Tuesday Topics: Feeding Large Families

I know that there are many of you who can answer this question – I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to respond to this Tuesday Topic.

Tyra asked two questions (feel free to answer one or both):

The question that always comes to my mind when reading about extra large families is: How do you feed them? The challenge of providing healthy, inexpensive meals that everyone will eat seems daunting. What are your strategies?

And how do you help picky eaters eat what you fix?

This is a great opportunity for us to help one another become better at something we all need to do well. Most of us are functioning, or attempting to function on a budget. I love to feed my family good food that they enjoy, but I hate to see so much money devoted to something that disappears to so quickly.

Please email your answers to me at:

thankfulmom [at] gmail [dot] com

Or, post them as a comment. I will gather your thoughts together and post them at the end of the week.

If you have a question you would like to suggest for a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me.

The sun is shining at my house and it is a perfect first day of Autumn.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Nancy
    September 22, 2009

    I only have 6 children, ranging from 16 to 2 years old.

    Feeding a large brood hasn't been a problem. I at least double all entre/main course recipes, but mostly quadruple them making twice as much needed for a dinner. Then half is frozen and saved for another day. This way I only cook half the time and the other half, I really only heat up. I collect recipes that are good for this, including soups, casseroles, etc… This leaves me preparing side dishes each meal and that's not too bad as I think are pretty easy to come up with like salad, vegetable, crusty bread, fresh fruits…

    We also rely on some traditions, like Thursday is spaghetti night (again half of the sauce is frozen and saved for another meal, like stuffed shells w/sauce, or lasagna) and on grocery day we usually have hamburgers, or a roasted chicken from the grocery, (Not a lot of time to cook large on grocery day) and Fridays are frequently left-over night.

    As for picky eaters, I have always been under the impression that picky eaters are made rather than born. Ya, this may not go over well. I only cook a single meal each night and will not make a separate meal or entree for anyone, as there is always an abundance of extra fruits or veggies on hand if someone doesn't prefer the entree. This doesn't always go over well with company/friends that the kiddos bring home. So my kiddos have always found some part of dinner that they like and been able to fill their tummies. I also try to serve what they like, and they know that I'll take suggestions from them and do my best to get it on the table in the next couple weeks.

    However, as I start to put my foot in my mouth and get what I deserve, when we adopted our youngest daughter, she came with quite a few food/eating issues, (she was force fed as an infant and malnourished when we got her) and is the pickiest eater I have ever seen. As I had always believed and followed, simply relying on the adage that, "they'll eat when they get hungry," does not work for her. She will starve without consideration for her food preferences. So now we must supplement our meals with additional foods for her if there isn't anything on the table she will eat, which happens daily. She's still little yet, so it's not a large inconvenience, and with on going therapy, we hope to resolve the issue. Until then, I'll keep making more food for her but the others get what's served.

    Also can't get leave without saying that eating together as a family is so so important. We try to eat together for both breakfast and dinner every day. Starting off our day around the breakfast table, with family prayer and then each sharing what's going on that day, and discussing trouble spots early in the day, has been an extra blessing that I never guessed would be so rewarding!

    LOVE to hear others suggestions too! Great idea for a Tuesday topic!


  2. Chris
    September 22, 2009

    We only have 5 kids 4-18. I've found that basic food costs a lot less than anything prepared. So potatoes, meat on sale and veggies in season. Ice cream is our indulgence. Meatless meals make the dollars stretch a bit.
    or put less meat in a casserole than the recipe calls for.
    Ah yes the picky ones, our oldest came picky (bio) at 18 he is finally half decent to work with. I started just cooking and tried not to make objectionable food 2 nites in a row.

  3. Cindy
    September 23, 2009

    Something that I feel I struggle with – feeding my family of eight on a budget – and feeding them healthy foods! I keep things quite basic. Breakfast is usually either cereal or peanut butter toast, bagels, or maybe eggs. Lunch – pasta, fruit, sandwhiches, crackers, other simple foods. Dinner – a wide range of things. Seems that my 6 kiddos prefer "basic" foods – meat and potatoes always goes over well with all of them. If one or more children do not like what I have prepared, they do not have to eat it. Our rule is that we must first see them at least taste it. I will not cook another food however. They dont have to eat what I have made, but they must choose a healthy alternative and make it on their own. Usually that means they will make a bagel, some toast, fruit, etc. I have one child who puts Berebere on everything! At first, I was kind of offended by it. But soon realized that hey – at least she was eating healthy food! Two of my children that are from Ethiopia eat pretty much everything. The other of my children from Ethiopia is quite picky, but learning to try more things and finding out she likes more than she realized! The big thing she just can not handle – CHEESE! She can not stand it. i think it's the texture more than the taste for her. Can you imagine? A girl from WI not loving cheese?!! LOL!

  4. Becky
    September 24, 2009

    We have 13 children, with 9 still at home. (Oldest 4 are married, but we get to have all 13 plus spouses and grandchildren for Sunday dinners,which is so fun! I'm excited to hear some new ideas on this subject! This is how we do it at our home. We have a monthly meal chart with all the meals for the month planned out. Those are basically our meals for the year, with just starting the chart over at the beginning of each month. I do substitute meals here and there when I find a new recipe that I want to try, though. The meals are centered around nutrition and frugality, but are things that on any given day, most of the family likes. I do most of my cooking from scratch, but I also don't have a lot of time to cook each day, so I incorporate time saving techniques, such as cooking up 20 lbs. or more of hamburger at one time when I find it on sale, and then packaging it for the freezer in amounts needed for each meal. I also do the same with chicken when I find it on sale. I cook it, then cube it in bite sized pieces, and freeze it in meal sized amounts for use later, such as for soups, chicken burritos, etc. I also double or triple recipes when I cook, and put what we don't use in the freezer for another meal. It doesn't take a lot longer to cook a triple amount of a recipe, over just cooking a single recipe, so that way one is saving time and being able to cook from scratch, thus saving money. Learning to make homemade breads is another way to save a lot of money. Homemade biscuits, rolls, muffins, etc. are much less expensive than buying premade or buying boxed mixes. One other thing that is often a money saver is buying in bulk. A 25 lb. bag of oatmeal where I live costs approx. $12.00, where a 3 lb. container of oatmeal costs approx. $2.25.

  5. Sandee
    September 24, 2009

    oh, this is such a hot, hard topic at our house. I only have 3 kids, adopting a 4th, and I can hardly EVER cook anything that they all will eat. The only two dishes are pizza and tacos.. I get so discouraged…and then even more so, when I have somethign that they all love the first few times I cook it, and then …wham…surprize, someone decides they don't liek ti anymore! 🙁

    I have tried to get down to one bowl meals..ie simple. I have tried crockpot, cassarole, cook and freeze ahead.

    I would say meal planning is the most stressfull part of our homelife. Wish I could just hire a cook. lol.

    I know this does not help…and I work full-time outside the home. (sngle mom, no choice).

  6. Sandee
    September 24, 2009

    I would love to read Becky's monthly meal chart. My brain has just given up in this area.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy