags or airtight containers in the freezer.
EAT WHOLE FOODS
It can be easy to fall back on newer processed versions of foods that appear on shelves in shiny packages and with attractive marketing. But unfortunately, not only do processed foods have additives and preservatives that you will want to avoid, but they are usually not as nutritiously complete as whole foods.
A money-saving strategy is to buy fruits and vegetables in season. When you buy fruit and vegetables in the season, they are generally found in surplus and, therefore, more affordable.
EAT MORE PLANT-BASED MEALS
One of the most significant expenses you can encounter when buying different meal ingredients for the week would be the addition of animal-based foods. Foods like cheese and meat are generally more expensive than fresh produce like zucchini, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Need more protein and omega-3 fatty acids? Add in fish, and save money by substituting fresh fish meals with inexpensive canned tuna, salmon, or sardines.
Clip grocery coupons from newspapers, weekend inserts, and anywhere you can find them. Look out for what is on special at your supermarket or greengrocer. Then, create your meal plan according to the specials of the week or month.
Tip: Stock up and store or freeze special-priced items when your budget allows.
One fun way to save is to trade coupons and strategize food deals with friends, family, social groups, work colleagues, and anyone else who’d like to join in. Food co-ops and farmer's markets may offer special pricing to groups or for large purchases.
Team up with others for better purchasing power and split everything between group members. If you're not into that much organization, go one-on-one with a neighbor, friend, or relative. Buy a huge bag of rice, oats, and/or other foods in bulk, and then share it between you.
Sometimes it may not be possible to find or keep a variety of fresh fruit or vegetables on hand so consider storing a variety of frozen produce in your freezer. Frozen vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness, so they contain most of the health benefits of fresh vegetables.
In addition, frozen berries are usually much less expensive than fresh ones when they are not in season. If you are buying food in bulk to save, take some time to review what you can freeze and what you shouldn’t freeze.
And most importantly, when you cook a meal that freezes well, make sure to double or triple your recipe. Then, freeze the additional portions for easy reheating when you don’t have the energy to cook.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Finally, take your time. Build up your pantry over time as you try out new recipes and ingredients. Start slowly replacing your current pantry stapes once you run out of them. Then, consider selecting just one new ingredient each week, fortnight, or month that you want to add to your diet.
Be sure to note in your journal the new ingredient you are trying, the meal you cooked using it, how you felt after eating it, and any positive or negative effects on your fibromyalgia symptoms.