LCHF For a Family of 6
Now a lot of what I read are the rambling tweets of feuding academics, scientists with points to make, intellectual types pondering over their ideal breakfast prior to their 100km run around Kilimanjaro or 7 day ride through the plains of Mongolia.
All very interesting, but sometimes seems a little exclusive.
What are the practicalities of eating “Real Food” for an everyday family? What have we noticed and learned so far?
Well luckily, I prepared a family earlier and thought that I could take you through the experiences of my family of 6 – Mum, Dad, 10y.o girl, 9y.o. boy, 7 y.o. boy and finally 5 y.o. spirited girl.
Initially we had a rather big clean out of our pantry and fridge to clear out what we knew was completely outside the rules for low carb eating – pasta, rice, potatoes etc all went. Some sauces and packet coatings still remain but it’s highly unlikely they will ever get used.
The initial cost of restocking and eating like this was quite high. Our $300.00 weekly grocery budget was being exceeded quite considerably.
Time to review – it was really only my eldest daughter and myself that had dived into this, it wasn’t until my wife couldn’t deny the evidence of improved weight and appearance that she joined in a few weeks later – now we were all singing from the same hymn book!
So our new united approach meant no more bread, processed lunch snack foods and minimal fruit. The addictive nature of these is evident whenever my kids have a sample. Their behaviour changes and they constantly at my wife and I for more.
Cutting out bread, snack food and reducing and rationing fruit consumption has helped to bring the budget back in line.
Also changing our behaviour around when to eat and amounts has helped us to tighten our belts (pardon the pun).
Old eating habits were causing a problem also. Who said that you need to have 3 meals a day?
Once we agreed to focus on only eating when we are hungry and shrug off our old dining times habits we have been able to reign things in a little bit more.
Now we are pretty much back to square, in fact we are still learning about how much food we actually need and about how our bodies can keep going on a high fat diet for much longer without us feeling hungry, so I think we are still over-doing it a bit.
This has been a change but generally an enjoyable one.
Breakfast usually consists of me cooking bacon, eggs – omelettes or scrambled or occassionaly an exotic breakfast, shakshuka, introduced to us by our Middle Eastern brother-in-law.(plenty of eggs and olive oil). Always accompanied by avocado, maybe mushrooms and baby spinach and a cup of tea with full fat cream (for most or all of the kids also).
Both my wife and I usually have a bulletproof coffee on the way to work consisting of coffee with coconut oil, cream and maybe also some butter – highly recommended.
Breakfast can be a lengthy preparation time by the time I get everyone’s bacon the right colour, crispiness and whatever other special requests they have prior to devouring. – approx 30 minutes from start to finish.
My wife , will generally prepare lunches on school/work days usually consisting of a selection of any of the following salami, left over hamburgers, full fat tasty cheese, olives, celery, carrots, cream cheese, natural Greek yoghurt sprinkled with cinammon, home cooked chicken nuggets with almond meal and coconut crumb, twiggy sticks, fetta cheese, strawberries and some fruit (usually apple or pear).
These lunches have become quite renowned amongst some other kids at school and we have had other parents ask what is in our kids lunches as their kids want it also!
The preparation of lunches is now a quicker process since we are not making sandwiches and my wife generally takes yoghurt and berries or smoked salmon and salad with cheese and mayonnaise and I don’t really take anything other than some almonds and macadamias as breakfast usually satisfies me until well into the afternoon. Lunch preparation for 6 approx 20 min.
Initially meals were a little hard when excluding the 3 P’s – pasta, potatoes and packets.
But over time we have become more and more creative – and more and more cost efficient.
Usually the meal will contain a meat or fish of some sort together with either some salad, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, kale, spinach etc. and cheese, mayonnaise and often a nice sauce made with some stock, wine, cream mixed into the pan juices – beautiful!
A favourite for the kids is meat balls in tomato sauce (homemade of course with beef stock, onion and spices – and a splash of red for flavour), on a bed of cauliflower rice. As well as tasting great, this low-carb meal is cheap – there is never anyway waste from the kids.
As we are focused on breaking the cycle of years of 3 meals a day (and snacks!) some days we will skip dinner altogether just opting for a bit of cheese and salami with a glass of red later in the night if we feel any hunger – which is rare.
DINNER can take a while as we try to prepare most things from scratch – but if we aren’t hungry then it doesn’t take long at all! – approx 0 – 60 minutes
Visiting Others and Going Out
With our family being quite social, we can all find ourselves in situations where the food choices may not be exactly as we would like (our younger children would beg to differ I’m sure).
As we don’t want to offend people who have gone to trouble, we will generally eat what is offered, however it becomes a little more difficult at the local football or the shopping centre when extremes of high sugar (Soft drinks, chocolate bars), high trans fats (the bad crap- chips etc.) are presented and all of the other kids are having them. We call these times “free days”and we allow the kids a few dollars to purchase what they like at this time. This is generally only once a week- but sometimes birthday parties, sleepovers and school events (yes they should do better) come up and make life difficult. We generally take a bit of an 80/20 approach to this. If we can get 80% of our eating right then we are probably going OK.
Preparation is key however, and taking the time to fill them full of foods high in natural fats beforehand can help in minimising the later consumption of processed rubbish – we hope!
SIDE BENEFITS (Stuff I didn’t even think of)
- We use less toilet paper – i.e. less rubbish in = less rubbish out = a cleaner event!
- Our recycle bin doesn’t fill anymore – now we are rid of cereal boxes and other processed food packaging, we’re creating far less waste
- It brings our family together – as the meal creation is an exciting event shared by all
- Those pan juice sauces
So, for any family thinking of giving this way of eating a go, I hope this gives you some practical insights.