This Article is About
wizard of oz
food budget
little magic
what to make for dinner
glass of water
peace of mind
Feeding An Army
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Feeding a large family requires patience, planning, hard work, and a little magic.

No one wakes up in the morning with the sudden expertise necessary to feed their troop and avoid going broke in the process. Those of us with many children have learned that we need to have a solid plan or we will exhaust our entire months food budget with a few unexpected trips to the drive through each month. In my case, I have all boys. As you can probably imagine, they posses the unique ability to consume food in elephant size proportions. When they were little I learned a few tricks and tips that have left them all healthy, trim, and well fed. We almost never stop at a drive through window even though each one has a full schedule.

Drink a glass of water before a meal

This is almost shameful to document, but the cold hard truths are as plain as the nose on your face. Most kids do not drink enough water (or any water at all). We start off most of our meals by having the kids have as much water as we can get them to drink about 15 minutes before dinner. You don't need a timer, just watch for the kitchen stampede. Nothing draws children (especially boy)s to the kitchen like the smell an almost complete meal. In my home, my boys come like army ants to inquire "when will the meal will be served". I respond that dinner will be ready in 15-30 minutes, and some of them immediately melt to the floor like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. I then have them drink a glass of water.

Most people are dehydrated

Dehydration can masquerade as hunger pangs

A hungry child can be pacified for a few minutes by a glass of water

Kids are less likely to gorge if they have a full belly of liquid.

Plan Your Meals in Advance

Just like a written budget will help you manage your finances, a written menu will give you peace of mind when you are contemplating what to make for dinner. I plan 2-4 weeks at a time. Since I live a good hour away from my favorite bulk food store, I plan out meals well in advance so I only have to make one trip "down the hill" a paycheck. I also cook meals that are easily doubled, like chili, soup, and lasagna. I stretch recipes by adding extra tomatoes, beans, and vegetables. I then serve one and freeze the extra in large zip lock bags. I write the recipe and cooking directions on each bag as well.

Draw out your weeks agenda on a "calendar style" template.

Pay special attention to those days that you are scheduled to be swamped, especially sporting events, school functions, etc.

Plan to have easier meals on the busiest nights. (Prepared and frozen meals thrown in the crockpot are excellent choices)

Take advantage of those quieter days by fixing freeze-able meals like Chili, Stew, Lasagna, and Spaghetti sauce. Freeze at least 2 extra meals a week if possible.

If you take the time to plan out your meals, schedule your shopping, and freeze meals in advance then you will begin to limit your trips to the drive through as well.


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