My kids are always hungry.  They have an insatiable appetite and eat all the time.  During school holidays, they eat from dawn until dusk. Fortunately, when they are at school, they can only eat their provided morning tea and lunch. But when they get home from school, the frenzy begins.  After demolishing copious amounts of fruit, drink and whatever else is provided, one would think their appetite for dinner would be gone or at the very least, diminished.  But to my amazement, they are able to eat their dinner with as much gusto.  When we visit friends, I am often embarrassed because I am sure the hosts think that I don’t feed my children.  Despite warning my children in advance to restrain themselves when they are out, they never seem to hold back.  I think their tummies overrule their brains.  They have a primeval instinct to eat.

My oldest son is 15 and at 6”2 and literally eats like a horse.  He never seems to fill up, always room for just a little bit more.  Our food bills are atrocious and I am constantly at the shops.   My other son who is 12 is shaping up to follow in his brother’s footsteps.  One more year until he is a teenager and then I dread to think how many chickens I will have to cook for one meal.  And whoever said girls don’t eat much, have not come to my house.   Admittedly, my girls do eat more modestly than the boys, but they can still pack it back.  They certainly do not let their brothers hog all the food.  Fortunately for my children, they are all tall and thin.  You would never know it by looking at them that they are bottomless pits.  I know that it is not right for a mother to be jealous of her own children but it just isn’t fair. As a self-professed foodie, I can only dream of eating like them without putting on an ounce.  Just watching them eat is enough to pile the pounds on.

Needless to say, we don’t eat in restaurants very much as it is just too expensive to feed the whole family.  Mostly we eat pizza when we go out because you get the most food for your money.  Holidays in particular, can get quite expensive when you are eating all your meals out. You have to be strategic and wise with your money.  The first thing I do before I even book any accommodation is to try and get breakfast included. Sometimes it is easy to book accommodation online with breakfast included.  But often it is not an option or breakfast is only included for four people.  No good for large families.  In these situations, contact the hotel/resort/villa directly and try to negotiate free breakfast for the entire family. Most resorts do have the breakfast already built into the price so it is often not a problem.   If you have to pay for breakfast, try to get the younger children, especially toddlers, free by emphasing how they don’t eat much.

The best breakfast to negotiate is the buffet breakfast. It is a godsend with four children, especially teenagers.  They are able to eat as much as they want and whatever they want. It’s the one time I am happy for my kids to stuff themselves silly.  It means they stay full for a long time, well at least the whole morning for my 15 year old.  It is a bit embarrassing how they race around and try almost everything on offer.  But then I watch other people’s kids and they are all doing the same.  It is a wonderful sight, one that only a mother can appreciate.  

The kids love being in control of what they eat and how much. The buffet breakfast, also works really well for the fussy eaters as it gives them plenty of choices and options.  What is interesting is the healthy choices the kids make when they are given the freedom to choose.  Surprisingly, they don’t just fill up on pastries and cocoa pops.  In fact, what I have found, is that they want to try new things.  They tend to be a bit more adventurous tasting exotic foods and fruits. Which is exactly what you want for them on a foreign holiday.

And it is not just the kids who enjoy the buffet breakfast.  My husband is like a little child when it comes to buffet breakfasts and goes back for seconds, thirds and more than the odd occasion, even fourths.  My sons and him often have a competition to see who can eat the most. I have to admit that I also love buffet breakfasts. When I am at home, I don't eat breakfast as I find cereal and toast a bit boring on a daily basis.  But I love all the hot food available in the buffet breakfast, especially when you are in Asia.  It is such a treat to have pad thai or chicken curry in the morning.  I am also a big fruit eater but often when you are travelling, you tend not to eat fruit because it is not very accessible.  But with buffet breakfasts, there is almost always such a huge selection of fruit that you get your daily quota in one go. 

So as you can see, I am a huge fan of buffet breakfasts and will often go out of my way to book accommodation that provides it.  What I have found that even when you are staying in a private villa, it is worth requesting breakfast.  In Bali, most villas seem to provide free breakfast, often with a cook who comes in daily.  It is a great way to start your day and a wonderful opportunity to experience some local food.  We have stayed in villas where it is just not possible to provide a hot breakfast but if you ask, they might arrange for the housekeeper drop off something in the morning, such as hot croissants and even fruit.  Again, with children, it is nice to have something to feed them in the morning before they become feral with hunger. 

Finally, if you don’t get breakfast included, don’t despair.  You can always go to the local supermarket and pick up bread, jam, cereal and milk.  This will keep the whole family going at a fraction of the price of going out.  One less meal a day does make a difference to the pocketbook. 

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don't miss out! Sandyx