This is a big subject as it encompasses everything - money, fitness and health, and time management.
I'm a frugal person in that I don't like to waste anything and I don't overspend. Except on food. About four years ago I suddenly realised that I had no idea what my monthly outgoings were. So I started to record my spending. Since becoming a single mother I've parred down all spending - even, where I can, on fixed costs. The only place I could economise further was on food. So this month I have done.
DD has two meals and two snacks a day at the nursery (one with meat). In the evening she really only needs some scrambled egg, a tomato and a cucumber. Not the exact same food every day but similar proportions of simple supper fare. I'd been buying food for evening meals as if I were cooking for a family of teenagers and a hungry husband home after a long day of sandwiches and coffee. In reality, it's just me and DD. But I do like to cook.
I'm also inspired to copy the modest family suppers that you sometimes see in old films. No overloading the plates with all sorts of processed chemicals and fried foods and which is eaten very slowly. I used to have a whole shelf of diet books that looked like chemistry lessons. Then I discovered French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. Her common sense approach to food without dieting (or joining an expensive gym) appeals to my quest for finding a healthy and endurable way to eat for life. I threw out all those other diet books and this has become my bible. Yes, I do go back and read it again every few months.
Other parents have told me that the trick is to plan the week's meals ahead of time and stick loosely to a master plan e.g. pasta on Mondays, pizza on Tuesdays, etc... So I made a simple plan for a non-meat kitchen that allows me a little cooking. NB Our weekends are Friday/Saturday.
Friday: Lunch - scrambled egg, chopped salad (one tomato, one cucumber, red pepper, lemon juice, salt and pepper).
Dinner - vegetable streudel, ratatouille and potato kugel (baked savoury potato cake).
Saturday: Lunch - potato salad, chopped salad, tuna croquettes.
Supper: egg salad, cheese, homemade humus, tomato and cucumber, with wholewheat bread.
Sunday: leftovers from the weekend or pita pizza.
Monday: pasta verdi (handful of frozen peas, brocolli and beans thrown in with the cooking pasta, dressed with olive oil and grated cheese), chopped salad.
Tuesday: Orzo Confetti (rice cooked with a handful of frozen sweet corn, chopped red peppers, and peas or beans), chopped salad, vegetable burgers.
Wednesday: cheese burekas (filo parcels), chopped salad.
Thursday: spaghetti tofunaise, chopped salad.
Dessert is always fruit or fruit salad if we're being sophisticated (I add 1/2tsp vanilla extract and raisins to make it sweeter but no added sugar). Lately DD's treat has been to go to the shop and choose a yogurt (loose term as she usually picks the chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top). Somehow she also manages to bring home a packet of crisps or suchlike. ("DD pay the lady," she says. Which means putting her purchases on the counter and collecting them the other end. I deal with the money while she's 'paying.')
Snacks are raisins and wholewheat pretsels, fruit and sometimes (not more than twice a day :-) ) chocolate squares.
During the day I try to have a late breakfast and then eat supper with DD at 5.30. I drink a lot of coffee though I am trying to drink more green tea (in my attempt to live to 120).
I also wrote a shopping list of everything I use during the week. So far this month I've spent 300 shekels less at the supermarket (about 54 pounds) and lost 2kg (about 4.5lbs). Midlife Singlemum is getting a grip!
This post has been linked to Meal Planning Monday at At Home With Mrs M. And MUMenTUM at New Mum Online. Check out the former for weekly meal plans, and the latter for the MUMenTUM club, all about motivation and support for getting back into shape.