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s/o sneaking food - budget


JeneralMom
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This is a genuine question...so many people in the other thread reacted very negatively to the idea of limiting food or making kids ask before taking something. How does this work in your house? Do you have a generous food budget? I have 4 kids and food here is so expensive that if I had an open kitchen policy I would be spending thousands of dollars per month on food and that is not doable. Yes, even healthy food like fruits and veggies are regulated and kids have to ask before taking anything because that apple may just be slated to be used in a dinner tomorrow night.

 

I really am interested in strategies that allow for an open kitchen but do not break the budget.

 

(oh, and I didn't respond to the original thread because cookies would never be left on my counter....the kids are sitting in front of the oven waiting for them to come out because they love to eat them warm and gooey)

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We have an open kitchen but only have two kids. When they were younger and money was tight there was no open kitchen. They always had to ask. Dh grew up with six siblings and was never able to just eat food whenever he wanted. It was never feasible for his family and he grew up just fine. He remembers times when he was hungry and wanted more food, but he also remembers times when his parents broke out snacks (popcorn or chips) and those are fond memories for him.

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My thinking is that, if a family's food budget is so incredibly tight they can't let one of the kids eat a single apple without shorting the next day's meal, it's time to apply for some assistance. No one should have to ration food that closely. Kids need to eat when they're hungry.

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It occurred to me one day, when my eldest started eating like a horse, that when I was growing up, we didn't do snacks except one mid-afternoon. Now all these books are coming out about how French kids eat, I can see that that's what the culture was for our family even once we moved here. So I stopped allowing snacking except for fruit. Now I have 2 teen boys. I sometimes get nervous watching how much they eat a meal times but at least they're eating the good stuff & I know how much food I need to buy each week. And while they will tell you they starve between meals, they are big & healthy :laugh: so I think they'll be ok.

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We have an open kitchen but there are only certain things that are replaced as needed. I'll buy two bags of apples/week. If they want to eat them the first two days, they usually won't have any until the next time I go shopping (5-10 days). I buy one or two large bags of carrots per shopping trip. I have several freezers and a refrigerator in the garage. We don't run out of food but we sometimes run low on fruit or snack type foods. They learn to regulate naturally. I'll let them get a can of Pringles and eat them, but I'm not replacing the can. If it is gone, it is gone. About the only thing we run out of is milk. The kids go through about 4 gallons/week. We only keep the current gallon in the house. The others are kept in the garage refrigerator. Sometimes a kid will finish it thinking there is more in the garage but it will be the last one. I will ask Dh to pick up milk on his way home from work if we run out.

 

We do have a largish food budget - 800+ per month. We eat a wide range of foods from fresh to prepackaged.

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Can you come up with a few food items that they can eat whenever they want (preferrably something inexpensive)? Or another route would be to designate a certain overall amount of snacks for a given day, then let them eat those whenever they choose. But when they're gone, the snacks are done.

 

I do understand your concerns. Food goes fast with four kids!

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Recently I had 9 people living in our home for 2 months while moving from TX to SC.

 

The breakdown was this

  • DD, Son-in-law, 19 month old and 9 month old
  • DD, baby
  • Dh, ds (14) and myself
  • Ella Bella -dog

 

I spent the same amount for having all 10 of us as I normally spend for 5 of us. That was 1000 bucks for the whole month. I cooked lots of roast, stews and meat filled pastas. Served lots of salads and rolls and tons of fresh fruits and veggies. I baked goodies every other day---cookies, brownies, pies, breakfast bars etc and there was always lots of fruits and veggies cut up and homemade dips made. I keep lots of popcorn on hand and there's always soup in the refrig for heating and sandwich fixings. For beverages--coffee, tea(I made two pitchers daily), OJ and apple juice for breakfast. I do buy soda for the big kids --maybe 2 cases a month. I shopped at Costco every Saturday to restock everything and it worked out great.

 

I hope that sort of answers your question.

 

edited to add--this also covered all diapers, baby formula and other household items. Shopping in bulk is just the way to go with a big group like ours. ;)

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It occurred to me one day, when my eldest started eating like a horse, that when I was growing up, we didn't do snacks except one mid-afternoon. Now all these books are coming out about how French kids eat, I can see that that's what the culture was for our family even once we moved here. So I stopped allowing snacking except for fruit. Now I have 2 teen boys. I sometimes get nervous watching how much they eat a meal times but at least they're eating the good stuff & I know how much food I need to buy each week. And while they will tell you they starve between meals, they are big & healthy :laugh: so I think they'll be ok.

 

 

This is kind of what we do. Our kids stopped snacking when they were about 5 or 6 -- we found if they snacked, they didn't eat well at meals. Now we rarely have snacks unless there is a reason (heavy exercise or if a meal is going to be late.) My boys (10 and 13) eat very well at meals -- they can have as much as they want at mealtime, and we usually have dessert. Otherwise, we have a closed kitchen and they have to ask. I encourage them to ask if they are truly hungry, but they are in the habit of eating well at meals, so they rarely ask for snacks.

 

I imagine if I ever had an open kitchen (semi-open kitchen?!), snacks would still be limited to things like fruit and veggies. DH and I both grew up in households where there was not free eating whenever one wanted; most of my friends grew up the same way, too, so it feels natural to me. I'm wondering if maybe it's an age thing? Or a regional thing? I was born in 1963, so it was a while ago. LOL.

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I personally do not agree that a tight food budget means you need assistance. We have the financial means to live a comfortable life with no debt because we do budget tightly. My children don't go hungry, but they will sometimes eat too much of a favorite (and expensive) food because it's available and easier to get to than something less expensive and more healthy. I also do not want my kids snacking an hour before dinner, which they would do if they were allowed. While they don't have to ask for a snack most of the time, they do if it's after 3 pm.

 

We have a mixed open kitchen and I keep a pretty tight food budget. I also do not purchase any junk food except as a very rare treat. The way we do it is I have a shelf in the pantry and in the fridge that is off limits. If things are on these shelves, I need them for specific meals. Things on other shelves are fair game but once they are gone they will not be replaced until my normal shopping day. The same with the fruit bowl. I have two fruit bowls and one holds fruit that is off limits because it's being saved for a specific purpose. For example, if I buy apples I may pull a couple out of the "open bowl" because I am planning to make an apple puff pancake later in the week. I plan all our dinners, everyone eats the same few things for breakfast, and lunch consists mainly of leftovers or sandwiches so I know exactly what we need on hand for these meals each week. Any extras are open season but they are only replaced on shopping days.

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My thinking is that, if a family's food budget is so incredibly tight they can't let one of the kids eat a single apple without shorting the next day's meal, it's time to apply for some assistance. No one should have to ration food that closely. Kids need to eat when they're hungry.

 

Many, if not most, of them ARE on assistance IF they qualify.

 

It's not like assistance is some kind of huge lotto win. They are still going to have a very tight food budget.

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Yeah when we were back in the USA and could shop in bulk, have big pantries, and extra fridges it was easier. We make a comfortable salary (DH makes more than twice wgat ge did in US) but fridges, houses, pantries are much smaller here in Aus so you actually have to self limit what you buy. Our kids inherited our fast metabolisms and could each easily down a kilo of meat, kilo of fruit, grains, etc per day.

 

Part of my budget problem is that half of us have Coeliacs so i cannot just buy cheaper cereals or snack foods.

 

An example...DH wad respinsible fir bringing the snack for morning tea at the Centre this morning. So he asked if I could make strawberry santas. For 24 berries, 2 boxes of cream cheese, and a small bag of icing sugar it was $45. Nectarines are $12.99 a kilo. I do load up on fruit and veg at the farmets market once a week but need to ve conscious of space. Our budget back in TX for 6 people, 2 giant dogs and 4 cats was about $600 monthly. Now, without pets, I probably spend $1000 and get half the amount. So yes, every apple is important.

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we have huge veggie garden and over 40 fruit trees. We eat mostly what we grow. the kids can go out to the veggie garden and at the moment pick as many raspberries and strawberries as they want and eat them.

I make 1 double batch of cookies a week. they can have 3 a day. I have a house cow and unlimited milk. they make milkshakes anytime they want.

 

As for the snack for work. I would have just given him a packet of Tim tams to take. Would have only cost around $3

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Fruit, vegetables and milk are fair game here. Everything else must be cleared first. Well, my teens regulate just fine. I'm primarily referring to the younger kids. If I didn't keep tabs they would eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and cereal. My son could blow through a box of cereal himself in a day if I let him have at it.

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we have huge veggie garden and over 40 fruit trees. We eat mostly what we grow. the kids can go out to the veggie garden and at the moment pick as many raspberries and strawberries as they want and eat them.

I make 1 double batch of cookies a week. they can have 3 a day. I have a house cow and unlimited milk. they make milkshakes anytime they want.

 

As for the snack for work. I would have just given him a packet of Tim tams to take. Would have only cost around $3

 

We need to figure out how to put a garden in. The owner of our house is fine with it and also with us keeping chickens.

 

I need to be better about finding bulk purveyors here. I didn't

know they had Aldis here. I'll have to look.

 

ETA: no Aldis. Apparently the WA govt has blocked them from coming in.

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We have a generous budget for some things, not others. When milk became $10/gallon for us, we severely limited it - in the liquid form. My kid can still make pudding for roughly $.25 by using powdered milk, vanilla, corn starch, sugar, and cocoa. We always keep oatmeal in the house, always have seasonal fruits/veggies gotten cheap or free (either from our fig, plum, and apple trees, trading with neighbors or buying at the market down the street.) We encourage popcorn as a snack. I thin out sauces a little or add beans in place of meat. Carrot sticks and celery are often available.

 

The most important has been the house rules, though. Nothing is eaten out of a box. It goes in a bowl or on a plate first and then is eaten at the table with the exception of movie snacks. And we recently switched out our "modern" dishware for ones more suited for the 50's - bowls and cups hold half the amount. Plates have a defined rim. It's easier to feel sated if we're aware of exactly how much we're eating and paying attention to it, rather than eating mindlessly out of a bag in front of the telly.

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I found that stopping cold cereal made a major change in my food budget, in how hungry my teen was throughout the day, and also in his behavior. Hot cereals go a looong way in the price per serving dept. and are very filling. If you go to the Quaker Oats site, they have all sorts of recipes on ways to serve it. My favorite is with an apple, a bit of syrup and butter. It really changes the perception of "oatmeal AGAIN?" He is much more focused on his school work without all of the crap boxed cereals have (even if they are the "low sugar" kind) as well.

 

Also - eggs. A poached egg and a single piece of buttered toast is a great morning meal that will keep even a teen together. A small glass of juice will balance it out.

 

I know everyone is on a budget, but one thing I have discovered is that real butter, used sparingly, is more filling and lasts longer, energy-wise, for kids and adults. Ditto for all 'regular' foods vs their 'fake' counterparts. In the end, we use less, not more. I don't know if it is because it tastes better or what...

 

My kid has never been a major milk drinker, except for the tetra pak kind. One tip I was taught by a very thrifty mom who had two voracious boys when I was growing up was to buy whole milk, pour half of it into a pitcher, and then mix half a gallon of whole, powdered mix back into the gallon jug and shake it all up. She would then keep it at the back of the fridge so it was almost icy cold. When it was empty, she had a jug to continue the process w/o the pitcher. She would wash the jugs in-between. Her sons never knew the difference, and they went through 4-6 gallons a week! In the 70's when prices were through the roof! When milk was on sale, she would buy ahead and put it in her deep freeze.

 

 

a

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We don't have an open kitchen. They have just never gone in there to get food without asking. It wasn't taught, they just stay out of mom's kitchen! If they are hungry they tell me and I might say, go get something and give guidelines depending what they have eaten or how close it is to dinner. My kids will starve instead of eating something healthy so often my list of things they can eat are snubbed ;-) We don't have a lot of junk food in the house. I think there are some 3 month old trisciuts? Their standby snack is applesauce or yogurt. Sometimes crackers and cheese. If my son were to have free access he wouldn't eat much of what is there. I buy healthy food and he refuses it. And he's hungry a lot. Can't help it kid, the food is there.

 

So our budget is set up to offer meals and snacks but the snacks are not what they want so it's not a big deal to the budget.

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My very unscientific observation of the other thread was that the majority of open kitchen families had one or two children. Nearly none had five bottomless pits like I have. :001_smile:

 

I have a semi-open kitchen. The kids can have as much fruit, veggies, milk, and leftovers as they want. The rest of the food is generally off-limits between meals for open grazing. I will often provide other snacks between meals, but I make the call on those items.

 

If everyone ate whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, I would never know what survived for the next meal. We just have too many people to allow unlimited open grazing.....at least too many people for the amount of food I keep stocked.

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This is a genuine question...so many people in the other thread reacted very negatively to the idea of limiting food or making kids ask before taking something. How does this work in your house? Do you have a generous food budget?

 

We've always had an open kitchen policy. We spend what we consider to be a reasonable amount for groceries which could very well look generous to someone else. It's certainly nowhere near a thousand a month though.

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We have 5 kids and they have to ask for food. I give out snacks at snack times, they mainly know not to ask at other times. If they are hungry they wait until a meal. There is no way I could afford open kitchen. They would always be eating stuff I needed for meals or eating other people's share of the fruit or whatever. Plus, if one kid eats something "everyone" is suddenly "hungry" even if they hadn't been thinking about food at all. It's totally entertainment most of the time. Also, they would choose to eat fruit or chips and then not be hungry for meals which is where the real nutrition is.

Wait, there is one thing I always allow them - carrots. I always say when someone is asking for food before meals "you can have a carrot". Guess how often they take me up on that? :) When they do, I feel great about it because: it's healthy, no mess, cheapest thing you can buy and they must have actually been hungry.

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We don't really have an open kitchen for a couple of reasons. #1 food is expensive & #2 if allowed my dc would have snacked all day & not eaten well at mealtimes. Even a 1.5 kg bag of the cheapest apples in the local shop is over $6, so rationing our "snack" food is necessary to make it last the week. Ds#1 eats porridge every morning by choice as he says if he eats cold cereal he is starving before mid-morning. He takes left-overs for lunch for the same reason. We have very little junk food in the house & homebaking needs to last the week, so is rationed as well. Dh is the only one who has open access to the kitchen & at times I have been frustrated as he has eaten what I had put aside for lunch, etc. Unless 2013 brings better fortune job-wise for dh & I, even dh will need to limit his food intake as well. Everyone will have enough to eat, but it may not always be what or when they would prefer. At the moment our monthly food bill is $1000-$1200 & our income just isn't covering it. I do have a pretty full pantry / freezer currently & plan to do a No Spend month in January as we won't have any income until mid-February at the earliest.

 

JMHO,

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While we do try to stick below a certain level for food expenses, we are fortunate enough that we've never had to say "We only have $X to last until the end of the month." If we run out of something I can go buy more. I usually shop three times a week, but that's mostly due to my hating to lug home huge amounts of food at one time and having four grocery stores within three miles of our house. And yes, only having two kids makes a big difference.

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We also can't have gluten in the house. We also deal with a peanut allergy along with some other food allergies. It can be very hard to afford food when dealing with food allergies. No quinoa, no beans etc.

 

I never buy crackers, pretzels, and so forth because they are so darn expensive. I've recently stopped baking and also drastically cut back on cooking grains.

 

My mom bought my boys a huge box of gluten free pretzels for Christmas. They are going to be so excited.

 

I'm not sure if I have an "open" or "closed" kitchen. My kids tell me when they are hungry and I either tell them to get a snack or I tell them to wait for meal time depending on how close we are to the meal. It's not a rule I enforce....it just kind of evolved that way. My 4 yr old is the exception right now though. He's always in the fridge scavenging food. :rofl:

 

I have almost zero processed packaged food. I say almost because what I do have is from my mom. I'm one of those people you see whose cart is filled with produce and a little meat and dairy thrown in there. Snacks for are usually carrots, celery, apples with either cream cheese, hummus, or almond/sunbutter (those items are expensive so when we're out we're out). Also eggs. I try to keep a bowl of boiled eggs in the fridge. If I don't the boys will make a scrambled or fried egg as a snack.

 

I buy food from Amazon if it's a good price. Is that an option in Australia? For example I can usually get buckwheat cheaper on Amazon. Buckwheat makes a great hot cereal. I also grind it into flour for pancakes/waffles.

 

My mom likes to buy food for the kids. She loves providing food. It's her love language. So I regularly get packages from Amazon sent from her with gf mac n cheese, gf flour, gf cake mix, gf cookie mix, gf brownie mix, etc. When she goes to Costco she buys things like Nutella, almond butter, and maple syrup for the boys. My problem is that I'm trying to cut back on rice products and sugar and my mom makes that difficult. She's generous and it gives her joy so I mostly let her. I do ration the processed and sugar stuff. I don't need my kids binging on sugar!

 

We have a garden. I am trying to get better about gardening properly.

 

I improvise a lot. If we don't have an ingredient I do without or substitute.

 

We spend a lot on food due to our food restrictions and my standards of what I allow in the house. Produce is expensive and the bulk of our expense especially since I haven't mastered the art of getting most of our produce from the garden. Meat is the next biggest expense. I buy meat from a co-op.

 

I grew up with my mom who always told me to never scrimp on food. She said always look to cutting costs elsewhere but make sure there is enough food. I'm lucky enough that dh makes enough for us to feed our kids with the limits we have. Buckwheat is so much more than oatmeal! (We can't eat oats)

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My post on this got lost in la-la land.... Basically, we've always had an open kitchen. What was in it changed as we were able to increase our grocery budget. When the kids were young and unable to reach, then of course they had to ask to access it but by about age 5, snacks are within reach. Snacks does not "equal" junk either (although there is some of that, most is not).

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The kitchen is open for anyone who wants to eat, but no one does.

 

My children are never hungry till meal time. Sometimes, I have make them sit at the table to eat. It wasn't like this at first, because our bodies needed vitamins to counter the junk & processed food we ate, so we would feel really hungry, like a bottomless pit for days & weeks until changing our diet. When the kids were younger (having junk, chips, sweets, chocs crisps, fruit juice, bread) they needed more food, but since we changed our diet to natural, healthy eating (without gluten, wheat & sugar), we no longer feel so hungry. Detoxing with healthy foods, have made our appetites settle down. We don't buy processed or junk foods. We mostly buy fresh meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables, salads, spices, rice, olive oil, butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, honey, (gluten free) gram flour, nuts (occasionally) and some fresh fruit.

 

I never limit my children from eating healthy food.

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The kitchen is open for anyone who wants to eat, but no one does.

 

My children are never hungry till meal time. Sometimes, I have make them sit at the table to eat. It wasn't like this at first, because our bodies needed vitamins to counter the junk & processed food we ate, so we would feel really hungry, like a bottomless pit for days & weeks until changing our diet. When the kids were younger (having junk, chips, sweets, chocs crisps, fruit juice, bread) they needed more food, but since we changed our diet to natural, healthy eating (without gluten, wheat & sugar), we no longer feel so hungry. Detoxing with healthy foods, have made our appetites settle down. We don't buy processed or junk foods. We mostly buy fresh meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables, salads, spices, rice, olive oil, butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, honey, (gluten free) gram flour, nuts (occasionally) and some fresh fruit.

 

I never limit my children from eating healthy food.

 

 

This is how we eat, however my two younger kids eat a lot. So it's not just cutting out some types of things and banking on that cutting down hunger. The younger two are growing like weeds at the moment and require a lot of food and often. My oldest I have to remind and encourage to eat as he does not eat enough.

 

As for myself going gluten free didn't change my appetite. Cutting out forms of sugar made a big difference. Again, this has not been the case with my younger kids. They are bottomless pits at the moment.

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This is how we eat, however my two younger kids eat a lot. So it's not just cutting out some types of things and banking on that cutting down hunger. The younger two are growing like weeds at the moment and require a lot of food and often. My oldest I have to remind and encourage to eat as he does not eat enough. As for myself going gluten free didn't change my appetite. Cutting out forms of sugar made a big difference. Again, this has not been the case with my younger kids. They are bottomless pits at the moment.

 

All children do become hungry - they are living human beings, and young children do need energy & food, to grow. Therefore, children should eat healthily and have good carbohydrates, with a good, natural, balanced diet.

 

If you are eating like us, and having some honey & fruit, that's fine. If I have too much of these carbs, that too will make me more hungrier. There are many reasons for this, such as hypoglycemia (leading on to diabetes). Junk foods like refined sugar, sweets chocs etc, depleted vitamins from our bodies and increased our cravings. Sugar has this tendency, because refined sugar is a poison. See William Dufty's book 'Sugar Blues'. It's also been researched that the hormone ghrelin, increases the appetite whenever we do eat carbohydrates. If you wish to know more, you can read an article about it here. We personally have experienced that high carbs (such as wheat) consumption not only causes us adverse effects, but eating these and other high carbs increases our appetites.

 

Candida albicans which lives naturally in our bodies, feeds on all carbs (...wheat, fruit & potatoes), and it creates intense hunger cravings. See the Zoe Harcombe videos & Carbohydrate Addiction by Dr L. Wilson (MD).

 

(There are many other articles about high carbs increasing appetite, candida & weight gain, on the net.)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sg6V5YZUW4[/media

 

Best Wishes

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The kitchen is open for anyone who wants to eat, but no one does.

 

My children are never hungry till meal time. Sometimes, I have make them sit at the table to eat. It wasn't like this at first, because our bodies needed vitamins to counter the junk & processed food we ate, so we would feel really hungry, like a bottomless pit for days & weeks until changing our diet. When the kids were younger (having junk, chips, sweets, chocs crisps, fruit juice, bread) they needed more food, but since we changed our diet to natural, healthy eating (without gluten, wheat & sugar), we no longer feel so hungry. Detoxing with healthy foods, have made our appetites settle down. We don't buy processed or junk foods. We mostly buy fresh meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables, salads, spices, rice, olive oil, butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, honey, (gluten free) gram flour, nuts (occasionally) and some fresh fruit.

 

I never limit my children from eating healthy food.

 

 

 

We eat like you do (and three of us have Celiac's) but the kids are hungry a lot. They have always been great eaters with no real pickiness. DH and I were both extremely thin when we were younger with really high metabolisms. Mine crashed when the Celiac's started (so I discovered after 6 years of questions and testing) and is only just righting itself. So, our poor kids seem to have gotten a double dose of the high metabolism and just are skinny, skinny things no matter how much they eat. We eat almost no processed food because a) it is expensive, B) we like natural food, and c) it worries me that I don't really know all the ingredients and might make myself or the kids sick if there is some hidden gluten that is not listed.

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We just have rules about what is fair game. Peanut butter and bread or toast is ok, the fruit I put out in the bowl is a yes but if it's in a bag in the fridge I have plans for it, etc. I just let them know. Generally if it's on the open kitchen shelf it's ok but if I've put it up I'm using it for something else.

 

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My dd can put away a ton of food, it was even worse when she was on high doses of prednisone for her arthritis, she didn't stop eating for the hours she was awake.

 

now she has food she knows that if she takes it's cool no worries, it's usually a larger box of something from costco--dried apple/banana/strawberry chips, goldfish, granola bars. she can also always have fruit, however once it's gone it's gone, i don't make special trips to the store.

 

i have more problems with my husband taking stuff that i have scheduled for recipes than anything else lol

 

eta: she's only allowed granola bars/goldfish once a day because of the carbs. the dried fruit, fresh fruit, veggies with some almond butter or dip is all fair game as long as it isn't within an hour before a meal

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Personally, an open kitchen sabotages my budget because I have kids that will eat until they throw up (YOU VOMITED UP $5 WORTH OF FOOD!!!!!) Kids that eat when they are bored and of course, the kid that doesn't like anything but PB and J. (My kids go in cycles. It's not always the same kid exhibiting these food traits!)

 

I serve 3 meals 2 snacks per day.

 

I have had some success in the past with a weekly or daily snack bag for each kid. I fix the snacks and they get to self-regulate. This only works if I put the bags together for them and when the food is gone that is the end.

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I found that stopping cold cereal made a major change in my food budget, in how hungry my teen was throughout the day, and also in his behavior. Hot cereals go a looong way in the price per serving dept. and are very filling. If you go to the Quaker Oats site, they have all sorts of recipes on ways to serve it. My favorite is with an apple, a bit of syrup and butter. It really changes the perception of "oatmeal AGAIN?" He is much more focused on his school work without all of the crap boxed cereals have (even if they are the "low sugar" kind) as well.

I've found the same thing true here. However, I do buy it, but it is the BORING kind. Raisin bran. Shredded wheat, etc... and I NEVER buy things like pop tarts, toaster strudels, etc.

Also - eggs. A poached egg and a single piece of buttered toast is a great morning meal that will keep even a teen together. A small glass of juice will balance it out.

I know that if I eat cereal for breakfast, I want cookies and bread ALL STINKING DAY! When I began eating eggs every day, I start out the day with a good blood sugar level and I manage my eating much better throughout the day.

I know everyone is on a budget, but one thing I have discovered is that real butter, used sparingly, is more filling and lasts longer, energy-wise, for kids and adults. Ditto for all 'regular' foods vs their 'fake' counterparts. In the end, we use less, not more. I don't know if it is because it tastes better or what...

yup. I've found the same thing true here.

My kid has never been a major milk drinker, except for the tetra pak kind. One tip I was taught by a very thrifty mom who had two voracious boys when I was growing up was to buy whole milk, pour half of it into a pitcher, and then mix half a gallon of whole, powdered mix back into the gallon jug and shake it all up. She would then keep it at the back of the fridge so it was almost icy cold. When it was empty, she had a jug to continue the process w/o the pitcher. She would wash the jugs in-between. Her sons never knew the difference, and they went through 4-6 gallons a week! In the 70's when prices were through the roof! When milk was on sale, she would buy ahead and put it in her deep freeze.

 

 

a

 

I have also watered down whole milk. Now that I have a milk cow, I allow the kids to drink as much milk as they want.

 

I do agree with the sentiment a pp stated about open kitchens and large and small families. Those of us feeding five or six people just really will struggle with an open kitchen concept. Food is just so stinking expensive these days. I've been planning my garden this week and I really NEED it to grow well this year.

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For the most part we have an open kitchen. It *has* hurt our wallet before. My son eats insane amounts of fruit. It really stinks when all the fruit is gone in a day and a half and you can't go shopping until next week. We have instituted an eat-at-the-table rule. If he's really hungry, he can sit down and eat it. The mindless eating tends to happen while he is playing or watching TV. And it also leads to apple cores being shoved in all kinds of delightful places... and of course tummy troubles. I'm sure you can imagine what it's like when a 6 year old eats ten apples in one sitting (this had happened multiple times).

 

Eating at the table has mostly solved our problems.

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I get the large versus small family issue. I'm curious whether the open vs. closed issue has any bearing on older kids being self-sufficient with meal prep? In other words, I'm thrilled to death that my older son will make himself food when he's hungry -- heat up left overs, make himself lunch, etc -- sometimes even for his brother. He'll even ride his bike to the store if there's an ingredient he wants, and now he more or less cleans up the kitchen. If budget is less of an issue, would closed kitchen folks not let children do this? How do you handle the same sort of thing with a spouse?

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I get the large versus small family issue. I'm curious whether the open vs. closed issue has any bearing on older kids being self-sufficient with meal prep? In other words, I'm thrilled to death that my older son will make himself food when he's hungry -- heat up left overs, make himself lunch, etc -- sometimes even for his brother. He'll even ride his bike to the store if there's an ingredient he wants, and now he more or less cleans up the kitchen. If budget is less of an issue, would closed kitchen folks not let children do this? How do you handle the same sort of thing with a spouse?

My dd is 15. She is supposed to ask before getting stuff. This is because I often am counting on ingredients for a recipe and I don't want her messing up my meal plan. :) But "Hey mom! Can I make x?" or "What can I eat?" are common questions around here. My dh? He makes himself sandwiches or cereal, but otherwise asks me "What's there to eat?" I suppose everyone in the house considers that I am the Queen of the Kitchen in this house. :)

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We have a rapidly shrinking food budget :glare: . We used to have 3 scheduled meals and 3 scheduled snacks, although for the most part if a child said they were hungry, we'd let them find something to munch on. We've eliminated our morning snack and no one has died (yet).

 

Our oldest 2 (14yo and 17yo) can get themselves a snack whenever they like - they are pretty consciencous about it and will generally make themselves a sandwich or scrambled egg or something like that. I only "regulate" snacks for the younger 4 because I'm trying to cut down on waste and increase the variety/health of their snacking (fewer grains). My 3yo is evidently going through a growth spurt, so she is doing a lot more snacking than the others.

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No open kitchen here, but I make sure everyone has plenty to eat. We eat full fat dairy and homemade everything. Soups are from homemade stocks, popcorn is made in the air popper with real butter. If the kids are hungry I will make a snack, but indiscriminate grazing is not allowed. Snacks vary. Are favorites are popcorn, cheese, fruit, peanut butter, or a homemade goodie like granola bars.

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