5 tips for feeding big families as a single mum
With all of the challenges being a single mother brings, finding the time to prepare adequate meals for one or more children is chief among them. If you have one child, it might not be too hard to manage – but multiple kids (who each might require different meal considerations) can sometimes seem impossible to get on top of.
What makes it worse is that you will face this challenge nightly, and you need to make something that you will enjoy yourself as well. This can be tricky if your kids are picky eaters (or just have the normal dietary preferences of a 6-year-old), but it can be done with a time limit if you prepare properly.
Of course, we’d love to be able to make spaghetti marinara every night, but sometimes managing high energy kids makes it challenging. The frustrating truth is; making sure our kids are eating fresh, nutritious meals each night is a lot easier said than done.
If you have a child or multiple children with specific allergies, then your workload gets bigger and more complex. The older your kids are, the more food they’ll need – but they’ll also probably be less picky and can prepare their own breakfasts, as well as help with dinner time.
With all that said, let’s take a look at some general tips you can use to make feeding multiple kids as a single mum that little bit easier.
Don’t shy away from cold meals
You don’t always need to be cooking – giving your kids a fruit salad or yogurt for lunch can be great as a way of giving them something easy that’s also healthy for them. Replacing unhealthy snacks with options like carrot sticks and a healthy dip can give your kids the finger food they’re naturally drawn to without jeopardising on their nutrition.
Crock-pots have come a long way. Now we call them slow cookers and they are probably the simplest way to get nutritious, hearty food in a reliable way each night.
Basically, you throw in all of your ingredients without chopping or even sautéing any of it, set a timer, go about your day and come home to the aroma of a delicious home-cooked broth. When you’ve had a long, busy day and know there’s hot food instantly ready for you at home, it’s a real weight off your shoulders as a single mum.
Get your groceries delivered
If your main barrier to preparing nutritious food for your kids is a lack of free time – consider having your groceries delivered. This kind of service, while rolled out slowly, is now pretty commonplace and more affordable than it used to be.
Ordering the groceries online is a huge time-saver for single mums. Think about how many hours you spend visiting the supermarket on an average week – driving there, parking, walking down the aisles, filling up your cart, waiting in queue at the checkout and then driving home again can all add up.
Get the kids to help out
When you’re a single mum, it’s not uncommon to rely on your kids to help you now and then and this shouldn’t be any different in the kitchen. Depending on the age of your children, there are plenty of small, simple and safe tasks they can perform for you that will save you time while cooking.
For example, you could get one of your kids to mix a salad with a plastic spatula while another child sets the dinner table. Kids will usually be eager to help you prepare and serve dinner if it’s a meal they really love – so don’t hesitate to use that as an incentive.
Get help from other adults
While you don’t have a romantic partner to help you feed your children, that’s no reason you can’t engage other adults to help you every so often. Getting grandma or even a friendly neighbour to cook a Friday dinner once a week or even once a month is going to take some of the load off your shoulders and maybe get some time for yourself.
Hopefully you can use the above tips to make it easier to feed your kids as a single mum.