Having a large family presents many challenges – Feeding everyone certainly ranks high! A little background – my husband and I lived in rural west Texas when we decided to have a large family. Never did we fathom living in a large city…. like we are now! Families of 6 are common in small town, rural America… not so much in Dallas! There have been countless tactles, ignorant, yet interesting questions and comments made on the size of my brood. The most recent occurence happened at Costco. Thus, the inspiration for this particular blog post!
While going through the check out line, the cashier felt compelled (not sure why) to apologize to the man in line behind me about how long it was taking him to scan through all my groceries. Then as he continued to process my purchases, he continued to comment on how much I was buying and how they would need to close the store to restock the shelves because of me!
Now, I have been known to be a bit sharp in speech at times, but I held my tongue at this point because I worked retail in high school and college. I know it can be very challenging at times. Finally, Captain Opinion stepped over the line with his 4th comment. Not wanting to waste a “teachable moment” I proceeded to enlighten him on the virtue of eating real food and how much more room it required in my basket and yet how much I saved by not purchasing the miles and miles of crappy FAKE food Costco offered. I also felt obligated to point out that I was feeding at least 3 teenagers and a tween on any given day.
I wish I could report to you that he stood open-mouthed, shocked and amazed at my commitment to good nutrition and my resourcefulness at feeding my small army so economically. Alas, he just looked at me like I was a few bricks short of a load.
So he was not a receptive audience… but if you are still reading, you want to know how to do it, right?!
Here is how I do it – My rules that cannot be broken 95% of the time (or I have determined I will grow an extra chin and go straight to “bad mama” hell)
1. Keep a standard list for each store I shop at and I never shop without that list
2. Buy meat, veggies (fresh or frozen only), fruit, nuts, and coffee – ignore everything else in the store.
3. Rather than convenience foods, look for really clean lunch meat, hummus, guacamole, etc that can serve as “fast” food in a pinch
4. I have committed to not feel guilty about not taking home treats and not being the “cool” mom. I must say, I have never been the “cool” mom so this is quite natural for me!
I feed a family of 6 for roughly $160 per person per month (did I mention we also feed a boyfriend and various other friends quite often?) – that includes groceries AND eating out (which we don’t do very often). It takes about 3-4 large warehouse grocery carts to hold all my food, 2 side-by-sides, and 4 cabinet shelves to store our stock.
We eat beef, lamb, chicken, fish, bacon, and eggs (which I purchase 15 dozen at a time) for protein.
Our carbohydrates are vegetables (salads, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cabbage, etc) and fruits (but only one or two servings per person per day at the most). Our other necessaries are almonds, walnuts, hummus, olives, berries, sauerkraut, guacamole, coconut oil, olive oil, coffee, green tea, black tea, and the occasional goat or sheep cheese.
So here is my question to you: add up your food receipts – groceries, and eating out. How much do you spend per person per month to eat? Are you nourishing your body or filling your belly?
My way is not the only way – maybe not the best way for many. But it works for me and mine, and we are healthy and happy!