Feeding an Army

(archived from Jan. 22, 2013)

Four of our five kids are boys, and three of those boys are teenagers. So when I say I’m feeding an army, that’s pretty much what it feels like. Wow, can those kids eat!

Unless, of course, there are vegetables being served. Then their normally ravenous appetites mysteriously dwindle to nothing. So little by little, I’m learning to get sneaky.

You see, cooking for a blended family is another one of those little things you don’t really think about until you’re doing it day after day. When you’re dating, you probably gather everybody together every once in a while for a dinner. And you may notice cute little idiosyncrasies in the way the kids eat. And then you get married and blend all those picky little eaters into demanding customers for mom aka short order cook. Sorry kids, that’s not the way I roll.

Here’s how I see our crew…

Boy 1 – Loves all things fried and covered with gravy. Only vegetable he’ll touch is creamed corn. (Yuck, how did that become the only one?!)

Boy 2 – Won’t try anything new. Hates hot dogs. Drinks chocolate milk by the gallon. He will, however, eat green beans by the plateful. And at least he likes to cook.

Boy 3 – Secretly watches his weight, so will often turn down food, only to sneak treats later when no one is looking.

Boy 4 – Odd man out… loves spinach, zucchini, spaghetti squash, edamame, guacamole… need I say more? Biggest challenge with this kid is teaching table manners. He loves everything and is happy to just scoop it into his mouth with his hands.

Girl – She wants whatever anybody else has, but she probably won’t eat it. She likes to eat a few bites and wander away, then ask for something else in 20 minutes. Her favorite… anything with sugar.

And keep in mind that I prefer veggies, lean meat & whole grains. My husband loves meat and needs a gluten-free diet (but sneaks breads whenever possible).

Here are a few of my strategies…

I pretty much go by a rule of “eat what I cook or make yourself a sandwich” (on whole wheat bread of course).

For spaghetti night:
– I sneak mushrooms and/or zucchini into the sauce.
– Mix half ground beef & half ground turkey
– Mix half regular, half whole wheat noodles for the kids,
– Make an extra pot of gluten free noodles for dad,
– Heat up some spaghetti squash for me.

We grill chicken a lot, then make 3 or 4 easy side dishes so everyone can choose.

Fajitas and tacos are always a hit – kids can mix and match whatever they want to put inside their tortilla (corn and/or wheat tortillas always offered)

I always make extra food at dinner time and then store lunch portions for the hubby to take to work. These are also good for those quick dinners when busy schedules have you on the run!

Things I refuse to buy: soda, pop tarts, toaster pastries… or anything that has
sugar as the first ingredient.


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