Having a large family is tough enough without stressing over how to feed the whole crew. The truth is, you can feed a large family on a budget when you use the following ideas and implement them on a consistent basis.
How to Feed a Large Family on a Budget
The first step to learning how to feed a large family on a budget is to make sure that you have an actual budget set in place. You are the only one who can really set the budget for your large family, because you are the one who knows what the living expenses are within your household. Once your budget is set, do your best to stay within your budget.
Shop at Salvage Grocery Stores
My husband and I shop at salvage grocery stores as part of our regular weekly shopping. Salvage stores vary from area to area so ask around and keep your eyes open and I’m sure you’ll find at least one discount salvage grocery store in your area.
If you’ve never shopped in a salvage store, you may be surprised at what great items you can find in these stores! We regularly purchase organic foods, gluten free foods, vegetarian healthy foods, and wonderful fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost if we had shopped at a regular grocery store or health food market.
The items a salvage store carries changes from week to week, because what they sell is overstocked items and items that are nearing their expiration date. So, it’s helpful to stop in on a regular basis. One of our favorite salvage stores in the Kingsport, TN area has fresh produce come in on Mondays and Thursdays. Knowing this, if we are in the area on those days we always stop in. Once I found cases of fresh spring asparagus for $1.00 a case! I bought 12 cases and canned a lot of it.
What we aren’t able to find in salvage stores we supplement the rest from other grocery markets in our area.
Cook Fresh Veggies
It may sound cheaper to buy canned veggies, but reality is these cook down to a smaller serving size than fresh veggies will. Go fresh whenever possible when it comes to veggies. Frozen vegetables are a great alternative and can often be found for less than fresh vegetables. Do your price checking and figure out what costs more.
Start Serving Salad with Meals
My kids love salad. There really are a wide range of inexpensive salads that you can make for your large family to enjoy prior to each meal. You could even start having a fruit salad for dessert. In the summer time when fresh fruit is cheap, we eat a big fruit salad every day. Research inexpensive salad ideas that allow you to create a bulk salad with minimal costs so that you can fill those hungry children’s bellies without going completely broke.
Learn About Portion Control
Portion control will be rather difficult for older children to switch over to, if you have allowed them full reign of food all of their life. The easiest way to make sure you are feeding your large family on a budget will be to ensure you are strict about portion sizes. Your children will need to eat more when they are going through a growth spurt and teenagers tend to need more. However, most adults and children are eating far more than necessary at each meal. Get educated on proper portion and teach the benefits to your whole family.
Don’t Waste Food
Americans are especially bad about wasting food. In fact, the average american family tosses 25% of their food and beverages into the trash. Imagine saving 25% of your grocery budget by not throwing away food!
Teach your children to only take what they will eat. When my children were younger, whatever was left on their plate returned at the next meal for them to finish. We never made them overeat, but we did teach them not to waste what they took. One of my big pet peeves is seeing children take huge amounts of food at potluck just to toss it in the trash a few minutes later.
Not wasting food is one way you can be a good steward of the resources God has blessed you with.
Make Leftovers Your Best Friend
You can really get a lot of out leftovers, if you use leftovers to create a whole different meal by combining various leftovers from the week into one full course meal. In our house, there’s enough hungry people that I don’t have many leftovers. However, if you do have leftovers, make sure you find a way to use them up. Get the whole family on board to packing up leftovers after every meal and storing them in the fridge or freezer for later use.
Some ways to use leftovers:
- add leftover vegetables to a casserole
- pack a lunch with leftovers
- create a new meal from leftovers
- freeze leftover vegetables to make a vegetable soup later in the month
- make sandwiches
- have a “leftover” night each week when all the leftovers come out for supper
I hope these tips for feeding a large family on a budget help you out. Let me know your tips in the comments below!