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Does anyone here have big families they have to cook for everyday?

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Old 02-04-2009, 12:05 PM   #1
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Default Does anyone here have big families they have to cook for everyday?

I have 5 boys (including the husband). I have to cook for all of us everyday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only two of my kids are in school.

I am having a REALLY hard time with meals. We don't have a lot of money, so buying myself something special to eat is not really an option. Plus, I have to be careful that DH and DS#1 don't consume too much dairy because they have milk allergies (as does DS#4...but he is too little for food)

What can you suggest? I don't really do much for breakfast for myself. I am usually too busy. I drink lots of tea...about 3-4 cups daily with a TEENY bit (maybe 1/8th of a teaspoon of Splenda) and a little 1% milk. I'll grab something later, like around 10:30 but then it is almost time to make lunch for DS#3.

I am going batty. I try to just eat less, but that doesn't always fly when my very picky eaters leave so much yummy food behind on their plates!!!! Aaaaarrrggghhhhhh!!!!!

I am trying to get everyone to eat healthier, but it is a painfully slow process with very little success.

If ANYONE has ANY suggestions on how I can eat with the family I'd appreciate it.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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I have 3 kids..two boys and a girl plus my DH to cook for. My middle child is super picky but he gets offered the same thing everyone else eats, if he eats that is great but if not he'll be super hungry in the morning. I feel like I need a shirt or a sign that says "Mom is not a short order cook" lol I fix one meal so we are all eating healthy I'll be nice everyone in a while and fix a side that I won't eat like mac n cheese lol

Just remember to take care of yourself too at meal times. It was hard for me to do that but now they don't even look weird at me when I eat breakfast.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #3
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I don't have a big family, its just me and my husband but I make meals for multiple days.

So I'll make a big pot of lentil soup to eat and it'll last nearly a week. I make a big pot of rice or some other grain to go with meals.

Last night, I made an indian dish, lentil sambar which is basically spiced lentils and veggies. For myself, I put the lentil dish over green beans and for my husband I put it over rice. Its really good tasting plus good for you.

I shop at various places for my groceries:
Costco for some fresh veggies/fruit, frozen veggies/fruit, spices, some misc items
Asian market for spices, some fruits/veggies, some rice and beans
Indian market for spices, some rice, lentils and some other misc items
Whole Foods for some grains/legumes, canned items and some veggies/fruit, depending what is on sale

Honestly, it may take a little work to work with your family but hopefully they'd be open to experimenting with food.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:34 PM   #4
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I don't have a big family but I have two little girls and a husband to cook for. I am not too creative with my cooking (that is something I need to work on!) but I make things that we all can eat and like making things in the slow cooker or simple things like baked chicken, salads, etc. Luckily my girls are not super picky, my husband is more picky than they are lol. I just tell him if he doesn't like what I am making he can make his own dinner!
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:36 PM   #5
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I've found that a good breakfast is essential. I eat oatmeal almost every day. It is cheap too, which helps. I buy the big box of rolled oats at Costco. You can add so many different things to it to give yourself some variety. I've been buying the bags of small fuji apples which are pretty cheap. I dice up an apple into my oatmeal and sprinkle some cinnamon and a little splenda on top. I pop it in the microwave and it is so good. Breakfast gets your metabolism going in the morning and you won't eat so much the rest of the day when you don't get so hungry. I never ate breakfast all the years I was obese. I forced myself to eat it and now I don't know how I got along without it.
eta... I don't have a large family, just two kids and a husband. I make a main dish that everyone can eat like pork chops and then rice that I eat just a little of, a vegetable and I make myself a sweet potato. I've found that they adjusted much better to some of the healthy dishes than I thought they would. They need more calories than I do so they have bigger servings or I add something for them like a baked potato.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
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I cook almost every meal at home for my family. I try to make fairly simple things where there will be things i can eat.

One of our regular meals are chicken fajitas (i stir fry chicken, peppers, onions, zuchini and/or other veggies, have grated cheese, guac, salsa, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, etc). My kids will eat at least one of those things on a tortilla. with time and repeated exposure they now eat most of what is on the table. I for example skip the tortilla and go easy on the guac.

another example is spagetti and meatballs. I cook whole wheat spaghetti and have meatballs and sauce and a large salad. I eat a portion of meatballs, measure out a portion of spagetti and eat lots of salad. My kids will eat at least the pasta and the meatballs and put butter and cheese on the spag.

The other trick i have is to immediately portion out the leftovers. That way i can put them in lunch boxes or eat them myself for breakfast or lunch

good luck!
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
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We all know that Moms are the backbone to families, and strong families are the backbone to our communities future........would you agree to that?

If yes.......move on to next question.....

Would you agree that if any person in your family was diagnosed with diabetes, and the medication was an additional $50 a month out of pocket expence, you would find a way to make that work......right?

If yes............move on to next question.....

So how is being on a strict budget (I am as well!) and not spending just a little bit extra a month to help you succeed in being a healthy wife and mom different????

I thought I would need to spend about $125 or more a month to get healthy options to keep me on track, but guess what? When you take off the take out pizza, the burgers on the run, latte, etc you save some money. And processed foods really are expensive. I find the best buy on produce (usually at the Hispanic grocery store) and I focus my week around that.

Make up big salads ahead of time, they are your go to foundation. Cook up chicken breast to have ready to go. beans are a great cheap protien, add them to other things like for chili, or have the seperate and add to salads and pasta

Package up last nights left overs for your lunch. Start your day off with some type of breakfast, oatmeal is a great choice, or whole grain toast with no sugar added peanut butter with a banana.

Apples, oranges, bananas....what ever is on sale stock up, that is your snack for the week......and the kids too! No more cookies, ice cream, chips........they are expensive and your kids will not die without them!

Are they going to complain? YUP guarenteed, but you have 4 kids, you ought to be used to that by now!

Do this for you!

Sample of dinners
pork loin (excellent choice--nice and lean) mashed taters (real) brocoli
(I had a 1/2 cup of mashed, some spray butter ontop, the pork, brocoli, and I had a romaine salad with green olives, french dressing (non-fat) and cottage cheese)
Chicken breast, spanish rice (home made) refried beans, tortilla
(I made the beans from scratch, and dont add oil. I skipped the tortilla and had everything on a bed of romaine and spinach, I added salsa and fat free sour cream) Leftovers the next day too for lunch!
Omlette and toast. I put left over veggies and fresh spinach in mine, and a little low fat motzerella, severed with a whole grain toast and low sugar marmelade. Kids had ham and cheese and spinach in it, with toast

I still make cassaroles, but I use brown rice, or whole grain pasta, I use less cheese. Canned tomatoes, spinach, lots of garlic and onion.

You can slim down many family favorites, but I dont cook anything that I really cannot eat...........unless it is a special occation, like a birthday.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:42 PM   #8
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One thing if you find you have a lot of leftovers- then maybe cook less than what you are making? Like a cup less of rice or pasta, that might help?
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:43 PM   #9
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I don't have kids but I think this trick will help me when I do have kids. I was spending so much time chopping food that dinner would take HOURS. I invested in a $10 chopper at walmart. It's electronic and can chop and mince. I've started to add to EVERY recipe veggies minced that you can't taste them. I've added celery, green peppers, red peppers, mushrooms, onions, red onions, and carrots to healthy sloppy joes, baked ziti, a slow cooker chicken burrito meal. My boyfriend doesn't even notices there are cups full of veggies in these dinners. He even loved the ziti. It's a way to get veggies in picky eaters and pump up the nutritional value.

I also pack all left overs in single servings for the weeks meals/lunches.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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I cook for a family of five and I have picky eaters. I do casseroles sometimes but the kids are crazy and don't like them. Homemade pizza, taca, fajita, spagetti, shepard's pie, roast chicken, fish, cooked ham (meats I do a veggie and a side usually), pork chops, pulled pork sandwiches, the main thing the kids love is rice and noodles. I want to start batch cooking, I've done it a few times. The kids all love salad and spinach because we've basically got a rule that they have to try something at least once and have at least 4 bites or nothing for the rest of the night, especially if there is a dessert. They sometimes have ice cream with their dad. Lately, I'm trying a sherbert frozen yogurt dessert in a portion size. I'm going to start with weekly batch cooking and work my way up from there. I finally got a freezer this fall and it's now filled with meats that I have to make into dishes.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:26 PM   #11
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I don't have a big family now. But, in the past there were more of us around. I am a batch cooker also. When I make chili - I make a huge pot and freeze enough for several other days. Same with soup or stew.

On Sunday or whenever the grocery ads come out - figure out what's on sale - meat, produce, everything. Then you can plan your dinners, etc according to what's on sale. Eat off brand cereal.

Make soda pop a treat. Water is a fine thing for the kids to drink - or milk.

I have watched that show Jon and Kate plus Eight. It's a family with 8 children. Kate, the mom says that she fixes healthy food - if the kids don't like part of the meal. They can eat more at the next meal. It's kinda 'tough love' but, you can only do so much.

I don't know if any of this will help - but, you've gotten some good ideas from folks.

Fix your dinners - if someone doesn't like it - they can have a pbj - We did that - it worked.

Eat breakfast for dinner once a week. Pancakes or French toast is fun. We always made the kids their 'initial' pancakes for the last one.

If you can, enlist the children to help prepare meals. Chopping stirring. Kids will eat things they help fix.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:03 PM   #12
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Thanks all for the good advice. I think I am having more of a "mind set " problem then anything else. Before I got married and had kids, I was an executive chef so I tend to not plan TOO far in advance because it would mess with my creativity. ROFL! Like there has been much of THAT in recent years.
I don't make special meals for my picky eaters. DS#3 gets Pedisure and DS#1 gets Carnation instant breakfast added to his soy milk but that's pretty much as far as I take it. The husband... His only problem is that his mother only made about 7 different things the entire time they were growing up so he finds some of my dishes too "out there" and I have to bait him to try them. (Just like a toddler
I guess it also doesn't help that I don't have a great handle on portion control either.

I made the decision to focus more on my health and I guess it is time I face ALL the aspects. Thanks. I think I just needed a gentle kick in the arse. I was curious how other people handled cooking for others when you were the one that needed to lose weight and the others did not. I see the bigger picture better now.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:12 PM   #13
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Well the basic thing is you want your family to be healthy. I don't cook for 'weight loss' per se but more for health so I make healthy meals. It may also require you to sit down and talk to your husband about your goals.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:21 PM   #14
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I have 3 teenage son and a DH.. DH is dieting also. I keep a few staples around. Bagged salad, Chicken, oatmeal ,eggs, tuna and Healthy Soup. Since my kids are older they understand. I spend a lot of time at the store reading labels and finding stuff we all can eat. It just takes great effort on my part. One thing I never did was be a short order cook with my boys. When they were little they always ate what I gave them. when the boys got older and they did not like the food I have cooked... they could fix them something else. It has just worked for us. Now they eat just about anything.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #15
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Oh yeah one thing I have done also is like okay for me I tend to stay away from carbs and things, so if I make something and the family wants garlic bread, I ask them how many pieces they want and ONLY cook that many and so there is none for me, and then like if it's potatoes I only cook enough for them and then don't eat any- things like that.

Though sometimes I'll grab a piece of potatoe I can't help it!

I used to be the kind also who would eat the leftovers from other's plates cuz I didn't want waste- I don't do that anymore- it's uncessary calories.
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