BevB

Meal Planning with a Large Family

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Hello, 

 We are a family of 8 (6 kids ranging in age from 16-3 with one on the way) and we are 12 days into our Whole 30. I am having a bit of trouble keeping up with the amount of food it seems they need. I just re-read some of the whole 30 and we are needing 1-2 cups of veggies per person (my kids already ate a lot of veggies - we have been mostly grain free and totally refined sugar free for over a year now), and 3-4 ounces of meat per person. So each meal I need to be cooking 16 cups of veggies and 24 ounces (a pound and a half of meat) correct? I cook veggies (maybe not enough) but we are going through 3 pounds of ground meat per meal and having fruit and they are still hungry after this. They are eating probably a dozen boiled eggs a day plus apples, carrots, oranges, etc... and they are constantly in the fridge. We live on a small farm and homeschool - its not like they are grazing from boredom because we always have something going on both work wise and fun. I try and keep their mind occupied with other things but we can be outside doing something and they stop and ask if it is time to eat. I am pretty sure it is real hunger because they did not do that when we included red potatoes, sprouted rice and oats (the two grains we normally have in our diet). I am tempted to let them have the rice and oats again just to fill their tummies. I was hoping that by now the hunger would have subsided and they would be satied. I am making sure we have plenty of fat - our own homemade lard, clarified butter, avocados, egg yolks from the boiled eggs, etc.. 

Is there anything I am missing? Is this just normal? 

I am just a bit overwhelmed being in the kitchen THIS much! Seems like I have lived there the last 12 days  :)  - any help would be greatly appreciated! 

Thanks so much! 

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The volume of food your family consumes is large, but entirely appropriate for its size and activity levels. In fact, 3-4 pounds of meat per meal might be right for 8 people - working adults, active adolescents and children. 

 

It might help to think of what you are doing as making long-term deposits in the health bank of your family. You may not see interest earned on your deposits in the youth of your children, but eating nourishing foods exclusively is a real benefit over the long haul. There is nothing harmful about rice and potatoes for most people, but veggies provide more nourishment. 

 

The work of producing three nourishing meals per day is significant and takes time even when your skills are good. That said, you might be able to increase your efficiency by using a slow cooker to prepare roasts, chickens, bone broth, stocks for soup, etc. You might benefit from working with two slow cookers at a time... one for meat and one for broth. I spend less than 5 minutes prepping a roast for the slow cooker and then it is ready 8 hours later with no further input on my part. You can add bones, spices, vinegar, and water to a slow cooker and let it go for 24 hours to make good bone broth. You might need to add some water once or twice, but the work occurs with little need for your attention. I guess you are peeling and chopping a mountain of veggies every day, so you might need to enlist your children to help. I do a lot with a pressure cooker because you can cut cooking time to a fraction of what is required with other methods. I cook a whole chicken and make broth at the same time in 30 minutes in my pressure cooker. I can make great chili in 30 minutes instead of simmering it for 2-3 hours. 

 

It really is okay - even desirable - to get more than 50 percent of our calories from fat, so pick fatty cuts of meat and never fear feeding your children healthy fats. They help keep growing children energized and satisfied longer. 

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Thanks for the helpful reply  :) . I do have two slow cookers and a large roaster oven and the kids certainly help with veggie prep! I think I am just not preparing enough veggies - meat is much easier to cook really. Like you said, it takes me 5 minutes to have the meat in the slow cooker and 8 hours later it is ready. The veggies take much longer to prepare and honestly, I get the amount of meat we should eat (which is 2 chickens for a meal, or 3 pounds of hamburger, etc..) but when the meat is done and I still have veggies to prepare I think I am just skimping on that. Then they eat all the meat and veggies but are not full - because I did not provide enough veggies. It is a work in progress. Your reply was helpful - thanks so much! 

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