feeding a family of six…

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk About Food

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their struggles and successes with healthy eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Feeding a family of six can quickly add up. While all of our children are still young (our oldest is 7 1/2), we’ve already noticed that our food bill is rising. The cost of food will only go up as they get older, especially when we reach the teenage years. Here are some of our tips for cutting costs:

Forget the coupons. While I’m not opposed to using coupons and do when available, I’m not a coupon clipper. The majority of food coupons are for processed items that we don’t purchase. Coupons don’t save you money if you don’t use the items you purchase.

Shop sales. Our grocery bill went down significantly when we started planning our meals around sales. Most grocery stores have their weekly ads online – perfect for those of us who don’t subscribe to a newspaper.

Buy in bulk. Our family has a membership to Costco. Bulk items are generally less expensive than their smaller portioned counterparts. While Costco still has quite a bit of processed food, they tend to have a lot of fresh produce and basic ingredients. You can find many of your staple ingredients available in bulk amounts.

Join a coop. Similarly to buying in bulk, joining a coop can help save money. Because you are buying with others, you receive better pricing than if you buy something on your own. There are many coops out there, with more becoming available all of the time.

Buy local. You can find great deals at your local farmer’s market and save the cost of shipping and marketing. Not only are you supporting the local economy, but you also get to know where your food is coming from.

Eat at home. Eating out adds up quickly. We rarely eat out anymore. Instead, we roll our “dine out” budget into our grocery budget. This allows us to buy ingredients for nice dinners. We get healthier, tastier meals at a fraction of the price. For Father’s Day, our family had a steak dinner better than those served at Ruth Chris.

Make it from scratch. This sounds intimidating, when it really isn’t. There are many things you can make from scratch in the same amount of time it takes to microwave a pre-made, processed version.

Grow your own. While we haven’t been able to have a garden at our current house, I grew up on a farm. There was a time when everything we ate (sans a few items such as flour, sugar, etc.) was grown or raised on the same land I grew up on. I can’t wait to have a garden again.

Buy a deep freezer. We finally made the plunge and purchased a deep freezer this past Spring. This is one of the best investments we’ve made. It has enabled us to buy a side of beef, have room for our frozen produce (such as all of the pumpkin puree I make and freeze), and stock up when there are sales.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Why I Love The Real Food Community — Much like many people who follow AP/NP values, Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! takes the parts of the “real food” philosophy that work for her family and leaves the rest. (@bfmom)
  • Feeding a Family of Six — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children gives helpful tips for feeding a family of six.
  • Starting Solids at 6 Months — Did your doctor recommend that you give your baby cereal? Sheryl at Little Snowflakes discusses how whole foods are so much healthier (and more delicious) than traditional cereal. (@sheryljesin)
  • Am I What I Eat? — Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has figured out a way to avoid grocery stores nearly altogether.
  • Are We Setting Our Kids Up To Fail? — Megan at Purple Dancing Dahlias found that cutting out the junk also transformed her sons’ behavior problems.
  • Changing your family’s way of eating — Lauren at Hobo Mama has techniques you can try to move your family gradually toward a healthier diet. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • Real Food — What kinds of fake foods do you eat? And why?! Lisa C. at My World Edenwild talks about why she chooses real food.
  • A Snackaholic’s Food Battle — Julie at Simple Life wants to stop snacking and get into the old ways of cooking from scratch and raising her own food. (@homemakerjulie)
  • Food, Not Fight — Summer at Finding Summer doesn’t want her kids to grow up like her husband: hating everything green. (@summerm)
  • How Do You Eat When You Are out of Town? — Cassie at There’s a Pickle In My Life wants some tips on how to eat healthy when you are out of town.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Food! — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker hopes that by serving her children healthy, balanced meals, they will become accustomed to making good food choices. (@sybilryan)
  • There’s No Food Like Home’s — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing revels in the Bajan food of her upbringing. (@BlkWmnDoBF)
  • This Mom’s Food Journey — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment made a journey from not paying attention to food to growing her own.
  • Who Knew Eating Was So Hard? — The challenges involved in changing to healthier eating habits take on a whole new dimension when you have a child who has difficulties eating. kadiera at Our Little Acorn shares her own experiences. (@kadiera)
  • Loving Food — Starr at Earth Mama truly believes food is her family’s medicine and is willing to spend days preparing it the traditional way.
  • Food Mindfulness — Danielle at born.in.japan details how her family spends money on each category of food. (@borninjp)
  • Food for Little People — Zoey at Good Goog wants to bless her daughter with happy traditions built around good food. (@zoeyspeak)
  • Eat Like a Baby — Have you been told that you should not equate food with love? Kate Wicker at Momopoly shows us why that’s not necessarily true. (@Momopoly)
  • Food — Deb at Science@Home tries to teach her children three rules to help them eat a healthy diet. (@ScienceMum)
  • Healthy Eating Lactose-Free — MamanADroit gives us tips on how to eat healthy if you are lactose intolerant (or just don’t want cow milk). (@MamanADroit)