Feeding a large family: How I manage to feed a family of seven.
Feeding a large family can be challenging especially when you love food as much as I do.
I thank my mother for that, she was a great cook, and known for it. We were not wealthy and there were four children (and various friends) to feed throughout the week which was challenging but they still managed feeding a large family Luckily, my parents raised me to eat local, wholesome, economical, seasonal foods which was a bit more cost effective. I now have my own children and run a household containing 7 people. Here is my advice for feeding a large family.
I have a small theory when it comes to food. I believe “Let Food be your medicine and medicine be your food” (Hippocrates). My body needs a lot of well-designed vitamins, minerals, proteins, probiotics, etc. to run smoothly and effectively. I do not mean well designed by a scientist in a lab- I mean well designed by the Creator of food! My family does not subscribe to a particular diet. We definitively do not rely on any marketed meal plan. We eat what Michael Pollen describes in his book, “In Defence of Food”’ as “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”.
My golden rules for feeding a large family:
1. We eat with one another. The advice “Eat at least one meal a week as a family,” we smash out of the ball park. We actually strive to reverse it by eating one meal a week without them. We call it ‘Date Night’.
2. We eat to nourish ourselves. If the fuel we consume is of high quality, there is a greater chance of living in a body that will serve and keep you for many comfortable years. This is a gift I want to give my children – an education on how to choose well to take care of these physical bodies we have.
3. Food choices are important for our economy. I’ll admit that I’ve picked up a slab of chicken at Costco before, but we try to distribute our food dollars locally and wisely. Our grains and legumes we purchase through a local Food Co-op who orders in bulk from a local grain mill. We are blessed with well supplied fruit, vegetable, and meat markets, being close to an agricultural belt here in Nova Scotia, and yes, there is the grocery store for quick trips, and 50% off carts – Woo Hoo! Bargains!
Money and feeding a large family.
We are primarily a single income family with 5 growing children. Feeding a large family requires us to budget for our expenses. I understand the cry “I just can’t afford to eat well.” Have you not heard of carrots? Potatoes? Cabbage? Cheaper cuts of meat at a butcher? I apologize for sounding rude but it is the truth. I also understand the very common “but my kids won’t eat that stuff!” Well maybe your kids are not hungry enough. Ouch, sorry for being so harsh. Talk about tough love. Feeding a large family does not have to break the bank. It just requires a bit of effort on your side.
Another good tip is to imagine paying per nutrient. Some food may seem more expensive on the outset but the nutrient density will fill bellies better and longer. It also serves the body more effectively than a poorer quality of food. Vegetables and hummus for a snack may not be a child’s first choice and they may cry for goldfish crackers but they will eat it if they are hungry. Who needs juice? Offer good, free water. If there are no available junky substitutes ( I mean juice, too) in the house, kids will get tired of asking for them.
Eventually with diligence, you will create a family of thrifty, well-educated foodies and feeding a large family will become easier.
Don’t give up on feeding a large family Moms! Fight the good fight – for your health, for your family’s health, and for the economy around you.
Written by Mother & Fitness contributing writer Merriam Nixon.
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