Yo, Food Is Expensive! Budget Meals, Emergency Meal Kits.

Today, I will share two more DIY emergency meal kits that are shelf stable and you can easily take them with you in an emergency. Why would you want to do that? Because eating out is way more expensive than getting a hotel with a microwave or even better a kitchenette. I would honestly take a hot plate or electric frying pan with you, just in case.

These meals are not meant to be healthy. They are meant to be affordable, even cheap, portable, shelf-stable, and easy to make. You put everything you need into a Ziplock bag. I can not find the really big bags right now, at least not for a price I am willing to pay, so I am using the gallon bags and it is a tight squeeze. I also put the date of the earliest item that will expire. That way I know to use it and replace it by that date. If you have ever had to evacuate for a hurricane or other natural disaster, then you know how much money you could be spending on just feeding your family. You don’t see pet food in any of these kits, but please don’t forget to have extra pet food for your pets as well as water.

These are also budget meals and can be thrown together quickly on a busy night when you are tired. My husband hates freezer crockpot meals, but that is another option for busy, working moms.

You could buy organic options for these items, but they are way more expensive and do not last as long in your pantry. So, you would need to pay closer attention to the use by dates.

One suggestion I would make, especially if you have CKD, is to learn to cook and then can your own meats. This would contain way less sodium and phosphorus than canned or pre-packaged varieties and are shelf stable for long periods of time. I will try to see if I can find a video on that topic.

The first budget meal kit is so easy. You don’t even need a can opener because it has pop tops and cost me $2.25. This will feed three of us, and possibly four if there was a younger person with us. It is Spaghettios. Each of these cans is about 16 ounces and while it says one cup can be a serving the whole can is 290 calories. Besides the ease of this meal, the nutrition stats are not horrible for these, and honestly, I like them. There are phosphorous additives in here, and high fructose corn syrup which I generally do not consume, but in a pinch it is OK. Of course, the sodium is high as well. But, there is some fiber and very little fat. So, compared to a take-out cheeseburger I think these are way healthier. The date I have to use these by is Feb 2024. I may just make a few more of these kits.

The second budget meal kit is tomato soup with these little pasta pieces that look like broken spaghetti. Campbell’s is kind of expensive for soup, so you could get a generic and save more money. The pasta is 7ounces and is about 30 cents at my Walmart. Each can contains 2.5 servings, and that is before you add water to it. This meal is hearty, easy, and will easily feed at least 4 people a good warm meal. This soup does not have high fructose corn syrup, but it does have phosphorus additives. Make sure you read your labels to try and stay in compliance with any diet restrictions you may have. The pasta can cook right in the soup, so the one bottle of water is probably enough, but you may want two to be safe. At my Walmart, each can of soup is about $1.25 for each, and the pasta is 35 cents. That means this meal costs only $2.85.

Don’t forget if these are emergency meal kits, to have a way to cook it, including a pan or bowl, something to eat on and with, and then store it if you need to. But, I recommend you eat it all and not have to store it.

So far I have 4 of these kits, and I would like at least 14. Why? Because, if we ever have to evacuate again, and say it is 7 days, at least we will have two hearty meals a day and not bust our bank account in the process. Plus, if we ever go to a shelter you need to bring your own food and water. So, that is another good reason to have them ready to go. You could also gift these to people who may be having a hard time right now, or just hand it out your window to a homeless, hungry person. I have several other ideas rolling around in my head. Now, you can buy shelf-stable food that is a little more gourmet, in meal kits. But, they are super duper expensive. Those cute gallon sealable bags are not Ziplock but they came from Aldis.

Sweating On Sunday: Low Impact Walking Videos For CKD!

If you search under my category Sweating on Sunday, you will find other fun videos that I have shared. Today, I am adding a few more from two of my favorite Youtube channels that offer low-impact walking videos that are great for people with CKD, like me. Remember, to always ask your doctor before you begin working out. In general, walking is safe for everyone.

Try setting a step goal for the month of November. I have gradually added to my hourly step requirements. Initially, I began with 250 steps every hour. This gets me up and moving every single hour. For November I am setting the goal of 7 minutes on my treadmill, every hour, at the speed of 2.4 miles per hour. This gives me over 700 steps and almost a 1/3 of a mile walked. These hourly step goals are on top of whatever 30 min exercise I decided to do on any given day. When I work, I do not worry about this, because sitting still is not really part of a nurse’s life. I also don’t count the days that I am not home most of the day, but rather pick up for the hours that I am at home. You do not need a treadmill to do this. I also take the dog out and do laps around the backyard while playing ball with him, until I reached the required steps, or minutes.

Make your goal small so you don’t give up if you can’t meet it, then build from there monthly, or whatever timeframe works for you. Whatever you do, do not start with HIIT, or high-intensity exercises. These are not beginner workouts.

There are 5 videos below. One of them is a 4 mile walk and great goal to have.

Disclaimer

Let’s Focus On Exercise And CKD!

This will be the last post in this series, but I am sure I will discuss exercise forever. This is another webinar I found on the topic and I encourage you to take an hour out of your day and watch it. I like this one even better than the first one I shared earlier this week. I think this one is laid out a little better and the information is a little better.

Pay particular attention to the definitions of sedentary, physically active, exercise, and physical fitness. I think the three latter terms are often mingled together and they mean very different things. Also, pay attention to the details that might make exercise unsafe for people with CKD.

How Many Steps Per Day To Improve Quality Of Life With CKD?

If you have been following along this week, then you know I have been talking about exercise and CKD. In the archives of this blog, you will find lots of walking videos, that are low-impact aerobics. Walking is my main form of exercise, whether on the treadmill, outdoors, or using some of my favorite walking videos, I walk a lot. I also walk a lot at work. But, after I was first diagnosed it was so hard to work. I was exhausted all the time, with feet, back, and leg cramps. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to work. I worked part-time and felt like it was daunting. I still work part-time but have started to pick up the number of days of the week that I work. I don’t see myself working 5 days ever, not because of CKD, just because it seems like no life at all to only have two days a week off. Now that my second child is grown I have no real reason to need to be at home so much. The more I move around the better I feel, and the better I feel the more I can accomplish. This would most likely be true for you too. I am stronger, fitter, more active, and happier. But, that is just me, one person. What do other people with CKD say on this topic?

Well, good thing you asked because that is the topic today. This study is pretty new, and it used a survey format to ask people with CKD how they felt their life was going with certain amounts of exercise. The target number of steps was at least 7,000 per day up to 12,000 per day. The average age of the participants was 40, pretty young considering most CKD studies are done on older populations, with about half being men and half women. You can read the study here, but the study showed that the more active these people with CKD were the better they felt their quality of life was. The survey that was used is from the CDC and you can see the survey questions here. Walking is low impact, easy to do, and free with no equipment needed other than a device for assistance if you need it. You can even start by sitting in a chair and marching or holding onto your walker. You will only get stronger. Be patient and take your time. I have been fitness walking for years and 12,000 steps per day are hard to achieve. It is a lot of steps. You can not expect to do it in one day, or even one year, possibly, depending on where you are at. It is a goal, and goals take time. I give myself one full day of rest where I walk way less than 7,000 steps. I need that day.

I still have days where I feel yucky, but those days are mostly related to poor diet choices, and or not staying hydrated enough. Hydration is a huge stickler for me in what positions I am willing to take as a nurse. Having drinks at work can be frowned upon, but I am not in the need to care. If I get dehydrated I feel like crap. Working for me is almost like a workout, and I hydrate before I even get there, just in case I may not have time to grab a few guzzles of a drink. Since I drive 30 minutes to work, I have adequate time to down at least 8 ounces of fluids before I get there. I try to get 16 ounces in.

Invest in a step counter. Now, with that being said you don’t need a fancy one. I used to have a Fitbit and I loved it. But, it died, and I just never replaced it. Instead, I put a free step counter on my smartphone and I take the phone everywhere. There is workout apparel that can accommodate holding a phone so it can count your steps, or just put it in your pocket or even your bra.

If you need someone to walk with you to motivate you, adopt a dog. There are so many dogs in need in the world, or just foster it. The chances are good the dog will have to go to the bathroom. If you are new to dog ownership, or older, choose a manageable breed. Basic dog training for bigger dogs is recommended if you are new to walking. You don’t need your dog dragging you around.

Always talk about exercise with your doctor, especially if you are new to exercise. Take your time. If you can only do 1,000 steps on your first day, that is fine. Do 1,001 the next day. Add a couple of steps each day.

Tomorrow, or Friday, I will share some more of my favorite indoor walking videos that you can try.

Disclaimer

Exercise and Kidney Function!

I have already discussed the importance of exercise on quality of life, activities of daily living, bone health, muscle health, etc. But, what about kidney function? That is what everyone really wants to improve kidney function. Right? There have not been a lot of Randomized Control Trials, the good ones, for people with kidney disease, and the ones that have been done focus mainly on people on hemodialysis. But, hopefully, there will be more studies done. I am sharing one study, and you can read it here, that shows how important exercise is for people with kidney disease. It can even improve kidney function. If you don’t enjoy reading medical articles, then just read the conclusion. It is really the most important part. The big issue seems to be that doctors don’t, or can’t agree on how to prescribe exercise to their patients, or feel they will be non-compliant. I say just start moving! Do something, it is better than nothing. Baby steps will lead to bigger and better steps. It will improve your strength, balance, heart, blood pressure, weight, and Diabetes, and now evidence is showing kidney function. That doesn’t even count what exercise can do for your mental health.

I have done a lot of posts on the topic of Kidney Disease. It is near and dear to my heart because I have CKD. You can find all of my older posts in the sidebar under the sections. Don’t forget to always ask your doctor before you begin exercising.

Today, I did some meal prep. I will talk more about that next week. The question is, do I think spending one whole day doing meal prep is a good way to spend a day off? I know a lot of people make videos doing this, and spend lots of time on it. Come back next week to see what I think.

Don’t forget to try some of the flexibility exercises I shared yesterday. Next week will be balance exercises.

Do you exercise routinely? Are you on dialysis? Do you have CKD? How has exercise improved your quality of life? Leave me some comments, and I will read them all. I do not approve spam, so please only leave comments related to the topic, or they never get seen.

I have not decided yet what I will write about exercise and CKD tomorrow. I guess you will just have to wait and see, like me, lol.

Disclaimer

Let’s Talk About Exercise and CKD: Flexibility

If you did not read yesterday’s introduction to this topic be sure and go back to it, plus watch the video. If you are new here, my name is Melissa, and I have CKD. In 2016, on Christmas Day, my left kidney failed. It has been a long journey back to health and wellness, and I feel stronger and healthier today than I did in years. I am 53 years young and my eGFR is 58 at my last check last week. I have gone to 61, but now hover right around 59. I am still super pleased with that, though it remains a goal for my kidneys to get to stage 2 and consistently stay there. Diet and exercise are the two things that I truly believe helped me to heal my kidneys.

Now, as I write all that, please do not believe that I can run a marathon or something, I can not. Having CKD still means that I have limitations, plus my age is a consideration as well. I am a nurse by trade, and I still do floor nursing 3 days a week. This is very hard on the body when you are young, let alone in your fifties with CKD. However, I also know that having a desk job would be very detrimental to my movement goals and I am just not ready for that.

If you read yesterday, then you know two of my weakest areas are flexibility and balance. Now, I do have both of those to some degree because I walk every single day. I have a general goal of 8,000 steps per day. That is the number I try to make sure I reach every single day. 10,000 steps is my middle goal, and 12,500 is my ultimate goal. When I work I easily reach the middle goal, and a lot of times the ultimate goal. So, I obviously have to be flexible to some degree to be able to walk that many steps in a day and even in an 8-hour shift. But, I am not purposely making sure my flexibility is a focus and a goal. Some days my hamstrings are killing me after working all day, as well as my feet. I am prone to Charlie Horse’s too, and I am sure all of these things are because I do not do active stretching.

I am sharing an article, here, on the importance of flexibility for everyone. But, from the perspective of CKD, flexibility is super important for maintaining your daily life activities, and for keeping muscles toned and strong. Being able to have a good quality of life should be a major goal for anyone with Kidney Disease.

Remember to always start slow and only do what your body will allow you to do. No pain no gain is a myth and should not be applied to anyone with CKD. With that said, you do have to continually challenge your muscles, so small increments of increase are important, including not doing the same exercises forever even if you really like them. Always check with your doctor first to be sure they want you to exercise. Rest when you need to, and stop if you have pain. If you can do these activities mindfully it is even better.

So, for this week, I set a goal, and I will definitely try to do it every week going forward, to do at least 3 days of dedicated flexibility work. It will probably be on the days that I work. Below are some videos that I will be using because I like them. Choose the level that is good for you. If none of these fit your needs there are a million more to choose from. These are active warmups that focus on flexibility, not static exercises. I don’t care for those, but they can play a role.

Disclaimer

Get Your Sweat On #1!

Happy Sweating on Sunday! I have not done a Sunday exercise post in a very long time. As a matter of fact, I am still not back into the habit of doing regular posts at all. That is why I am setting a goal for myself to do at least 6 blog posts this week on the topic of exercise and CKD. There is a lot of research and studies that have been done that show the importance of exercise and Kidney Disease. This week I am going to focus on that topic. I personally feel like exercise has played a huge role in my getting to stage 2 and then continuing to hover just under stage 2. When I was first diagnosed I was close to stage 4 if not stage 4, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was already improving and at the low end of stage 3.

Today, to start off I just want to share the video below. It is about an hour long, and not the most exciting video you will ever watch, but it has a ton of information. There are a few things I want you to pay particular attention to and they are: 1. She does not have CKD I don’t believe, so when she talks from her own personal experience it is not the same as a person with CKD. 2. Listen to what she says about blood pressure and exercise. 3. I want to stress the part about no pain no gain. Listen to what she says, it is important. 4. Last but not least, hydration.

Exercise is important, and the one area, out of the 4 she discusses that I definitely am lacking in is flexibility. I am very bad about cooling down properly, and I also don’t do regular flexibility exercises. Balance is the other one. So, this week I am setting a goal for myself to do at least three days of flexibility exercises on the days that I work. I work three to four days a week, and I am not going to do aerobics on those days as I already walk an average of 10,000 steps at work. So, they are perfect days to do flexibility instead. Next week, I will focus on balance.

Anyway, set a small goal for yourself this week to start some kind of gentle exercise, especially if you do not, or have not exercised in a long time. Always ask your doctor first. There may actually be reasons, as mentioned in the video, that your doctor may not want you to exercise. However, most people can walk, and it is a great way to begin moving more.

Talk to you soon.

I have put together a few more pantry stable bag meals for preparedness. I will share them the following week. They can be stored for long periods of time and can also be budget meal ideas. It is more and more expensive to eat healthy when you have to follow a special diet.

Disclaimer

DIY Meal Kits For Emergencies and Budget Meals!

I did not realize I have not done a post in like 3 weeks. That was not my intention at all. When I first moved to Florida, from a cold state, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I remember watching it on TV and thinking what have I gotten us into. I was used to snow, ice, and blizzards. While those things can be very deadly they pale to a hurricane. During our first few years, I had our emergency kit stocked and ready to go every hurricane season. Then nothing happened for a while and I got lax about it. Now, granted where I live in Florida, we are at least an hour inland and I think the largest that has ever come over our home was close to a 2, but more like a 1.5 which is not really a thing. I find them to still be plenty scary, especially at night. We will almost always lose power, sometimes for up t a week. So, we still have to be ready to leave, and or stick it out without power. When Irma hit in 2017 we evacuated, because we were told to. I learned a lot from that as it was our first time evacuating. Now, Ian hit Southwest Florida just a couple of weeks ago. Given the size, Ian was, had it come on the original path it surely would have come right over us. If you have never seen what storm surge can do to a community watch the video below of Ian’s damage from storm surge. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this monster storm, and if you can in some way donate to their needs please do so through charities that are good, solid charities.

I watched some Youtube videos on meal kits from shelf-stable foods all packaged and ready to use. I thought that is brilliant! I used to just store a bunch of food in a bin, all thrown in there. This way you will get a meal in a bag all ready to be used with what you need. You can even slip in directions if you forget what the meal was or how to make it. These are also budget meals or can be, depending on what you use. Food is so expensive right now, especially fresh food, finding healthier shelf-stable foods to put in my kits will be a goal, but definitely not budget-friendly I am sure. My goal will be to create 14 of these meal kits to have stored either in a bin or in my pantry for easy grabbing. Keep in mind how you will open these products, cook them, and or heat them if needed. You will also need something to eat them on and with. In an emergency, filling your belly may be more important than eating healthy. However, if you have to eat a special diet for any reason it is crucial that you have kits that you can eat and still stay well. I have CKD, so I am mindful of that when doing these kits. If we ever evacuate again we will just pack these kits up and take them with us. That way we have food to eat without needing to eat out and food when we come home should something really awful occur. If 14 don’t take up too much room, I will create 14 more.

This first one is from items I already have on hand. That will also be a goal, to try and use stuff I have, instead of buying more. The date on the bag is the date of the item with the earliest use by date. That means we need to eat it by that date and replace it with another. Don’t make kits your family won’t eat, even if they seem healthy. This is dumb and a waste of money. Like you will never see oatmeal in one of my kits because only my husband will eat it.

I will give totals for each meal kit. I am using Walmart as a guide, but if I bought it somewhere else and I know the price then I will use that price. You will see the kit in the image below. These meal kits are to feed 3 adults.

Creamy Chicken Ramen with Corn

2 packets of creamy chicken Ramen .60

1 can of Libby’s corn .98 If you buy the Walmart brand it is about .50

1 bottle of Aquafina water .25 I buy them in packs of 32 and store them. Aquafina is my favorite, but there are cheaper brands. I drain most of the water off so I only need one bottle. If you intend to eat it more like a soup you may need 2. A single bottle is probably expensive if you choose to buy it that way.

1 can of chicken Walmart brand is $3.00 for 12,5 ounces. These are in water and fully cooked. You will get 13 grams of protein per serving. If you are watching your potassium there is 210 mg per serving and 380 mg of sodium. You could rinse the chicken to reduce some of the salt content, but honestly, if it is hot and humid and you don’t have power, you may need the extra sodium to not get depleted from sweating.

The grand total for meal kit #1 is $4,83 and it should feed 3 comfortably. I would break up the noodles before cooking to make them easier to portion out.

Just put everything in the bag, and seal it closed. This is a gallon bag but bigger bags would be better. I could not find any in stock anywhere, except for absurd stupid prices. So, I squished it all in there.

I have some ideas for some other kits and continue to search for products that are affordable, healthy, and easy to use. I will try to share a new kit each week and if I get more than one done, I will share them all. Hurricane season is coming close to the end this year, so it gives me time to get the kits made. The Dollar Tree has smaller-sized items and fit in these kits very nicely. However, they are not the best bargain always.

Follow me to get updates when I load new content. Let me know how you like the new header image and color scheme. I am working towards getting back to regular posts.

Yo, Food Is Expensive! Budget Meals In 2022

Hello, and welcome back! As you can see I still have not upgraded the blog back to the way it was, but I am getting to it. My car needs new tires, and my daughter graduated, I am sure you can relate that sometimes there are more important things to buy than hobby items. But, I do want to get back to a regular blogging routine, and what better way to start than to talk about food, inflation, and budget meals. I hope to provide a new budget meal every week. It might not be on Thursday but on a different day. If a recipe is mine I will say so, if it isn’t I will share a link to the original recipe and how I may have changed it for my own needs. Cooking at home, even if it is more time-consuming, is one of the best ways to save money on your food budget, especially if you eat out a lot for lunches, or take out for dinner. Not only will it save money, but in general it is way healthier as well. I have CKD and if you read here you already know that. I have been able to get back to hovering right around stage 2 and I think a lot of that was accomplished by eating a less processed diet. I do still eat out, it is one of our favorite things to do as a family, and I do still like certain processed foods, but I have greatly limited, and or managed my intake of these types of foods. Homemade meals are generally lower in salt and food additives that may affect the health of the kidneys.

This meal is a meatless meal, but I will share how you could add some meat and still it could be affordable. But, if meat is not in your budget leave it out. This meal has plenty of calories, fat, and protein, all the things you need from a meal. You could add a side salad to beef up the intake of fresh veggies as well.

The recipe is for scalloped potatoes, and using my Walmart app the total in my area would be only 6 dollars for the whole meal.

Here is the breakdown and I get to 6 dollars because I am not going to use the full amount of some of these items. So, they can be used for another meal yet besides. This is also not a quick meal. It takes an hour to bake and forever to peel potatoes, lol. But, it is baking in my oven right now and it smells amazing.

3 lb bag of Green Giant red potatoes 3.78 You will only need a pound and a half so 1.89.

1 yellow onion is 94 cents.

A 2 lb bag of all-purpose flour is 1.16 but you will only use 3 tbsp which I guess is about 5 cents or less.

A package of 4 sticks of Imperial margarine is 1.48, but you only need to use one stick and that is .37 cents.

1 pint of 2% milk is only 54 cents.

An 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese is 2.20, but a block is 2 dollars, and the Dollar Tree has cheese for 1.25.

That is all of the ingredients and this 6-dollar meal which should feed 4 people very easily with the possibility of leftovers is in the books. Dollar Tree has small packs of bacon, and turkey sausage that could be added for some more flavor, if it is within your budget.

BTW I just took these out of the oven and they are delicious!

Let me know if you make these. Here is the recipe that I used. As far as CKD goes if you have issues with potassium, soak your potatoes first for two hours, and rinse prior to cooking them in the dish. Use less cheese if you need to avoid the phosphorus and calcium.

I will definitely be making these again.

Meatless Monday is Affordable and Healthy!

Hello, hello. I will re-upgrading this blog within the next month. Until then you will have to look at the dull image at the top and layout, sorry. The domain name will also change. I let it lapse over the summer and am ready to start blogging again.

For some quick updates before I get to the main topic. I still have not taken the new Kidney Coach class, but you can still read the older version on this blog, as much as I got through. I hope to have that done very soon as summer winds down. I am finishing my Medical Billing and Coding classes to hopefully become certified by early next year. I am hoping this will be a supplement work-from-home job to my out-of-home nursing job. It is not hard, and a lot of it I already know, but it is boring, and they gave me a year to complete it so I see no need to rush.

If you read here often, then you know Meatless Monday is one of the weekly blog post topics I would do. I also have CKD, so limiting my meat protein intake is good. I have made it all the way back to stage 2, then dropped a bit and am hovering right at 58 or 59 eGFR.

I could literally eat this meal every Monday, and I could eat sweet green peas every day. I love them! Unfortunately, no one else in my house will eat them, so I don’t buy them as often as I could. I found these two videos below for your entertainment. The young man ate only peas for 3 days, now I don’t know about eating just peas for 3 days, but he did. He is funny, and I found him to be quite honest. The other video goes into detail about the many proven health benefits of peas, which are very healthy.

Peas are technically a legume, and I am not a fan of legumes, other than peanuts and peas. Beans make me gassy and cause frequent stools. I am not a fan of that at all. From a CKD standpoint peas are low in protein, fat, and sodium, with moderate levels of potassium and phosphorus. The phosphorus in the peas is not absorbed well by the body, though. They are also high in fiber. Be sure to read the label and get organic if you can, or peas with the least amount of additives and preservatives. Some are higher in sodium than others.

My simple Meatless Monday meal that I could eat every single Monday, is pasta, peas, and butter with some seasonings to taste, mostly garlic and paprika. If you are not a fan of avocado toast, which is all the rage right now, you could mash up some sweet peas and spread them on toast and no one would know but you. This is also affordable with a whole box of pasta costing about a dollar, and a can of peas 50 cents. I use whipped butter that is much lower in fat and it costs about 3 dollars depending on the brand for a tub. You obviously will only use part of the box of pasta, and some of the canned peas with a tbsp of butter. I also like to add lemon juice and brown sugar to the butter to make a beautiful sauce, but I don’t do that every time because I don’t always have lemons on hand. The peas on toast would be great for breakfast or lunch and are even more affordable than dinner. I like whole grain bread or the low carb high fiber wraps, so mine would be more expensive than it could be.

Let me know if you like sweet peas in the comments.