Top 5 Tips for Single Moms Cooking on a Budget for a Kid with a Food Allergy
1. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! Take a couple hours per week, every week, to write down a list of foods that you will be making during the week. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and everything in between. Know before you go shopping, exactly what you are going to make and go shopping with a precise list that you know is within your budget.
2. Buy food in bulk and online. If your child’s food allergy is forcing you to purchase more expensive items, chances are your budget is taking a larger hit than you can afford. Do some research before you buy. There are plenty of websites that offer allergy friendly foods, like coconut flour and almond flour for a celiac, at wholesale prices. You may have to spend more up front, but you’ll get a larger quantity that lasts longer and saves you more in the long run.
3. Make meals ahead. Cooking for a child with food allergies usually mean extra cooking and less buying out or re-heating packaged meals. So for those single moms that are moving 100 miles per hour each day just to keep their family’s world spinning, taking the time to cook meals ahead will save your sanity! Freeze what you don’t need right away and pull it out in a pinch when it’s time to eat. Don’t forget to label your food with dates and ingredients. Don’t forget the ingredients in case you mix and match food for yourself that isn’t food allergy friendly.
4. Make bulk meals. Always cook more food than is needed in the moment. Kids are kids and they will say they are hungry every 10 minutes. If you cook bulk meals, you’ll have allergy friendly food ready to go at any time AND you’re saving money by repurposing a breakfast for a snack. Not to mention, you know your child is eating healthy foods even for snacks.
5. Force yourself to get creative. At the end of the week when your fridge and pantry are starting to look empty, get creative with what you’ve got. Turn it into a game and stretch the ingredients as much as you can with a recipe you’ve designed yourself. Mix and match from old meals, mix breakfast items with dinner items and even incorporate snacks to create a large plate of favorite foods. Kids will appreciate the variety and will be excited to mix and match their meal-time food all in one meal.