Dear People With Grown Sons: PLEASE HELP

Many years ago I was the mother of three preschool boys, a fact which sometimes necessitated that I take all three of them to the grocery store. As surely as I sit here typing this, I could guarantee you that each of my boy-laden grocery trips would draw out comments from observers. The comments were usually pretty predictable:

1. "You certainly have your hands full."

2. "So, are you trying for a girl?"

3. [On the occasional good day.] "Your boys are so well-behaved."

4. [On the more typical day.] "Ma'am, did you know that your son is whacking your baby with a package of hot dog buns?"

5. "Wow, I can't imagine your grocery bill when they're all teenagers."

That last one always just made me smile and shrug. Sure, I know growing boys eat a lot, but how bad could it be, really? I mean, they're probably hungry after school, so you fix them a hot dog, right? No big challenge for a frugal-minded shopper. 


Let's just add this one to the (growing) list of challenges I didn't see coming. Because these sons of mine are bottomless pits of extraordinarily high metabolisms. Kind of like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, except not green. And no cocoon. And I can't put them on a bookshelf when they're done. So, not at all like The Very Hungry Caterpillar actually, except, my stars, they're HUNGRY.

Case in point: my eldest son (who is verrry tall and verrry skinny) can polish off a gallon–a gallon--of whole milk in a day and a half. At this rate, I'm wondering if we should just get a cow. My youngest son (who, at the tender age of eight and a half, is already built like an imposing linebacker) ate an entire jar of pickles the other day. An entire jar. In a day.

We haven't cut out sugar altogether (because really, why would such a life be worth the living?), but I do try to offer them primarily high-protein snacks (eggs, nuts, cheese, peanut butter, etc.) that will sit in their bellies awhile. And yes, they're eating complete and (mostly) healthful meals. No, they're not filling up on sodas or juices. And no, nobody is anywhere in the vicinity of being overweight.

They're just stinkin' hungry.

I'm left standing here holding the proverbial grocery bag, wondering how we're going to afford both college and all the pickles. As the one who has been genetically (and happily, and expensively) appointed to feed them, I'm trying to do it sensibly (and this book is helping). But high-protein foods tend to be more expensive foods, don't they?

This leads me to my point, which is to ask anyone who is reading this, especially anyone who has raised multiple sons without going through grocery-induced bankruptcy, how did you do it? What are the best kind of snacks for growing adolescent boys? (Preferably snacks that are easy and cheap and leap into the dishwasher when done. I'm all about the realistic expectations.) Please share with me any suggestions you may have, and if you know of a dairy and pickle farm for sale.

189 thoughts on “Dear People With Grown Sons: PLEASE HELP

  1. Merlene says:

    My son (he’s almost 15) started a growth spurt that’s been going on for 3 years and counting when he was 11. He is growing so quickly that I swear I can almost see the difference each day when he wakes up.
    When he’s not eating, he’s sleeping. Remember those growth spurts they go through as infants? It’s worse with teens –
    He’ll go through a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, or an entire box of Cheerios in a 24 hour period and that’s apart from regular meals. He’s tall, slim but constantly hungry so I can completely understand where you’re coming from.
    He loves things like hummus so having a constant supply of hummus and chopped up fresh veggies (cucumber, carrot, green pepper, carrot, celery) on hand to dip into the hummus and even some hard boiled eggs helps keep him happy without killing my grocery budget.
    If you buy dried chickpeas and make your own hummus it’s significantly less expensive than store bought hummus and it’s really easy to make and packs a protein and fibre punch that helps keep the munchies at bay for at least an hour or two πŸ˜‰
    And good luck with the dairy/pickle farm, LOL!

  2. SoCalLynn says:

    My best friend has three boys, now 13, 10 and 7. She says the same thing, they are always hungry and they eat A LOT! (They are all excellent athletes, so I’m sure this account for a lot of that.)This year, and last, she and her husband went in with another couple and they bought a side of beef. It’s much cheaper this way, per pound, but you have a big initial outlay of money.
    For breakfast, my husband and I have recently discovered Coach’s Oats, from Costco. It is the best oatmeal I have ever tasted, very nutty and chewy and delicious. I will never eat another kind of oatmeal, it’s that good. Anyway, I’ve noticed that when I have that for breakfast I feel full for a long time. Maybe you can try that?
    Best wishes!

  3. Leanne from Canada says:

    4 kids including 3 teenage boys later, I’m figuring it out. For us, a second fridge is a necessity so I can buy in bulk and stock up (less trips to the store means I spend less unneccesarily). I am able to buy 8 gallons of milk at a time (lasts us one week). For the boys…..pasta, pasta, pasta. Big bags of pasta(on sale)…and large bottles of Prego from Costco. Advantage….they can make it themselves (even for their late night midnight snacking needs), it fills them up and it doesn’t break the bank. They top it with grated cheese. I buy as much on sale as I can….so my week to week buying is based on the flyers for the week, not just want I want to buy. In our town a McGavins bread store has discount bread (and other stuff like bagels, tortillas etc.) that is close to date and very cheap….it gets tossed in the freezer for maximum freshness. I buy meat on sale and in bulk size and then portion it out before I freeze it. Have fun….these years are fun. Full of energy and vitality!! I wish I had half of their energy (and metabolism!!).

  4. Diana says:

    Honestly I think a bowl of cereal or PB&J sandwiches are fairly economical (if you buy cereal on sale or store brand)and healthy snacks that have some protein and substance to them so that it might stick with them for a while.

  5. Kayren says:

    You didn’t say, “Are they all yours?”
    On feisty days I would reply, “No, I just went around the neighborhood picking up kids because it’s so much more fun to take a bunch of little kids to the grocery store and Wal-Mart.” I’d smile when I said it.
    I wish I could do $75 a week. I even coupon, but I only use them for things I would normally buy anyway. I also menu-plan.
    We’ve started the human garbage disposal phase at our house. I haven’t really found anything special that sticks with them…they ARE just hungry.
    I’m going to B&N to check out that book while I’m out tonight. We’re eating out since it’s Hubby’s birthday!

  6. Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire says:

    Oh, I feel for you! I don’t have kids, but I work with the youth at my church. Teens can really pack it in! We have one boy who brings–no joke–a backpack full of food with him everywhere he goes. He posted on Facebook the other day about what he ate on a team trip in one day. It was unbelievable. I feel for his mama because their grocery bills must be HUGE.

  7. d says:

    I have no advice for you. I just went grocery shopping today and I am already wondering how long the food will hold out with my 3 boys. I try to keep a lot of granola bars and fruit around but its never enough.I am seriously considering turning my entire backyard into a garden just to feed my boys. I honestly wonder if when my boys are grown they’ll have memories of always being hungry.
    I’ll be watching the comments for some good ideas.

  8. Susan says:

    I also have 3 sons. The grocery bill is huge – you’d better buy that cow yesterday. Try giving BOTH protein & carb together…it will satisfy longer and is healthier. Mine like milk & dry cereal, oatmeal w/milk & fruit, and graham crackers and applesauce. My favorite, especially when hunger pangs hit right before bedtime, is a banana & glass of milk.
    Beans are a cheap protein; everyone tends to forget about beans. Also look for Quinoa (a high protein grain, kinda sorta like barley or rice but much smaller). Soups, stews and casseroles will be your best friends in the years to come.
    Good luck….and just think about how rich you’ll feel once they’ve finished growing and the grocery bill shrinks.

  9. Karen says:

    Teach them how to microwave a baked potato or a bowl of rice (some like it with soy sauce, and some like it with butter, salt, and pepper). PB & J is good. I also like to brown a bunch of ground beef (at least 2 lbs at a time), throw in 2 or 3 cans of drained black beans and 2 or 3 packets of taco seasoning, and keep tortillas on hand. They can also use the meat mixture to make nachos, which take longer to put together so they have less time to eat other things.
    And let me just tell you that teenage girls are not that much easier to feed. Their appetites can be astounding too.

  10. Karen B says:

    With 4 boys , youngest being 17…they eat all the time, it never ends, and they are not overweight, actually, I look at a couple of them and think they should eat more. It’s a hoot. My dad was the oldest of 4 and he says after they have kids their eating will slow down…lol. We buy 2 gallons of milk every DAY! and no sodas, but orange juice, grape juice, and cherry juice…nothing will fill them up and they get very creative.

  11. CousinJ says:

    I have the opposite problem:) My 6-year old eats pretty well but my almost 3-year old drinks the gallon of milk minus any solid food to speak of. So I have no useful hints except buy the industrial size everything at Sams:).

  12. Harmony says:

    Definitely coming back to this post to read the comments! My boys are 11, 8 and 6 and the 11 yr. old already eats more than his parents. A few more years and I’ll be where you are!

  13. Diane says:

    I have seen several comments that suggest the more complex carb snacks, like baked potatoes (usually with cheese – when my oldest son left for college, we dropped our cheese consumption by over 2 lbs a week) or popcorn. Boxed mac and cheese was also a popular snack, and yes, we went through mountains of oatmeal cookies. None of the boys ever had a weight problem until after college.

  14. Erin says:

    I’m terrified to read everyone’s experiences. I have 5 boys! (I will be checking back, though… forewarned is forearmed, I suppose)… Thanks for posting the question!

  15. AngelaVL says:

    I have two sons, 8 and 7, as well as two girls, 5 and 3. I am scared for my grocery future. My 8-year-old comes home from school searching for food. His coat is barely off and he’s in the pantry looking for a snack. I grew up in a house full of girls so this is very new to me. I will be bookmarking this for future reference!

  16. llama Momma says:

    My boys are 7, 7, and 3. There are days when I wonder what I got myself into. Last week I made meatloaf and had no leftovers. It scared me. I used to make meatloaf and we ate sandwiches for a week!
    People are posting great suggestions…I’ll keep checking back!

  17. Rebekka says:

    Boxed cereals are not that cheap, and teens can blow through them in no time. It’s much better to eat plain oats – you can eat them cold and raw, like cereal, with milk poured over. Raisins (or, gasp, sugar) can be added for people who think it’s too bland. The staying power on this is many multiples of regular boxed cereals, and it’s waaaaay cheaper. This may sound bizarre to Americans but many Scandinavians eat this every day for breakfast. (Try it before you knock it.)
    Another thing you could do is make your own muesli in giant batches, and give it to them over Greek yoghurt and maybe a little honey. The extra fat in the Greek yoghurt will keep them full longer and with metabolic machines like those kids, they’ll burn it off fast enough.

  18. AprilMay says:

    My boys are teens now and I am constantly at the grocery store! Crazy. I can’t even fit a week’s worth of food into one cart anymore. I make a lot of chex mix…I always have the ingredients on hand and it is a pretty healthy snack and they love it! Popcorn is a good one also.

  19. priscilla says:

    Since a box of cereal constitutes one breakfast for one child, we have switched to grits or oatmeal. It sticks with you longer, the sugars can be controlled and per serving costs much less.

  20. Sandra says:

    I have 3 sons, ages 20, 18, and 15. My oldest and my youngest eat a lot. My 18 year-old is the picky one and WILL NOT try any “weird stuff” for anything. He would rather eat junk. I have been known to hide food, just so that they could have something mid-week! If it’s something they like, they will eat it all in one day. Back in July, I was amused when they gave me a few stipulations on what to buy at the grocery store. You can read about it here Just remember, this too shall pass!

  21. Dorci says:

    My boys are 20 and 1 1/2 weeks from 18. I can never have enough food in the house. I started couponing when they were little and I still do it. We also keep a lot of Hot Pockets in the freezer. Costco is good for stocking up on frozen snacks they can heat up themselves. I also learned a long time ago that you can freeze gallons of milk. I buy at least 2 at a time, freeze one, and then when the one in the fridge is getting a little less then half full, I take the frozen one out, set it on the counter and thaw it. Works perfectly. I also keep lots of oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, cheese sticks, cans of chili, fruit and protein powder to mix with apple juice, bananas and frozen fruit to make smoothies. Vanilla yogurt’s a good mix-in, too. I know one day when they’re gone I really will miss coming home from spending $200.00 at the grocery store and hearing we have nothing to eat.

  22. *~Michelle~* says:

    I feel your pain, mama!
    I have three teenage boys and there usually is about 3-4 more at my house every night because apparently, we are the “cool” house. So having 4-5 6’2+ basketball players to feed is enough to cry the Bankruptcy Court!
    But you know what… much as I moan and groan about them wiping me out of two dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, a half pound of deli cheese and a gallon of OJ……I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    sorry I wasn’t much help……but I have a good feeling that your house is the “cool” house too!

  23. Hannah says:

    Beans. Beans are cheap and filling and healthy. Hard to beat that. Cheaper if you buy dry beans and cook them yourself, but canned beans work too. My husband will just eat a can of chili beans if he’s needing a snack.

  24. Holly says:

    I have a 19 YOG, 16.5 YOB, 13 YOG, 11.5 YOB, and 10 YOB. Let me first say that it is a lie that girls do not eat as much as boys because they eat a lot also. My oldest son hit a growth spurt when he was 11 and grew very tall and was so skinny you could see his ribs. He ate FOUR sandwiches for lunch EVERY DAY for over a year. Every day. During that time I bought a can Carnation Instant Breakfast for him to drink at breakfast to add extra nutritional calories. I also bought a can of protein shake powder for him. I then try to add fillers of baked potatoes,beans, pasta, rice, breads with meals. He played football his Sophomore year and I had Hungry Man meals and chicken pot pies and Hot Pockets that he ate when he came in after practice. That was a snack. He also loved the instant mashed potatoes as a snack sometimes or macaroni and cheese or rice/noodle roni. He would sometimes snack on cereal or grab slices of bread to eat between meals. I make up and freeze twice baked potatoes, burritos, and stuff for the kids to grab. My grocery bill for 7 is $600 a month. I don’t think that is too bad.

  25. Kellyn says:

    I have one boy, and the stories from him alone! During the summer I spent each sunday pre-cooking a TON of food. Pancakes, pasta, french toast, spaghetti and more. It was worth it though, he never complained about not having anything in the house.
    For snacks we do a ton of trail mix (made from home, much cheaper if you buy the stuff and mix it) and veggies. I am lucky that he isn’t a big sweets kid, but still!

  26. Gabreial says:

    I’m excited to hear this. I have two boys 8 and 4.5 and overnight their appetite doubled. A bagel or bowl of cereal used to do it for breakfast. Now they are one bagel and a bowl of cereal and on most days they could finish a whole box of cereal. I’m also like you, skinny healthy growing boys. We do as much organic and natural as possible, I cut out sugary juices a year ago and I’m too wondering how I’m going to do it.

  27. Jane Anne says:

    I love this post because I am going to be reading all of the comments and taking notes. My 3 boys are 8,6, and 4 right now. One day, not all that far from now, I will be in your shoes.

  28. Britiney says:

    I too am bookmarking this post for down the road. My boys are 9, 7 and 4. I know it’s coming. I may start searching for another job now, you know, proactively. :O)

  29. Tricia says:

    I have not read the other comments so forgive me if I restate something. I am the mother of 4. My boys are 15 & 18 and my girls are 12 & 10. The boys eat anything that does not eat them first and the 12 yog can hold her own.
    Protein, yes, is the best thing, but let’s be real here. Who can afford it? Give them some good protein for the saying power then let them fill up on the starches. They’re cheap and filing.
    For instance, Cheese tortillas (white flower & cheese, always a winner πŸ™‚
    Baked potatoes are a big hit around here and they can make one anytime they want. Yes, starchy potato, but they fill it with cheese and sour cream (protein).
    Also, rice. They can cook up a bowl of rice for a snack and throw some butter or soy sauce on it.
    Milk shakes are good too, but expensive.
    I’m sorry to tell you it does not get better. We’ve felt a little relieve as my teenager works at a cafeteria and gets to eat there and often brings food home so, whew! He’s not eating at home as much.
    Honestly I don’t remember what it’s like to have food in my house. I go the grocery store, spend $300 on food and in two days it all seems to be gone!

  30. Aunt Murry says:

    My brother – has 4 boys – he lived with me for a year so I got to feed them once and a while. I always had mac and cheese around and cereal. I would also try to make a couple of meat loafs and lasgna if I knew they were going to be there for the weekend. There was never any food left.

  31. AmberStar says:

    Our one and only son could out eat any four men at any given time. He learned that Ramen Noodles were good and he could have all he wanted of them before dinner. Our two girls weren’t quite as voracious, but still they were growing young women. Milk was a concern, as in keeping enough of it around and ice cream also. All the eating resulted in very tall children and they would have a growth spurt frequently. They are all very attractive children and are in their 40s. We only have one grandson, and I’m wondering if my son had more protien maybe we would have had more. But, I think not. His wife is a tiny bit older than he is and they really did try to have another, but God thought they had enough. My girls won’t have children now. They would have made great mothers, but the right guys didn’t come at the right time.
    Hang in there, sweetie. It only lasts a few years….the eating mania that is. I feel your pain and used to worry about it a lot, but it came out ok.

  32. AmberStar says:

    Oh yes…beans are good filler uppers,too. My oldest daughter stuns her friends by knowing how to cut a chicken into enough pieces for a good many people. That was just how I grew up and how a chicken should be cut up. Actually, it is a good skill to know and it marvels her friends. I used to be much more slender back then, too.

  33. Christine says:

    I have two little girls, so I’m not your target reader for this post HOWEVER, my DH was once a growing boy. And according to him, they’re going to get hungrier (sorry!). Unless of ocurse, you keep them out of high school sports! Ha! My brother was a football player and my mom had the same problem, but fortunately there was just one of him.
    DH’s family was definitely in the lower-middle class income range – money was extremely tight for them. And there he was, during Cross country season eating sometime 10,000 calories a day and thin as a rail. I can’t even fathom! But I know one thing my MiL did back then was, as you suggested, buy a cow. Not for milk though, and technically I think it was just half a cow πŸ˜‰ She bought it from the butcher, all butchered up. If you’re not beef people then that doesn’t help. But she says it saved her significant $$ feeding the family by buying in that kind of bulk. Not sure how practical it is, but I know that’s what she did. MAybe in OK that’s even easier and cheaper than here in SoCal. You may need to invest in an extra freezer, which may or may not help the situation.
    My mom also used to carb load my brother. Admittedly, protein sticks with them longer, but really, they’re instant energy converters! (Why can’t I be too!) Whole grain carbs are cheaper, can be purchased in much bulkier cheap quantities and are just turned into instant energy anyways right?
    And if all else fails that twin pack of peanut butter at CostCo is a pretty smokin’ deal!
    Good luck!

  34. Emily says:

    I have a different (but in some ways similar) problem: my kids don’t like to sit still long enough to eat enough, but then they’re always asking for snacks. So I try to feed them very filling meals in small doses, if that makes sense.
    The best thing I’ve found so far is oatmeal, cooked in whole milk (not water), with raisins. It gives them great fiber, carbs, protein, fat, and fruit. They stay full much longer and they like it! We usually sprinkle just a smidge of brown sugar over it, but with raisins you don’t really need it.

  35. Jeannette says:

    Send them to boarding school. πŸ™‚ (I’m only kidding. My parents did have to send my brothers to boarding school in high school due to limited education choices living overseas.) But, at boarding school, there was whatever the main “dish” was, but also lots of rice and lentils for hungry teenagers to fill up on. Good luck!

  36. Jennifer says:

    I only have one son (and three daughters and they can put it away too, I’m just saying) but considering he is 6’2″ 295# and in his words “ripped” I know about the crazy amount of food he can consume. Luckily he is in his first year of college (on a track scholarship for throwing) so I am hoping to buy a new vehicle with the grocery money I will be saving. Unfortunately I don’t have great tips other than he LOVES himself some peanut butter. I often get the question “What do you feed that kid?” The answer is always peanut butter. Out of habit the week after he left for college I bought a 2 pack of peanut butter just to get home and find we still had 2 jars in the cupboard. “oh that’s right Zack isn’t home”. I am thinking he could be snacking on worse things things.
    Good luck!

  37. Pokeyann says:

    All you can eat buffet! Make your own frozen burritos..easy to microwave and if you make your own beans even cheaper. I use brown rice, pinto beans, cheese and salsa, sometimes with shredded beef or pork if I found a roast on sale for a really good deal. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. PB&J on wheat bread is a great one to tie them over for an hour or two. Eggs of course. And if possible look into buying a side of beef or even a whole cow. Talk to the butcher’s and they can let you know when the best time of year is to buy. Another great advantage to this is you can have it packaged/butchered exactly how you want it. For me I like lots of ground hamburger and roasts. FYI this will take up most if not all of your freezer (assuming you have a separate freezer). Also milk freezes just fine, I buy 8 to 10 gallons at Sam’s Club and freeze half, takes about a day for them to unthaw on the counter, shake it and good as gold ready to go. Grow a garden if you are so inclined. After all you have a work force already built in ;). A simple garden will offer fresh veggies for pennies during your growing season. Squash/Zucchini and sausage was a favorite of ours. Canning fruits and tomatoes is another option to help reduce cost. Or check if any stores near you do case lot sales, you can stock up on staples/canned goods for decent prices this way. Here’s a simple recipe that we loved: Italian Sausage, Onion, Cream of Mushroom Soup; brown sausage and cook with onions, add soup, heat through. Serve over spaghetti. Use milk to thin the sauce and stretch it further. Which reminds me, add milk to scrambled eggs (before cooking) it helps it stretch further too. These are the things I remember off the top of my head from my growing years with 5 brothers, the shortest is 6’4″. I still can’t cook for under 8 people, to used to making enough for an army :). If you want actual recipes I’d be happy to email them to you.

  38. TrishNotChris says:

    My 9 year old eats like a horse and you can STILL see every rib so I am always on the lookout for snack ideas. I always stock up on yogurt, string cheese, crackers, bagels and flavored cream cheese. I also try to keep meat sticks (or jerky if it’s on sale)in the fridge which I pair with cheese/crackers. I try to buy filling cereals (we eat a alot of raisin bran)and whole wheat bread. I buy protein bars (Powerbar, etc) when they’re on sale. My son really likes fiber bars as well.
    We do lots and lots of trail mix (I find if you add just enough mini-chocolate chips, they’ll eat anything.) I make pumpkin/zucchini/strawberry bread and homemade granola bars. And popcorn…lots and lots and lots of air popped popcorn. Peanut butter is always your friend. I have also seen quite a few kids lately who’ve had Nutella in their lunches (I work at a grade school.) Carrots and onion dip…if you can stand their breath afterwards. Apples and smidge of apple dip (homemade or store bought.)
    Good luck! Hope this helps! God’s Blessings!

  39. momstheword says:

    My boys are 16 and 20 and although they are not super tall they are slender.
    My 20 year old drinks milk like it’s going out of style. I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go in on a cow together????
    My 16 year old snacks on carrots. Yup, carrots. He loooooves them and his eyesight is excellent, lol!
    For dinner I try to stretch the main dish. We have almost made sure that each person eats what is considered normal by nutritionists. In other words, we don’t want them to stretch their stomachs by overeating. It must be working because they never leave the table hungry. You can also stretch the meat by having extra servings of fruit or vegetables.
    They snack on cheese, carrots, apples, grapes (they looove grapes and I can barely keep ’em around), bananas, raw broccoli and cauliflower.
    We do have things like chips and crackers on occasion but they don’t really snack on them much so they go to waste (don’t know why, I thought kids loved chips).
    Oh, and popcorn. They love popcorn. So hubby makes it on the stove (from scratch) and then butters it and puts it in freezer bags and puts them in the cupboard. They like that too.
    I don’t limit any other foods other than meat, and I don’t even really “limit” that. It’s there if they want it, but after eating the fruit and/or vegies that they like, they don’t usually want a second piece. We encourage them to at least finish the fruit and vegies before having more meat. By then they’re full usually, so the meat can last another meal.
    However, things like lasagna or beef stroganoff and certain other meals never last. I often hope to make two meals out of it but they all like it so much they have seconds (and sometimes thirds if my 16 year old is really hungry)
    Oh, and college will be a piece of cake. My 20 year old is soooo busy that he rarely seems to eat. Or at least, he doesn’t eat as much. I am always trying to get him to eat breakfast but he just rushes out the door.

  40. Johanna says:

    Amen, ditto, and the like. My sons are only 6, 4, and 1, but already my 6 year old is eating more and more every day, so I am getting glimpses of what is to come. We have food allergies, so our snacks are not cheap at all! I have also considered the cow, but sadly we are not zoned for farm animals here in the city…I guess I’ll read through the other comments instead!

  41. Daiquiri says:

    I have a couple of thoughts:
    1. Don’t get a cow. I don’t think she could keep up!
    2. We already go through 5 gallons of milk per week, and my oldest is only 7. I’m afraid.
    3. An entire jar of pickles?!?
    4. As I said, my oldest is only 7, so I’m not the older and wiser parent you’re asking advice of. BUT…my first thought was FIBER. Bulk up those proteins with tons of fruits, veggies, and whole grains…’cuz you know…I hear teenage boys love that kind of stuff πŸ˜‰ Worth a try, maybe.
    5. An ENTIRE jar of pickles???!!!???

  42. Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers says:

    Yeah. Mom of four boys here with the same skinny build, hollow leg and hunger level as yours. Sometimes I say, “I give UP!” when it comes to keeping them all full. P.S. Saying that doesn’t help.
    One of their favorite snacks (SO EASY to make and mostly sorta healthy) is Peanut Butter Honey Fudge:
    It doesn’t really and truly taste like fudge but more like a peanut butter tootsie roll. I just called it fudge because well…saying the word “fudge” makes me oh so happy.

  43. Sharon (UnfinishedMom) says:

    My brother has two teenage sons – 16 & 18 – bottomless pits. His wife gave me these tips: protein for breakfast (often egg or sausage). She keeps well stocked on Kool-aid and uses Splenda with it instead of sugar. It’s cheaper than milk even if it is somewhat empty calories.

  44. Mary B says:

    Serve water instead of milk at meals so they eat more of the actual food. After a nighttinme snack insist the next trip to the kitchen be real food. One friend taught me to stock the freezer with frozen pizza’s but also extra mozzerella to make it more satisfying. Keep a dozen hardboiled eggs in the fridge at all times. Make oatmeal for breakfast — much cheaper than cold cereal. I also make quick breads for fast filling breakfast: oatmeal bread/zuccini/applesauce bread/etc

  45. Nana says:

    I second the cold oats with milk for cereal idea. My husband and oldest boy eat this for breakfast every single day. They add a little granola, vanilla yogurt and milk. LASTS.
    I also second the dry beans idea. Cook up a huge crock-pot full and then do this: puree them with chili powder, garlic, salt, cumin and maybe a splash of salsa. Voila! Bean dip that’s amazing. They’ll gobble it with corn chips, carrot sticks, tortillas, etc. Sometimes they melt cheese on it, too.
    Last thought: whole grains satisfy much longer than refined white flours. I buy whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc.

  46. sondra says:

    Boys are big eaters! I only had two boys but they ate for two boys apiece! We bought in bulk, cooked extra portions for meals, made a lot of snack bars and cookies as healthy as we could, shopped sales, and used coupons. Also, I made lots of casseroles. My sons loved to forage on leftovers.
    Just wait until they bring their friends over to eat! I think sometimes they just tried to out eat one another!

  47. Carolyn Fodel says:

    My 13 year old and almost 9 year old boy are already eating me out of house and home. I bought the fourth loaf of bread this week on my way home today. If I buy 12 bananas they are gone in a day. I buy cans of ravioli, mac & cheese, frozen waffles… I’m shopping for a bigger second freezer (my 2nd freezer is a small chest one right now).
    Summarize the best ideas later Shannon – great post!

  48. fern says:

    Pasta. My son would come home from high school and eat a pound of pasta for a snack (thank goodness he made it and cleaned up himself). Sometimes I buy it in bulk at Sam’s club, or I stock up when it is on sale.

  49. Jenn says:

    I already know I’m in trouble…my 2 yr. old son already puts away more food than I do at most meals! He can eat 3-4 pieces of pizza. And he’s TWO!!! We also have college foster kids (we “adopt” them so they have a home away from home during school). They’re all athletes and one of them IS a linebacker! I have to use 5-6lbs. of meat when I make meatballs (a favorite). I think the record is 21 meatballs!!! I’m scared what the future holds for our grocery budget! I told my husband he’s going to have to get a 3rd job by the time Jacob is in jr. high!!!
    I need to ask my mom how she did it…I have 2 older brothers and I remember them being bottom-less pits (and skiiiiny). And we had VERY little money growing up.
    Good luck!

  50. Marian says:

    I remember reading on a frugal mom’s site that she used to refuse to buy foods such as pretzels and popcorn, thinking them unnecessary, less nutritious calories and expense, in favor of “real” food and higher protein foods. She said that teen boys changed that mindset completely. She now considers pure FILLERS to have a rightful place in the diet and budget and, as long as you pay attention to price per ounce and choose wisely, economical. As a former teen anorexic myself, I do remember relying heavily on plain popcorn in the beginning because of the way it just fills you up and holds you over.
    ~ Mom to 4, including boys ages just-about-13, 10 and 6.

  51. Suzanne Temple says:

    My six boys eat so much already, even though the oldest isn’t more than eleven. It is amazing. I plan to use a trick I learned from a friend with older sons when their metabolisms really take off. She would buy a 50 pound bag of white rice every month. They could have that between meals, as much as they wanted. They could add cheese or seasonings, but that was all they could have between their very large and well balanced meals. It seemed to work for her…

  52. Brenda says:

    Mac n’ Cheese
    Tortillas n’ Cheese
    Eggs n’ Cheese (even cream cheese)
    Top Ramen with an egg swirled in at the end (like egg drop soup)
    Peanut butter ‘n celery, apples, bread, etc

  53. Chelsie says:

    Oh my goodness I have missed your posts. I have zero advice considering that I’m the mother of a daughter who is merely a year old, but I had to tell you that this post made me laugh right out loud!!!

  54. Superchikk says:

    My goodness, I need this advice too. My son is only 2 but he already eats 2 packages of instant oatmeal for breakfast and will down an entire (large) can of mandarin oranges if I let him. And as soon as he’s out of his chair from breakfast, he’s asking for a snack. Lord help me when he gets to the age of your boys!

  55. Superchikk says:

    I had a thought for you about college. By the time your oldest leaves for college, you can just take the money you were using to buy his groceries and put it toward his tuition. It should just about balance out!

  56. km says:

    I’ve been making my own burritos for the freezer. I crock-pot *refried* beans, then I mix them with cheese before filling the tortillas and wrapping them in foil. They freeze great…and I cook them in my toaster oven with the foil on…the tortilla is just a little crisp when the inside is perfectly hot. If I defrost them on the counter they cook for 5min. If frozen, it takes about 20min…but then it warms the whole house with the oven too. Perfect for a cold day. I know you can buy frozen burritos, but they have so much yucky stuff in them.
    I also make a loaf worth of PB&J then stick the sandwiches in ziplocks into the freezer. Like buying the uncrustables, but then my boys would need to eat 2. And this way I can use whole wheat bread and fruit spread.
    Those are both snacks the kids can fix themselves. Oh…and popcorn. That’s cheep.

  57. Suzanne Temple says:

    Oh, and smoothies with protein powder. My boys love those. Put powder, ice, yogurt, peanut butter, banana, whatever is in the pantry in the blender and mix it up. We make those quite often. The Abs Diet for Men is a good book for reference on protein rich foods, food choices for men, and portion sizes as well as exercise. I suppose this would apply to teens, too.

  58. Muddy says:

    My son is 17 and I can almost pin point the day he started eating me out of house and home. My daughter, 19 was not quite as bad, but her eating habits picked up there for a while too. They went from eating kid sized portions to eating as much as their father and I did-which meant we were now feeding four grown people. We had to basically add to our grocery budget to adjust to their food need.
    In all things, food and college, God provides-Amen

  59. alexsandra says:

    I had a girl…but she was into sports big time, so that meant big appetite. And I was a single mom (widowed) so the money had to stretch. So it was lots of beans! Our fav is white kidney beans, cooked with tomato puree. Add a little olive oil, garlic and red or green peppers. She would eat it every day. Sometimes I would add ground chicken. My other secret weapon was whole wheat kernels (sometimes called wheat berries). They are the wheat kernel before it is processed. I would cook them up and add them to any dish (pasta, soups, chili, etc) or even on their own with cinnamon sprinkled on it. She said this filled her up for hours. And it’s cheap too….She said the chewiness reminded her of meat!

  60. kris says:

    I have 8 boys and yes, we did go bankrupt. πŸ˜‰
    Just kidding.
    The older ones tend to snack on cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly, granola, chips and salsa. The granola and salsa are homemade and pretty easy and economical to make. They like bagels, too, but those seem to go extra fast around here. πŸ™‚

  61. Kari says:

    You just have to plan better. Like me. I will not ever have more than 2 teenagers (boy OR girl- they can eat too, but not for as long it seems) living in the house at the same time. I thought of that when I was planning my family. NOT! It just worked out that way.
    We keep a HUGE bag of pretzels for our oldest boy teen right now that he can snack on between meals. He makes grilled cheese, pancakes or occasionally scones. He just knows that those in-between meals are his responsibility to clean up.
    My soon to be teen next in line tends to eat a lot at meal time but not so much snacking…I can’t imagine what he’ll be like!
    Also, once they get jobs, they chip in for those in-between meals…

  62. Kari says:

    Me again…I also forgot…We give bulk food for Christmas gifts. Last year my hubby got an industrial size can of nacho cheese.
    I know of one family who’s son gets Omaha steaks delivered every year for his birthday from his grandma.

  63. Sara says:

    My oldest is going on 12 so no help from me! I have three boys. I am going to check into that book though! Thanks for sharing.
    We do grow a garden (all organic) so that helps. And I make my pickles! You can try that in your spare time πŸ™‚ And as far as the protein snacks go, I am in the same boat. The oldest is highly allergic to peanut butter.

  64. Denise says:

    I’ve found that snacks aren’t generally the best option, heartier eating tends to ease the snacking. Don’t buy snacks, buy ingredients that force them to make mini meals (does that make sense?)
    Also, a houseful of girls causes the same grocery problem in pre-teenhood and late-teenhood. It’s only mid-teenhood that you don’t have to deal with this (and then you wish you did.)

  65. Melissa@a long way from the Theta house says:

    Hey! I make breakfast tacos all the time, keep them in the refrigerator individually wrapped, and the boys zap them and eat them for snacks. We had a whole stinkin’ basketball team here the other day and they loved them.
    1 lb breakfast sausage
    18 eggs
    2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    taco seasoning
    Fresh tortillas
    Brown the sausage, drain. Scramble the eggs, add a little taco seasoning, mix with the sausage, add cheese and roll in tortillas. Wrap individually in foil and refrigerate. Makes 18.

  66. se7en says:

    This is the most terrifying post I have read in weeks… We just had our eighth kidlet and fifth boy… The thought of eight teens is a bit overwhelming!!! Luckily they are born small and we grow with them!!!

  67. Cheryl says:

    We have a big rice maker – all we have to do is pour in some rice and water and turn it on. The kids eat it plain, with some soy sauce or with milk and cinnamon sugar over it. I often do brown rice and never hear complaints. We have a popcorn maker for our basement that is a slightly smaller version of a professional one – it will make bowls and bowls of snacks in minutes – you can buy a HUGE bag of kernals at Sam’s Club for $15 and we use canola oil. We bought it last fall and have yet to run out. I figure that we will pay for our machine in about a year if I calculate the difference between that and microwave popcorn. We also buy bulk meat & pre-grated cheese at Sam’s Club. I bake a pack of chicken breasts and put them & hamburger meat on large ziplocs in the fridge/freezer for easy consumption with salads, wraps, nachos, tortillias etc.

  68. Melissa says:

    Hard boiled eggs are great. Also, make refried beans in the crockpot (beans are cheap) and add some taco seasoning to them. You can also mix in some ground beef if you want and some chopped onion. Buy the huge bulk bottle of salsa and let them make burritos. We also like hummus. Homemade it is pretty economical and there are tons of different flavors to try.
    Chili is also a meal that is pretty inexpensive per meal. Supplement it with french bread on the discount rack (I can usually get a huge loaf for 50 cents)b/c crackers can get expensive.
    Potatoes are also cheap. If you can make some sloppy joe (you can add beans to the beef to cut the fat and cost) freeze it in smaller portions and then they can top their potatoes with it and a little cheese. They also make fry cutters that you just slide over a potato and you have instant fries, just bake or deep fry and eat. I like to toss them in a little oil and put some Lawry’s seasoning on them and bake them. These can be eatten with sloppy joe or chili over top.
    When my husband and I were in college I used to make meatballs (buy the bulk sized bags on sale)with bbq sauce or marinara on them in the crockpot. Then I would split a loaf of french bread and make meatball subs. The frozen meatballs were cheaper on sale than bulk ground beef.

  69. canadacole says:

    I just want to commiserate. I have no helpful suggestions. I have 3 younger brothers and I’m still not sure how my mother survived. The amount of food those boys could put away….just….you had to see it to believe it. Give them a PB&J? Please! My oldest brother would come home from school, make an entire LOAF of PBJ’s, wash it down with half a gallon of milk, and then complain that he was still hungry until supper. Then he would eat two helpings of everything and ask my poor mother what else she had. My mom ended up rationing food and I’m pretty sure my brothers will tell you that they were hungry for a good 10 years. Good luck, and God bless.

  70. jolyn says:

    That comment about smoking was a joke, right?
    Cashews are a great filler, but a bit pricey… Maybe find them in bulk?
    My 14yo bakes brownies a few times a week. The cheap boxed or baggie kind. He’s a skinny-minny and eats well otherwise so I don’t worry about the sugar intake.
    No other ideas that aren’t already up above!

  71. Colette says:

    Ahhh… I have two boys, now 19 and 22. And they played sports. There’s no secret answer, as they eat whatever they want to based on what phase they are in. Some things my guys liked — yogurt (buy the big container), nuts (also big containers), fruit (especially bananas in my house), and meat (yes, I said meat) — I would get the super size packages of hot dogs — easy for them to heat up in microwave. One day my youngest actually made (and ate) and entire package of bacon as an afterschool snack. Don’t worry — they grow up and move away eventually.

  72. Molly B. says:

    I used to work full time, and bought lots of grab and go kinds of snacks, because the 6 o’clock hour was insane. Now that I cook and stay at home, I can watch exactly what they grab, and it’s not those snacks!
    Oatmeal for breakfast every day.
    Lots of lean protein (sliced turkey and whole wheat at lunch)
    Popcorn for after school
    Bananas and water before bed (x 3 or 4 glasses)
    Usually dinner can be three scrambled eggs and two grilled cheese sandwiches.
    So it’s a mixture of carbs and protein, like one comment above, and brands don’t matter. I’m all store-branded up, and it saves a ton. I try to avoid prepared foods, because the salt, sugar and additives keep them hungry, but the slow cooker roast that I did nothing to for 8 hours totally fills them up!
    Happy Cooking!

  73. Terri says:

    I remember that my brother used to eat whole sleeve of crackers and a whole can of tuna with mayo after school…that seemed to tide him over until dinner! πŸ˜‰

  74. Adriel says:

    I freeze containers of beans and rice (complete protein). We pop those out, warm them in the microwave and top them with cheese and salsa. Great between meal snack for growin’ boys—’cause if they are TRULY hungry, they’ll eat it. I also bake Ezekiel Bread and keep it on the counter. It’s another source of complete protein and “sits heavy.” Gotta fill up those empty legs! : )

  75. Erica says:

    I suggest bread, lots of bread. Growing up, my brother was an amazing vortex of consumption. He would eat an entire baguette on the car ride home from the grocery store. His nick name was “Bread Boy,” and, sheesh, did he have a hollow leg. I think anything with high carbs…bread, potatoes, rolls, biscuits, pasta. I think we have all been conditioned to think the “empty” calories of these carb sources with the excessive media attention on diet, weight, etc. However, growing boys need calories. And empty ones are cheaper. It sounds as if your boys are properly nourished, so some empty calories should do just that, fill the void, not supply them with vital nutrients. You can have them eat peanut butter sandwiches, with really filling, thick, wheaty bread. Have baguette chunks as a side dish, or make extra pasta or potatoes with your meal, that you, your daughter and husband can avoid, while the boys can fill up. Best of luck.

  76. Erica says:

    I have to add to my post above. After reading everyones posts, it looks like carbs are the answer. But I forgot about Ramen, rice and beans. So, ti summarize everyones suggestions: bread, ramen(goes on sale for $0.07), pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, all carbs, which are energy for growing boys.

  77. Viki Anderson says:

    Okay, I second the suggestions above. What I would suggest, is instead of making the 9×13 pan of casserole,lasagne, etc, go ahead and make a roaster pan (yes, the one you cook your T-giving turkey in) full.Make two of them. Freeze one, and when you are going to be gone take one out to thaw and they can nuke it. And I make really thick ones, so the pan is full. I have 3 boys and a girl. My youngest, at 14 is already 6 ft tall, and forever hungry. Another suggestion is getting the protein bars- Special K’s are pretty good- and combine with fatfree milk. They don’t need whole milk at that age, and keeping the milk skim kept my boys to 5 gallons a week. Cereal is expensive for us, they will each eat a whole box in one day…so multiply by three and that is NOT cost effective. Definitly lots of bean soup- if you slow cook ham in it, it goes farther- and serve over rice. Lots of stew/soups as well. And I hit every thrift market in town.

  78. Viki says:

    PS: another thing we do is buy beef and pork – half a side of beef, and a whole pig-keeps us in meat for about 8 months. We are lucky enough to live in a rural area, so I have chickens for eggs.

  79. Chelsea says:

    My mother-in-law raised two very skinny very starving boys, and her solution was to make them get jobs at Taco Bell. Seriously. She said their food bill got cut in half once the boys started working at a fast food chain where they got at least one meal a day for free.
    But I’d probably just buy peanut butter and bread in bulk.

  80. OKMom says:

    Yeah, I cooked for my three younger brothers at their bottomless pit stage, and all I can say is, instead of cooking for 3, you probably need to triple whatever recipe it is and cook for 9. Then you might have leftovers for later.
    Take care now.

  81. Lori says:

    I know the current advice is to give kids lowfat milk, but if they are in a growth spurt and craving the calories, why not switch back to whole milk? It generally costs the same and might hold off the next snacking urge longer.

  82. Tina says:

    My husband tells me of his teenage years when he would come home from school and eat a sleeve of Fig Newtons in one sitting. I remember eating 1 1/2 Whoppers when I was a teenage GIRL. I have two 8 year old boys, an 8 year old girl and a 6 year old girl and I dread what’s coming!

  83. Erica says:

    My husband tells stories about how much he and his brother ate when they were teens. Things like mayo sandwiches… Yuck. His mom put beans in everything to stretch the meals a little further. πŸ™‚

  84. Cris says:

    Yes, I remember buying 3 gallons of milk at a time. Things we bought lots of: Hot Pockets, frozen pizzas, bagels, PB&J, Oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, ice cream (he would make a cookies & cream shake in the middle of the night!), mac n cheese. I would make a box of Hamburger Helper and just store it in the fridge for him to parcel out and reheat as a snack when he got home. It would last a couple of days. Pound cake was also a good snack with a glass of milk. Boxes and boxes of cereal. I would but them on sale and in bulk. We always had 2-4 varieties on hand and it would be eaten dry or with milk. I know again, the milk.
    Good luck!

  85. Teri from Indiana says:

    Do you think this ends at the teen years?!?!? ROTFL…with you of course. Who am I kidding? I’m laughing at you. My sons are 33 yrs, 31 yrs, 24 yrs, 5 yrs. & 15 months. It never ever ends!! I bought bulk everything. Stock piled Michaelina’s frozen entrees. My one son would actually smooth out the skillet of chicken fried rice, draw a line in the middle with the serving spoon & put half of that skillet on his plate. I made homemade salsa and they fried up their own corn chips with tortillas I bought in bulk. To this day it’s one of the first comments when Son #2 walks in. “Got any salsa made Mom?”. They all love sugary snacks. I discovered a recipe for fried biscuits that made a large amount. While they were at school I would make them, freeze them. I had them on hand for suppers or until they discovered they could warm them up in the microwave and roll them in sugar & cinnamon for fresh pastries. I would love to tell you girls are so much better but they aren’t. I have 4 of those critters and they eat me out of house & home too. But here’s are some of the best tips I can give you: Plan on cooking for them, enjoy it and buy a freezer with a lock!

  86. Mary says:

    I have one 19 year old son who is a human garbage can…not overweight but never stops eating. I also grew up with six brothers who played sports year round. My mother made bread everyday, we had lots of pasta and fresh veggies. My mother also canned fruit and veggies as well. We had stews with beans and lots of homemade soup growing up. Good luck…

  87. Norma Lee Good says:

    Oh great. I was impressed with what my 18 month old can put down. I can’t begin to imagine what it will be like when there are MORE kids and bigger bellies to fill. BTW my mom and dad have 4 girls and they hated when people would assume they were trying to get a boy. I am new to blogland and love your site. Come by and see me!

  88. Christine says:

    We have four kiddos, three girls 12, 10, 7 and a 3-year old boy. Our son WAS drinking a gallon of milk every other day and then decided that he really liked his sisters’ soy milk (which is even more expensive). Growing girls will sometimes out eat the boys. With a family of six (and unpredictable economy), we’ve learned to really make a meal stretch. We buy hamburger in bulk tubes from Sam’s Club and I just separate it into freezer bags. I can make a pound of hamburger feed six people and usually have leftovers. In a large soup pot – Brown the meat with some seasoning, I use ground cumin, worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Then add chopped zucchini or squash or any combination, for my family I use two yellow squash and one medium zucchini. Add one (generic brand) can of chopped tomatoes and measure enough water to cover everything up and add the appropriate number of boullion cubes. Let the mixture boil and then simmer until veggies are tender, then add as much barley as you’d like for a filler (plus it’s a whole grain) and continue to simmer until the barley is done. You’ll have a very filling stew. I make mini cornbread muffins from scratch to serve with this. I learned that cooking “from scratch” is almost always cheeper than store bought. Our usual grocery bill for six is about $250 per month, we only eat out once or twice each month.
    I remember when we were growing up my mom would freeze gallons of milk, but you had to drink one glass out of it before you froze it because the jug would crack and then leak when it thawed. She would also stretch the milk out by keeping one cleaned empty gallon and filling it halfway with the new gallon and then filling the rest of both gallon jugs with powdered milk and water, sort of tasted like 1%. We later got a milking goat and chickens and ducks. You can almost get a gallon of milk from a goat every morning and several eggs. Duck eggs are denser than chicken eggs, make fluffier pancakes and are more filling. Not sure if you can start a smallish barnyard where you are, but good luck.

  89. Darla says:

    Thank you for the link the to the book! I just purchased it. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try some of her breakfast ideas – that’s where I fall short.
    Do you do sack lunches for your kids or do you buy school lunches?

  90. Roxie Meiske says:

    Boy can I relate to that one. Once I made a roast (after supper I made a roast for the NEXT day and put it into the fridge) The next day at work I was so happy thinking my supper was all most taken care of..All I had to do was make some potatoes and a veggie…well my then 16 year old son came home from school. Opened the fridge and saw my roast. He thought was a left over and ate the whole thing as a SNACK. A 4 pound roast as a snack.
    This boy usually ate 3-5 sandwiches for a snack after school. Then he ate a normal meal with the family and a snack before bed.
    He was skinny as a pole. (not any more I am sad to say)
    He is a nurse in a big hospital.

  91. leslie says:

    I have a 7 1/2 year old son that eats very very little. I am almost looking forward to the day when he EATS.
    When I went to college and my sister was in high school, we had an exchange student from Finland come live at our house. Jukka was a 16 year old hockey player. To say the least…my mother was unprepared.
    Good Luck!

  92. gretchen from lifenut says:

    I want a share in your dairy farm.
    My husband tells hair-raising stories about coming home from school when he was a teenager and eating entire frozen pizzas by himself. That will kill me with 5 boys. We already go through 6 gallons a week, which will be bumped to 7 when Archie starts whole milk in 2.5 months.
    It seems like we worry about boys eating too much and girls eating not enough. Parenthood is a nail-biter for sure.

  93. Lari says:

    Love the ideas in this post…I have 4 boys and a hungry hubby…My oldest is almost 13 and is my biggest eater. I’ve started trying to add more snacks w/ protein in them to help satisfy them a little longer. I will say though that they are not allowed to just “help themselves” to food…I would be out of stuff in no time and frankly my budget’s already stretched. I’m slightly scared of their teens…my hubby says he was never full when he was that age…

  94. Amber@theRunaMuck says:

    My three sons (5,3,and 2) already split a box of macaroni and cheese and eat a hotdog each for lunch, and then they’ll be starving an hour later. They already drink 3 gallons of milk a week!
    They have recently discovered tater tots, but that’s not a budget-aware purchase unless it’s from Sams, and it’s not so healthy either.
    It’s fun to me, though, to think about them growing and eating like crazy in my kitchen. It’s a sweet sweet thought.

  95. Adrienne says:

    Send them to a friend’s house for dinner? Ha ha! Only kidding!
    I don’t have kids, but I grew up with two brothers. I remember having to go shopping with my mom b/c she needed someone else to push the other buggy. Yes – TWO shopping carts! My brothers ate all the time and invented crazy combos of food too. Their favorite was peanut butter. We’d get the giant jars from Sam’s and they’d smear PB on anything from bread to fruit to just eating it off a spoon. Also, it was fairly common for them to eat leftover lasagna or spaghetti for breakfast while I had my bowl of cereal.
    More times than I can count we’d have dinner as a family around 5 p.m. and then at 7:30 or so my brother would ask my mom what was for dinner – he’d FORGOTTEN we ate!
    So, I suggest pasta breakfasts, PB, oh and those cheap frozen popcicles. The pops take a bit longer to eat. πŸ˜‰

  96. Joanne says:

    Isn’t it fun to watch them get up from the dinner table after eating a huge meal, then eat a bowl of cereal for “dessert?” And that was after 2 egg salad sandwiches after school and 1 protein shake. Before bed comes the nachos and the kid still can’t gain the weight to be bigger for lacrosse.
    I feel for you. My only son did grow nicely into adulthood. About once a week during lacrosse season he’d bring half the team over to watch the video I’d taped of the game and I’d have to feed them or else they’d find something to eat. I usually fried up a bunch of ground beef, mixed it with refried beans, salsa and tortillas. I made a lot of hot dips, cheese nacho type that they could eat. Not the healthiest, but filling and not so expensive.
    And I agree with others about the girls who can also out eat the boys-mine can too. Plus, the girls often bring their guy friends over the same way my son did and I’m forever feeding extras.

  97. Anne says:

    Having three older brothers growing up, I know they can pound the food. But I wanted to point out that just because they are skinny as teenagers, doesn’t mean the quality of food you choose to provide doesn’t matter. They’re establishing life-long eating habits and taste preferences so loading up on white rice, hot pockets, nacho cheese, and pretzels does a disservice to their health even if you can’t see the deleterious effects immediately. With 2/3 of American adults overweight, we know lots of the skinny kids people are raising will have weight issues later on and certainly diet-related health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
    Whole grains, beans, grapes, and nuts all have plenty of calories and staying power. πŸ™‚

  98. Janelle says:

    Thanks for the post! I need all the ideas I can get; my boys are 1, 3, 5, & 7 and my in-laws laugh and say (they had 4 boys as well) that during the teenage years they would go through a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk at dinner, in addition to dinner. But at least I won’t have to buy diapers and wipes and pay for childcare-my hope is that it evens out?!?!

  99. Sandee says:

    I’ve already survived this. My boys (ha) are 21 and 24. If you buy in bulk, they will eat in bulk. I would double whatever I cooked for dinner. My frigerator always contained lots of leftovers. Chicken was a big hit because you can do alot with leftover chicken. I always had fixin’s for salad. Lots of cheese. Wraps. Yogurt. Fruit. Veggies. Oatmeal. You never have to worry about anything going stale!! Good Luck and enjoy them, the time will go by quickly.

  100. Cherissa says:

    Are you guys members of Sam’s Club? We’ve found that a gallon of milk at Sam’s Club is consistently at least $1 less per gallon than at other grocery stores. This savings alone can really add up over a year if you are drinking a lot of milk in your household.
    Also, do you “stockpile?” Whenever you see a great deal (like the lead loss items in your grocer’s sales circular) on a non-perishable item that is a staple in your family’s diet (like peanut butter, or cereal, or canned goods….), stock up. It will save you from paying the regular price every time you run out of that item in your pantry.
    I know it’s not for everyone, but couponing has saved my family TONS of money over the past two years. It’s definitely a way to build your stockpile for cheap.
    Good luck with those growing boys!! They are blessed to have such a good mom who works hard to keep their bellies full!

  101. susan says:

    3 boys here, and I’m going through the same thing. My one son, drinks a gallon of milk a day. The other son, drinks a gallon of ice tea a day. My 3rd son will drink anything there is. lol I couldnt tell you the boxes of cereal we go through in a week. I’m constantly going to the store to stock back up.
    Also looking for some suggestions…:)

  102. Monica says:

    Make them buy their own food…..My 18yo son (6′ 2″ and 285 lbs. but now two months later 6′ 3″) just went to college and ate through his first week’s meal ticket in two and a half days. He is now eating breakfast in the dorm and some meals. He’s learning very quickly what food is filling and cheap. He’s also coming home more often for weekends. HMM I wonder why.
    I agree that whole grains are more filling. Squish a white loaf of bread while it’s in the bag and see how much flour is really in there; the rest is air. A protein and carb mix is really what keeps you full. Carbs are fast burners and protein takes awhile.

  103. Pam B says:

    Well, I’m not sure I have much more to add than what’s already been mentioned, but here goes..I too, have 3 boys ages 20, 17, 16 and a girl 9. OUR LIVES REVOLVE AROUND FOOD or so it seems….Breakfast – snack – lunch – snack – after school snack – dinner – snack. And those snacks are dinners to most people. I have found that CHEESE helps a lot….think quesadilla and nachos – grab cheese at bulk food store and shred yourself then all you need are chips and tortillas. Also soft pretzels (I’m from around Philly so I’m not sure you are able to relate) seem to fill them and yes, dip in cheese to get the protein. I boil my own elbow pasta and sprinkle grated cheese on top and it’s more filling and cheaper than the boxed mac and cheese. Also, I think I’ve made every single recipe that includes ground beef – it’s cheap and satisfies them!
    Good luck.

  104. Mike and Lisa says:

    Well, we have 4 boys. I can relate. It’s only funny because I was one of 4 boys growing up. Not funny in the sense that we can go through a loaf of bread in one lunch setting. We use coupons, we go to Aldi, etc… but yeah, we’re broke. My wife tried skimping at first with the meats but that didn’t work as we just ended up feeding them an hour or two later. We have found the crock pot to be our best friend. Chicken Pot Pie casseroles and Shephard’s Pie will also feed alot on the cheap. We tried gardening veggies but who has time when you have 4 boys that can destroy a house in the time it takes you to water the garden. The real problem is when they have friends over. The other day, I took the 4 boys for a bike ride and next thing you know they had friends tagging along and 4 became 8. WOuld it be ok just to tell their friends we don’t eat, we have no food πŸ˜‰ It does help to pawn them off to their frineds families for sleepovers, etc…

  105. Cindy says:

    I have a 17 year old, 6’3″ 180lb. son. I keep peanut butter, jelly, multiple loaves of bread (sale & coupons of course), milk & bananas from Costco or Aldi (cheap), and chicken bakes from Costco. He eats a PB&J sandwich after breakfast on the way to school, after football practice, and right before he goes to bead. The chicken bakes he eats after dinner and the bananas are anytime. He also drinks protein drinks or shakes in the am and pm. Most of the items are pretty inexpensive so I don’t mind it that much. He does like turkey, cheese melt on a hoagie roll. The turkey is a pretty good price at Costco as well. It’s amazing how much they consume. I go nuts with 3.

  106. Jenny says:

    I am so glad that today has enough worries of its own, because otherwise I could REALLY start being concerned about this now. I’ve also got a healthy eating toddler for a son and hadn’t even thought about what it will be like in 10 years (though I remember my brothers, so it’s not hard to imagine).
    My brother would eat an entire loaf of bread made into peanut butter sandwiches everyday during swim season.

  107. Nancy says:

    Protein Shakes will help with in-between meals – get one with Whey-Protien that is high in Protien at least 20 or more grams. The higher the protien the longer the burn inside which means they will not be hungry as often. They can mix this with water or milk (I prefer milk).
    Give them high protein grazing items – Chicken, Turkey, Hard-boiled eggs, and also good fat sources such as nuts. I used to cook up several baked potatos and sweet potatos and keep them in the frigde for heating and eating. I would also cook up several burritos for lunch and breakfast and freeze that had beef and refried beans (good source of protein).
    My 13 year old nephew is over 6 ft tall and is a walking garbage disposal.
    I have to laugh because I used to get that with my sons all the time – just could not keep them satisfied because their metabolism is off the chart at this age.
    My husband is still a hungry man all the time – when I ask if he is hungry he just answers, I’m always hungry.

  108. Michelle says:

    I have 5 boys, ages 19, 17, 15, 15, and 13 (and all their friends. Let me tell you – I think the entire football team was here last night). They are like a pack of wild animals. Dinner time is an eat-or-be-eaten feeding frenzy. I’ve considered limiting their caloric intake in the hopes of draining them of the energy they need to fight and wrestle and knock things over. That’s a whole other post, right?
    For breakfast, I start steel cut oats in the crockpots the night before (I have 2). They add milk and raisins or applesauce (and probably sugar when I’m not looking). Or I’ll make scrambled eggs (2 dozen for all of us) and toast (they can blow through a whole loaf). Baked oatmeal works, too, both as breakfast and as an after school snack. A big pot of rice pudding with raisins makes a good, cheap, snack, too.
    Canned beans are a life saver. They’ll eat them straight from the can, and they’d probably eat the can like a bunch of billy goats if I let them. Baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes with cheese and bacon, whole grain pasta, bean burritos, bagels, bread, bread, bread. I bake our bread (in a bread machine) because they eat so much of it. I make a massive batch of bean burritos and freeze them. I also make home made hot pockets and freeze them.
    I don’t buy “snack” food like chips, soda, juice, etc. because A) they don’t last half an hour in this house and B) those are empty calories that will be burned up in one wrestling match (see above) and need to be replaced. They get milk or water to drink (not because I have a problem with soda, I just can’t afford to buy milk AND other beverages. Except my wine. I NEED my wine.). I used to make sun tea, but they just want to dump a pound of sugar in it, so I quit.
    I try to focus on quality foods: whole grains, high fibre, no fillers, “real” food. Because that stuff seems to keep them fuller, longer. I learned to cook just about anything and everything from scratch. There is no way I could afford to order out for pizza, so we make our own. When they started eating 2+ loaves of bread a day, I wasn’t willing to compromise and buy the cheap, white bread, so I learned to make whole wheat bread at home. All the boys and their father hunt, so we have plenty of venison, and turkey in the freezer.
    Can I share something funny? I was watching a commercial for Totinos’ Pizza Rolls (or whatever the name of those things are) and all these boys come into a house (they were the soccer team or something) and the mom pulls out ONE BOX of these pizza rolls and everyone cheers. If I were faced with a house full of teenage boys and I pulled out ONE box of pizza rolls and said “here’s your snack”…it would be a riot. I just had to laugh when I saw that commercial.
    I have a very frazzled life right now, but it’s such a happy life. Yes, I must say once a day “I can’t have anything nice, can I?”, but until you’ve raised a pack of boys, you just can’t understand the fun, the joy, the excitement and the pride you get from watching them grow.

  109. Calee says:

    As soon as the 1st is a teenager who can get a job (age depends on where you live) make sure he gets work at someplace where he gets free/cheap food. Pizza place, McDonalds etc. It’s how my mother in law swears she was able to feed my husband as he was growing up.
    Good luck!

  110. Katherine Cherry says:

    Potatoes potatoes and more potatoes!!!
    Beans beans and more beans!!!
    Spagetti spagetti and more spagetti
    cheap, filling, and with a little bread, meat, and veggies it will make a boy full for at least a couple of hours!
    I married a 340 lb 6′ 4” linebacker… i was shocked at the consumption and i am praying for short girls!
    also consider talking at least one boy into getting a job at a supermarket… most positions come with some type of discount for his family~ money for him, discount for you! win-win

  111. Audra says:

    This information is awesome. My husband and I don’t have any kids at the moment but are looking to adopt 4 boys between the ages of 5-11. I am glad to find this because I would have NO IDEA what to do starting off with incredibly hungry eaters. Thanks.

  112. Jerri says:

    I have 8 sons and 5 daughters and most of the time the boys do out eat the girls, but it depends on what is being served. The boys growth spurts do not last forever, though it sometimes seems that way. I have just had to store more food to have on hand, plan that our dinners will probably have at least enough to feed everyone and have some leftover for the next day (lunch usually, as we home educate), we mostly drink water (it’s cheap and therefore you can buy more food!), milk is only for on cereal/oatmeal (no need for a cow – we use about a gallon to a gallon and a half a day), shop sales and use coupons, stock up whenever meat/chicken is on sale, second frig and a full size freezer, and use a higher ratio of meat or chicken in recipes than is called for (in recipes like casseroles, etc.). Currently, for a typical meal I use 4-5 lbs of meat/chicken per recipe… if we make hamburgers or meatloaf, bump that up to 6 lbs. A roast will need to be about 6 lbs to feed all of us. Oh, and that is with ONLY 11 kids at home (one is married and another is on his own). The youngest is 11 months and doesn’t eat a lot of table food yet, so those amounts may go up again! LOL!

  113. Renee says:

    What I have found:
    – Oatmeal in canisters- can switch up with different mixings
    – Boxes of Cream of Wheat
    – Pasta and lots of it! Smart taste has protein in it I belive and is delish!
    – Peanuts, andy kind of bulk nuts
    – Rice
    – Raisins
    – Animal crackers
    – Tortilla chips (can put chips and put under broiler for nachos)
    – Water
    – Homemade ice tea
    – Peanut butter
    – Salted saltines
    – Make your own bread or buy at discount store if you have one.
    – I buy whole chickens and beef roasts so I can have a few meals out of one chicken or one cut of beef.
    – Cereal if it’s $1.00 a box or under:)
    Thats what I got and have used. HTH Renee- Mama to four 15,7,5,and 3 yrs.

  114. Tammy says:

    I feel your pain. We have six kids: three boys and three girls; our youngest is nine years old.
    Milk rationing! I freeze our milk to slow the consumption; they can’t drink it frozen! πŸ™‚ A new gallon of milk is brought out each evening and set in the sink to thaw overnight.
    I LOVE all the other ideas posted! It’s great to encourage and inspire one another. Thanks for the opportunity. πŸ™‚

  115. Frugal JD says:

    At my son’s 2 week checkup, he had gained three pounds (no that is not a typo). The pediatrician looked at me and said “marry rich or become a lawyer”. I went to law school. My son started eating more than his father and I at 2!
    He’s 13 now and almost 6 feet tall. He refuses to eat cheese (unless on pizza). We make homemade pizzas, steel cut oatmeal, refried bean burritos, lots of soup and crockpot meals, always keep fruit on hand . . .high fiber and whole grain bread really help keep them full. Oh, I can relate to the grocery list. He started calling me when he knew I was driving home from work when he was 9 with grocery lists! I have only one because I like to eat also (single mom). His dad actually wants to move to Portland, OR so that he can buy a cow because I normally hit Costco 2-3 times a week to buy 2 gallons of milk each time!
    I have three older brothers so, I kind of understand but, it doesn’t really hit you until you pay for the groceries!
    By the way, I love your blog.
    Frugal JD

  116. Amanda says:

    coupon,coupon then coupon some more:)
    I have a 16 year old who also does cross country and track for his high school. With all the running he does he needs to eat around 5000 calories a day .
    I keep all the items for nachos on hand (beans,cheese,tomatoes, etc……) That way when his friends come over they can make a big plate of nachos. I also make chili beans which we serve over baked potatoes with cheese. Make homemade burritos then freeze so they can be at the ready for snack time. I also make oatmeal cookies which we then put peanut butter between serve with milk. I also make yogurt and fruit smoothies.
    You really have to be creative when feeding growing boys when you need to stick to a budget. My son comes with friends that eat just as much as he does, I’ve seen 6 dozen cookies go just while I was serving milk.

  117. Mr. Ha says:

    My wife reads your blog (she’s over at Coming from a house of brothers, and as a father of a growing son, I thought I’d offer some insight.
    In no particular order:
    * Baked potatoes. Make 25 of them at a time in the oven. Stick them in the fridge and let the boys microwave them. A little butter and salt, sour cream, etc. Fast snack.
    * Chili. Make a huge, and I mean huge, pot. Tons of beans and cheap ground beef or even chicken. Fridge or freeze it. A bit of cheese and you are good to go. Extra hungry? Dump that chili on a baked potato.
    * Oatmeal. Massive bowls of oatmeal. Raisins, brown sugar, etc. Quaker Oats or even steel cut oats. Add nuts, whatever. If milk is an issue, make it with water and add half and half on top. Nice mouth feel that way.
    * Eggs. Have a ton of hard boiled in the fridge. Scrambled for breakfast. Eggs are cheap. Can’t go wrong.
    * Protein powder. We have a giant vat of vanilla whey protein in the cupboard. You can buy it at GNC or Whole Foods. It is pricey, but you use it a scoop at a time. Add it to fruit drinks, smoothies, even oatmeal.
    * Speaking of smoothies. Frozen fruit (freeze fruit that starts to get overripe), some milk, vanilla splash, raw egg, protein powder scoop. Blend. Done.
    * Red beans and rice. Find a great recipe. Make big quantities. Help yourself, boys.
    * Pasta. Cook a ton of pasta. Bag it in portions (big ones). Make your own sauce. My wife has a good recipe. Either freeze pre-sauced portions, or fridge the bag of plain cooked pasta. Grab a bowl, add some sauce, nuke it.
    * Serve everything with rice or potatoes. Flank steak + veggie + two baked potatoes. Stir fry? Massive pile of rice. Massive. Here’s the soy sauce, boys. Have at it. Brown rice too.
    * Homemade mac and cheese. Huge pans of it. Huge. Huge.
    * Homemade pancakes and waffles. Stacks and stacks. And stacks. And stacks. Freeze them with wax paper in between and toast them.
    I can’t say enough that you should consider 2x to 3x the “normal” sizing of your cooking. Go big like a buffet restaurant. You might need new pots. You might need to buy a second fridge at Goodwill and stick it in the garage.
    Having experienced this phenom first hand, you can’t underestimate their hunger. Especially if they are active boys. The boys have man-sized bellies and are burning calories at 3x – 5x the rate of a grown man.
    Hope that helps.

  118. Janet says:

    Oatmeal, nuts, apples are all great things to keep around!
    I make nachos from tostados place refried beans on top and cheese.
    Serve steak once time per week.
    Pretzels for the crunch snack !
    I also made homemade soup one day per week for after school snack and mini muffins. Homemade soup with corn bread muffins
    spice cake made into mini muffins or a chocolate cake mix made into mini muffins. One .88 cent cake mix makes a ton of mini muffins. One batch of homemade soup goes a long way.

  119. Julie says:

    The Nourishing Gourmet has been sponsoring a weekly “Pennywise Platter”
    Lots of good recipes/ideas there. Look under her label “Nourishing Frugal Recipes.”
    We LOVE this recipe for baked oatmeal:
    I make 2 (9x13pans) a week, one with chocolate chips and one with apples/raisins. When I eat a 3x3inch square in the morning and I am FULL till past noon. My husband eats a bit larger square but it also fills him – he works out 4x’s/wk and can pack away the food, too.

  120. Sam says:

    You guys are freaking me out! I have three boys (and have heard every last one of those grocery store comments). Ugh. Age 6, 4, and 2. Right now I just want everybody to be out of diapers. I’m just looking to survive the day.

  121. Laura says:

    Growing up, I remember watching my brother eat a bowl of soup, 3 sandwiches and a head of lettuce while he was waiting for supper. Like, daily.
    My mom used to make vats of chili, spaghetti sauce, navy bean soup or vegetable soup. When one ran out, she made the next one, and pretty much just rotated through those four over and over. We’ eat some for supper one night, and my brother would polish off the rest of it in a day or two.
    Yike! I hope that helps some. Maybe have them eat those with brown rice or quinoa? Quinoa is fairly affordable if you buy it in bulk, and it’s a complete protein.
    Oh, and peanut butter. Lotsa.

  122. Angie says:

    So funny. I remember when my brother was in this stage my parents said “they weren’t trying to fill him up, just keep him from starving from one meal to the next”. Good luck!

  123. Annie says:

    Great ideas here!
    I have six boys (20,17,13, 8,6,3) and three girls. I rarely buy cereal or “snack” foods because we can blow through it in minutes. We have always reconstituted powdered milk–so they don’t have a problem guzzling that down at a rate of about 2 gallons a day. My older boys snack primarily on leftovers and fruits. When I fix supper each night, I fix it with an eye toward plenty of healthy leftovers. They fill up with hearty soups, chili, stews, enchilada, beans, usually with homemade wholegrain muffins (I usually make 24-36 at a time) biscuits or bread. For sweets we make usally make a double batch of cookies each week and we have enough birthdays, that a cake is baked about once a month–and ice cream from time to time–gone in a flash. We don’t buy pop except for special occasions–they drink water, milk, or iced tea.

  124. michelle says:

    I have 4 boys and 3 girls…my boys like to eat too (only 1 is a teenager so far), but I have found that if I buy less convenience type snacks and stick with homemade they eat less. Especially if they run out of my homemade snacks and have to make something for themselves. Constant snacking seems to make people more hungry. It is good for them to learn to control their appetites, so that later they do not have weight problems and huge food bills! Just because they are skinnny now does not mean they always will be…too much eating will catch up with them.

  125. Annie says:

    Oh, I forgot. Teach them how to cook “real food” for themselves before they turn twelve. That way, if they are really hungry–they can whip something up for themselves–it doesn’t take long to throw together huevos rancheros–corn tortilla, beans, a little shredded cheddar with an egg on top covered with red chile–MMMmmm. Protein, fiber, carbs and spicy flavor in a five minute dish.

  126. Leah says:

    Just wanted to say – I feel for ya. I do not have 3 eating machines in my house right now…but my girl can polish off a huge jar of pickles and a gallon of milk in 1 day. And she’s tiny! Were talking 4 foot 10 inches and so skinny you can just about see through her! At 19! So, my point is, you got alot of sisters out here that get what your talking about, even if the details are a bit different πŸ™‚

  127. Carol says:

    I have 7 children, 2 girls, 5 boys. πŸ™‚ I only have three kids home at the moment with the 2 middle boys at college for the winter.
    To afford feeding them all takes time and LOTS of cooking. We have a full sized freezer and 2 fridges. I buy at Sam’s, Aldi, and the Bread Store.
    When all 7 were home I was cooking all the time. At one point I started the once a month freezer plan and that REALLY helped! We also made lots of basic things that are cheap, like real oatmeal ( can be made in the crockpot or even in a thermos over night!) eggs! My boys LOVE eggs- scrambled with veggies anytime night or day as a snack. Hard boiled eggs went fast as do deviled eggs. Protein seems to satisfy them longer in the teen years too. Good old peanut butter. πŸ™‚ Lots of Mexican style dishes with beans and SOUPS!!! My boys all loved soups and they are so easy and cheap to make as well as useful for using up those little bits of left overs. We used to make lots of bread in the bread maker too. Bake lots of cookies using very filling ingredients as well as heavy muffins and quick breads.
    It really comes down to making it all yourself, not buying any prepared foods and staying away from the expensive and unhealthy snacks.
    It was not at all unusual to call kids to supper and suddenly find 10 almost grown men in my kitchen wanting to eat!!! I finally had to put a stop to that. πŸ˜‰
    I am embarrassed to admit,but my boys also love to eat hot dogs as a snack. We have an indoor grill now, but before that, they would use one of those George Foreman grills to make a bunch.
    One other tip, is try to have supper ready as soon as possible upon them coming home from school. I think that having a big meal right away stops a lot of the snacking and seems to satisfy them much longer then a snack after school, then supper. I don’t know why this work, it just seems to. πŸ™‚

  128. Carol says:
    I lived at this site! I still use it because the MYO mixes are BETTER then the ones you buy at the store and you can totally control the types of fats, amounts of sugar and other additives you may not want in your food. πŸ™‚ I loved their Bisquick recipe! All the convenience, a fraction of the cost and healthier ingredients to boot!

  129. laura says:

    dont know the answer and being the mother of FOUR voracious, bottomless pits, size 0 teenaged DAUGHTERS can i just say, oh newbie mom of teenagers, it aint just the boys!

  130. Kris says:

    So true. My aunt raised 6 boys (only an 11 year spread in ages)–all tall, athletic and eternally thin (no matter how much they consumed). I ate a lot as a “tall, skinny” teen, but it was nothing compared to what they could consume. Their family survived, but there were no fancy vacations anywhere… unless the grocery store counts! Breakfasts were dozens of scrambled eggs, loaves of peanut butter toast,(cheap/local/in season) fruit, and gallons of milk. For dinner, my aunt used to cook a lot of casseroles with meat, pasta, beans, and veges. Seasoning would vary, but the staples were the same–protein, protein, protein and healthy fillers. The big advantage to the casserole, is that it can be readily reheated (by the boys) after school, or whenever for a snack. That is provided you make several extra pans of the stuff. Best of luck to you and yours!

  131. Leighann Marquiss says:

    i agree with all the fiber comments. i have a fast metabolism and find if i don’t eat a cereal with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving i am hungry an hour later. i’ve also heard popcorn and celery are excellent fillers. beans or lentils with rice are a perfect combo of protein and filber. good luck!

  132. AmyW says:

    I have 3 teenage boys. We go through a gallon of milk a day. I buy 3-4 gallons at a time and store them in an extra frig, in the garage. If orange juice is on sale, I’ll buy a couple of gallons.
    Anything they can fix for themselves is my motto. I keep tortilla shells in stock. They will take shredded cheese and salsa and make their own “grilled” sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good snacks. I buy peanut butter on sale with coupons and have several jars stockpiled. I try to make my own jelly. One of my boys loves bagels and will eat them as snacks.
    I’ve also learned to make extra helpings for dinner. That way they can heat up the leftovers….taco meat, spaghetti sauce, etc.
    For breakfast I’ll make extra waffles and pancakes and freeze them. I’m experimenting right now with my own “hashbrown/sausage/egg” mix. I’ve frozen several bags of homemade hashbrowns with sausage. I’m hoping I can re-heat it and then add a scrambled egg to the mix. We’ll see. The potatoes may fall apart when they are re-heated. I’ve also started making extra gravy and freezing it. I thaw it out overnight in the frig. and then re-heat it in the morning. So far no one has complained about the “re-heated” gravy.
    They are also learning how to make their own brownies and cookies. They’ll get in the kitchen a couple of times a week and make dessert.
    Good luck. I’ve yet to figure out how to keep them full. There is always someone in the kitchen scratching around for something to eat. ALWAYS….

  133. Debbie says:

    I have four sons, now ages 27 to 15. When they were all home my oldest would open the refrigerator and pull out leftover vegetables to eat he was so hungry for a snack. We always have a garden and can/freeze all we are able to. I would bake and freeze muffins, cookies, etc. The rule was you had to have a snack of fruit, vege, bread, pasta, eggs, peanut butter or cereal. We managed to keep our grocery bill to $50 a week. Eating between meals didn’t happen much so they ate their fill at the table. The youngest is now all that is home but is 6’3″. He inhales food. Be sure there is some protein, it can be in bean form to help fill them up. Potatoes are great too.

  134. Lisa says:

    I’m in the same boat! Here are the things that keep my son “alive” between meals: homemade refried bean/brown rice burritos [freeze them, heat up in microwave]. Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches or PBJ or grilled cheese –whole grain bread helps fill him up a lot! Hardboiled eggs [but he usually eats like 4 at a time!], bran muffins w/cream cheese in them and homemade cookies, brownies etc. And, whatever work meeting leftovers I drag home!!

  135. erin w says:

    i have a 14 month old daughter. I mean, she loves to eat, as does her dad, but i’m not where you all are yet.
    However. when i was growing up, the year i left the house at 18 for college, i had 3 brothers and a sister living at home, i was the oldest, two natural brothers and two foster kids, so the ages clustered up. anyway, when i was 18 i had brothers 17, 16 and 13 and a 16 year old sister. They all played multiple sports. as in, all of the sports our school offered. I think we almost ate them out of house and home
    my mother shopped at Aldi, a bread outlet near our house(nearly outdated stuff, went in the freezer) and amelia’s (like the bread outlet but for all kinds of near outdated food) most proteins were mixed with rice or beans, ie chili beans with beef, or chicken and rice casserole. we had oatmeal a lot for breakfast or eggs. bagels. we had a big chest freezer and two refridgerators. she alway struggled with making the grocery bill stretch, she stayed home with us until i was 15 or so. i don’t remember her using coupons much, and after i had my license she would have me go shopping with her list sometimes.
    anyway, hope that helps from another point of view : )

  136. Queen of the Click says:

    I am the youngest and only girl in my family with three older brothers. My brothers are 6’7″, 6’5″ and the other is short at 6 foot.
    My mother sent me to the store almost every day. My Mom should have brought a cow.
    My mother made meals that were hearty to fill everyone: lasagna, meatballs and spaghetti, caseroles (peas, macaroni, Campbell’s mushroom soup) or (chop meat, sauce, macaroni, corn) and pork chops.
    Each week she baked 2 plain cakes – no frosting so they could snack. Also bananas, apples and oranges were bought in large quanities.

  137. Julie Cole says:

    I know you already have SO MANY comments….I am the mother of 6 boys – 25 to 6 years old. They all come from my body. They all EAT like crazy. Yes, there are periods when they eat more. I think it funny. I shouldn’t, it’s not like we have tons of money. I had received the comment many times about just buying the cow. I used to buy 10 gallons of milk at a time.
    Honestly, the best you can do is JUST ENJOY the time while you have them. Them are precious. Enjoy, feed them, teach them well. OH, I have one daughter too. I feel lucky for each one.

  138. Janice says:

    My teenage sons used to each take 18 PB&J’s everyday to take to school. The sandwiches were to keep them until lunch and they would save a few to make it through the rest of the day until they could get home and each eat a family size pizza and then fall asleep until dinner, where they would eat seconds, thirds and fourths. They would polish off a bag of oranges and a bag of apples in one day as well. Breakfast would be 2 bowls of oatmeal, 6 eggs eacd, 3 bananas each, half gallon of oj, half gallon of milk and a dozen pancakes each.No wonder my husband left me! It couldn’t have been the hysterical 15 year twin daughters added into the mix? How was that my life? I had to work 3 jobs to be able to afford to buy food.

  139. Oblio87 says:

    Slim Fast! I would recommend that as an in-between-meals-snack to help tide them over until the next meal. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  140. DmC says:
    A good place to fine inexpensive meal plans. probably not enough food to feed so many mouths, but some of the recipes can be doubled and other can be made specifically just as snack foods.
    It’s a place to start at least. I tend to buy a lot of frozen veggies over the so called fresh produce ( since it’s not as fresh as it appears). And when I have the desire for fresh I hit the local farmers Market. Our market actually has system so shopper know the produce is grown locally. Watch out for the eggs youc an actually get them cheaper at most any grocery store.

  141. Angela says:

    Nix the cereal. It’s convenient for them, but is gone in no time. Fresh fruit on the counter is always good for a grab-and-go.
    We went through TONS of crackers – saltines, ritz, you name it – and CHEESE. Cheese and crackers. Crackers and peanut butter. Crackers and butter. Yep.
    Ramen noodles. I know – but they can make it themselves when they are starving and you are not cooking another meal. And they’re cheap.

  142. Liz C says:

    I have five younger brothers, and our house was “the” hangout for all the friends. I’m using similar strategies with my kids now:
    Homemade bread. If you have a Bosch or Kitchenaid, the labor involved is minimal, and homemade bread is far more dense and filling than any store bread. The cost is nominal. On a normal week, I’ll need six loaves at least (we have a family of six); growing up, Mom did an even dozen each week, with a few extra in the winter. Now, we also do homemade biscuits, English muffins, and sweet muffins (add oats!)
    Toasted homemade bread with peanut butter and a bit of homemade jam is VERY filling.
    Popcorn: oil popped or air popped. Lots of it. Various brothers liked various toppings, including parmesan cheese, or chili powder and butter. At my house, we do a drizzle of honey, plus salt.
    Inexpensive fruit: either bought in bulk and preserved (like home-canned peaches) or just generally affordable (apples from our own tree).
    Oatmeal: the real stuff, steel-cut old fashioned oats, made thick, with some brown sugar or dried fruit. We eat it for lunch some days, actually, and it’s definitely on the list for snacks.
    In general, though, one thing I remember Mom doing was training the boys that just because they *could* mindlessly inhale food and not vomit it back up, didn’t mean they *ought* to.
    And I married a man with a milk habit. I’m in the process of convincing him that “cup” is actually a discrete unit of measure, not “whatever vessel I choose to hold the milk.” He’ll easily go through a gallon a day. So sometimes the milk thing doesn’t get outgrown, ever.

  143. Hazel Edmunds says:

    Most of the foodie ideas I tried with my two are above but with three girls as well I found that ALL food disappeared very fast. It had to be rationed but how? I then latched on to the idea that what they couldn’t find they couldn’t eat and kept two store cupboards – a small one they could get into and a large one with a strong padlock on. Fresh food was bought each day on my way home from work to prevent the “the cats must have eaten it” response when there was no cheese left for supper! You’re STILL hungry? Water, and thank God we have drinkable water from a tap, is a good filler.

  144. Omom says:

    It’s funny I posted this morning on ho sons are just harder to raise and I didn’t even think about the whole eating thing…..good luck with that!!

  145. Anon says:

    You might want to try textured vegetable protein (TVP) for cheap protein and to add some variety to beans as others have suggested. TVP’s almost all protein and we get it dry at the health food store for less than $2/lb. The rotation in my house is beans, TVP, and whatever meat was on sale with brown rice.

  146. MamaKoch says:

    I also raised three boyz and the youngest has just now gone to OSU (in Stillwater). I’ll gladly pay tuition instead of the grocery bill I had with them growing up.
    We always raised a garden and ate lots of home raised beef. It’s amazing how hard it is to learn to cook for two again, but I wouldn’t trade all of those years for anything. Can I make them all little again before my hair started turning gray?

  147. wanda says:

    I have 3 teens. Which means I have several extra teens most days. They tend to gravitate to our house (especially hungry).
    I try to have certain foods on hand at all times.
    Nacho chips
    Refried beans (make a dip with this by adding cheese/sour cream)
    or spread on flour tortilla with cheese & meat. Microwave 15 sec. Voila!
    Rotisserie chicken (slice off for quesidilla’s….or put on salads)
    Taco meat (store in fridge…when needed…whip out onto a tortilla)
    For breakfast foods
    Fry up some mild sausage…store in container to use when needed throughout the week.
    I scramble eggs and toss in some cooked sausage & cheese. Fill a tortilla with it and bam! Yummy on the go bfast.
    Mix up pancake batter and keep in fridge. Pour in pan…again. Bfast is done.
    Always try to have frozen pizza too. This will feed off a few starving people.
    Remember…they will always be hungry. It’s our job to get creative and figure out a way to feed the beasts. My oldest has just left for college. What does he miss the most? Yea….mama’s food!
    I love feeding my kids. It’s a privilege. They grow up so fast.

  148. Melissa says:

    We have a flock of 10 hens – so getting dozens of eggs a week helps a lot! We make the egg burritos, bean burritos, freezer meals, muffins, cookies etc in huge batches and pop into the freezer. My boys all enjoy cooking and pitch in to help. I do put lentils and shredded veggies in just about everything I possibly can, from soup to casseroles. (Veggies we grow in our garden get shredded and frozen.) I ditto the rice & popcorn suggestions. Good luck ~ and if you do get a dairy cow, you will probably get 5+ gallons a day – more than enough for drinking, cream and cheese making! ;D

  149. Cassie says:

    My MIL had 3 teenage sons at the same time and she says she swears by the cookbook “Make a MIx”. She said she always used whole wheat flour too which was more filling.

  150. GiBee says:

    Before I had Hunter, I was a youth pastor for 6 years, and one thing I learned quickly… BOYS EAT A LOT! One boy ate 10 hamburgers and 8 hot dogs in one sitting at one of our pool parties. I was stunned. Large pizzas NEVER lasted – they would each grab one and eat the whole thing themselves. Youth Ministry practically bankrupted me!
    My Pastor’s wife has four kids, but one boy only. She says he eats as much in one sitting as all of them! She said she’ll pre-cook bulk amounts of chicken breasts on the grill to make fajitas the following day for dinner, and she’ll come home from work only to find that her son has eaten 3 of the chicken breasts after school.
    She once told me that she keeps hot pockets on hand because he can be satisfied with 2 of them. She also keeps frozen pizzas on hand.
    I don’t see how popcorn can be satisfying for a growing boy – it is mostly air (or chips/pretzels as well). Whenever I give Hunter popcorn, he’s hungry within a half hour after eating it — and he’s only 4!!!
    But, I do agree with the baked potatoes. Try baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar/cinamon to help with the sweet tooth!? Whenever we went camping with the youth, we’d get those huge bags of potatoes from costco (the potatoes are ginormous), and the boys would each eat two or three of them with mounds of ketchup, cheese and bacon (a very odd combination). Where does all the food go???
    You could also have the boys set aside one hour each weekend (whether Saturday or Sunday afternoon), and make themselves enough wrap sandwiches for each boy to last them as snacks through the week. They can use the extra large tortillas (I get them at Costco), spinach as lettuce (extra nutrition), and load up on the lunch meats and cheese. If you wrap them in saran wrap, they can just grab one and devour it. OR, you can wrap them in foil and they can toss them into the oven for a hot wrap. Add a couple of pickles and an apple, and their bellys should be filled. Even though this sounds like a whole entire meal, they’ll probably be hungry again by dinner time!
    Also, bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter can be satisfying and filling and cheap if purchased at Costco or Sams. Again, pair the bagel with an apple which has a lot of fiber and will stick in their bellys.
    I saw someone mentioned breakfast burritos — her recipe looked great, but you know what I’d add to it? Chopped up potatoes (like a bag of the frozen hashbrowns) as filler.
    I know I only have a 4-year old, but my husband still eats like a teenager, and YES … fresh foods high in protein can be VERY expensive, but that’s why I think we have such an epidemic with overwheight kids … because Little Debbies snack cakes and bags of chips are far cheaper than a healthy snack.
    Good for you for sticking to your guns and providing them with healthy snacks!!!

  151. Kelly says:

    I wish I had some sage wisdom to offer but all I can say is just bargain shop for the cheapest ingredients and stock up on favorite stuff on sale. I only had two kids, both were extremely athletic and had the metabolism of a hummingbird. My son could drink a gallon of milk a day. At one point I was buying 6 gallons a week, and the owner of our small-town grocery did suggest that I buy a cow. Now they’re both grown and in places of their own, and I’m still struggling with how to cook a meal for just two. I made a lot of homemade cookies, cakes and pies. And a lot of bean-filled entrees (southern sausage casserole, baked bean casserole, etc.) Also, meatballs are good-I buy up ground chuck on sale and make up a recipe of meatballs and freeze them. And sweet potatoes (casserole), tacos, sloppy joes (they have ground turkey now, less fat). Lots of luck to you!

  152. jody says:

    The best thing I can recommend is to make a price book of all the items you find yourself buying so you can figure out what stores have the best deals. Do not assume that Costco or Sam’s Club has the best deals. You really need to keep an eye on the cost per ounce because loss leaders at your local grocery stores can be better deals.
    Shop your ads and stock up appropriately. You probably need to have your garage as a food pantry πŸ™‚ ha!
    Couponing is a must. I don’t know how much of it you do but there are some really awesome blogs out there that give you lots of helpful hints on matching sales and coupons and not just for groceries but other household items as well (toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.) If you are going to be serious about couponing check out – it’s a little pricey but makes organizing your coupons a breeze and a must have.
    Buying a side of beef or even pork is a must for your family. My family is hunters so venison is also a great free and tasty option for roasts and stews or chili. I shop around for meat sales and stock up. We have a smaller owned store that has their own butcher on site. They have the best prices in town, it’s extremely fresh and they seem to mark a lot of their meat down to about 1/2 the normal price per pound when it is getting close to needing to be off the counter.
    I also mix ground turkey with hamburger when I use it in dishes. I can buy it for 99 cent per pound and it actually tastes much better than hamburger. My family actually likes it.
    Shop around for the best milk prices. I have found that our local Kwik Trip is actually the best price for milk. It is more than $1 cheaper than my grocery store and about 40 cents cheaper than Wal-Mart. Plus they have a frequent buyer program so after 10 gallons I get one free. They also sell it in half gallon bags so I could freeze them if necessary.
    Bread has also gotten to be so expensive. The store brands are hovering around $2 when they used to be less than $1. Walmart has good prices on it but the loaves are smaller. Your best bet is to find a bread store that sells day old and freeze it. You could also buy a bread machine and make your own.
    Pasta is a great deal as well but the one thing I learned from weight watchers is fiber is the key to filling you up and making it last. It’s a little more pricey but worth buying the whole grain pasta. I eat about half of what I would normally and I find myself full for the rest of the night.
    Plant a garden or check into having space in a community garden. Even if you only do tomato plants on your patio in 5 gallon buckets you could produce a lot to save you lots if you can do your own canning. You could make salsa, pizza sauce, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice and stewed tomatoes. There is an initial investment for the jars and supplies but you will save a LOT of money in the long run. I haven’t tried it but I have also heard you can freeze them instead. I have a food saver (vacuum sealer thing) and it was the best investment I ever made.
    Snacks are the items that seem to really kill a grocery budget. I push my kids to eat a lot of apples or other fruits instead of buying chips, etc. I do buy them sometimes but only when they are sale (buy one/get one plus coupons) The hubby also wants cookies a lot which are close to $5 a dozen at the store. I have bought the cookie mixes on sale with coupons and stocked up but I think this year I am going to make a bunch of the cookie in a jar mixes and put them into the vacuum sealed bags.
    With the kind of money you are probably spending on groceries you should also check if you local stores have any type of rewards program. Some of them are doing gas coupons based on the $$ you spend and that can really add up. Also, go to and register if you haven’t already.
    Good luck!

  153. Michelle says:

    I birthed 2 boys, ages 13 and 15 but feed 4 teenage boys 4 nights a week. “Meat” that’s what my oldest always says, I just want meat- and if I’m not home when he gets home from school, he’ll eat a pound of sandwich meat before asking, “What can I eat for a snack?”
    Here’s what we do. #1 shop the buy one get one free on anything they eat, again shop the sales, BOGO saves me. #2 protein bars, a bit pricey at times but I don’t feel so bad when I cut them off from the kitchen, which brings me to #3: closing the kitchen. There are times I simply let them know the kitchen is closed, I mean I want them to eat but there comes a time when they’ve each eaten a pizza themselves, drank a gallon of milk in 15 minutes, and polished off a birthday cake that I say enough; and lastly #4: bake and cook from scratch, time consuming but easier on the pocket.
    I hope these help.

  154. Kari says:

    Who konws. My brother was the same way. He was tall, thin, and had a killer metabolism (at 35, he still does). I remember watching him eat an ENTIRE box of cereal and a box of Nutrigrain bars, plus milk in the cereal and in a huge glass, for breakfast, only to be hungry again before lunch. I don’t know how my single Mom did it, financially. We have two boys, but they are younger. My youngest, 20 months, goes through a gallon of Almond milk every 2 days, on top of the foods he eats. It’s never ending. We are fearful of the teen years.

  155. Jennifer says:

    Just sent my 20 year old back to college after Fall break. I miss having a house full of boys…I only had one, but if you have food, a tv, and a happy place to come to, they will come!
    Snacks – pizza rolls were a favorite. Break apart cookie dough. Teenie weenies…throw a package or 2 of them in the crock pot with a bottle of bar-b-q sauce and 1/2 c water…they will be gone in 30 minutes. Fruit snacks and Little Debbie Cakes.
    I am on the other end of this….happy to have my son home and missing him terribly when he is gone! Soak it up.

  156. Chel's Leaving a Legacy says:

    I’m really gonna need all this in a few more years too; my boys are 12, 9, and 5.
    But the little old lady that raised a ton of boys in this old farmhouse I now live in was known by all her sons and later grandsons for always, and I do mean ALWAYS having a pot of beans and a pan of cornbread on the stove. Very economical and it fed them well.
    Maybe you wouldn’t (and I won’t) need to do it EVERY day, but at least twice a week? πŸ™‚
    Good luck with that!

  157. nicole says:

    Someone may have already mentioned this, and I don’t have any details, but I was at the gym the other day, and the Today show (or some morning show) had a woman on for a cooking demonstration. Her book is called Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys. I couldn’t hear the audio, and I don’t know her name, but I thought of you and this post. So, there you go. Not completely helpful, but hopefully not completely useless either.

  158. poppy fields says:

    My girls are surprising me with their 9 and 11 year old appetites…we go with French sandwiches (baguette slices covered with Nutella) and American cereal for snacks, and lots of yoghurt.

  159. Dawn W says:

    Peanut butter sandwiches – cheap, filling and full of protein! I also make a ton of pancakes so that I have lots of leftovers, which I then freeze. They make a quick and filling “snack” (extra meal in my book) when he comes home from school starving (daily). Throw ’em on a plate in the microwave for one minute and they’re ready to eat! We also eat tons of apples – filling and healthy.

  160. Angi says:

    My son did the same thing with milk when he was about 4. Doctor told me to limit him to 2 cups a day. His appetite picked up then. They are older now, but still will fill up on milk if I let them. Good Luck!

  161. NY Mom says:

    Hi- mom to 4 sons here. Two are married and out of the house, the other two are still here, opening the fridge and wondering what’s to eat.
    My tips: I make a huge batch of granola each week and keep it in ziploc bags. It’s available 24-7. Also avail. are various bulk snacks in glass jars – unshelled peanuts, pretzels, etc. I also encourage them to LEARN to cook – baking esp. As for the milk thing – if we ran out, I knew they’d still live. I figured a glass of milk per meal was meeting basic quota and then water was just fine until someone ran to get another 3 gallons for the next 2 days.
    I avoided pre-made snacks (like granola bars) b/c of high costs and instead purchased huge bags of apples, crates of clementines, and so on when in season. In summer I keep a chest cooler in the kitchen with ice packs and fill with fruit.
    A common “snack” could be a fried egg sandwich- just an egg and 2 slices of bread; maybe a slap of cheese. I allow it for the protein boost and relatively cheap ingredients.
    Cheer up. Soon they’ll marry and have to learn to budget their own food. Better they learn now some moderate discipline and how to cook a bit!

  162. Stella says:

    We had five boys in our family, and I don’t remember them being as starving hungry all the time the way you are talking about. I think it might have had to do with the food we were given being much more nutritious than a lot of the processed, frozen, nutrition-poor junk that kids eat today.
    My mother would do a roast on Sunday. Monday leftover slices in gravy with plenty of vegetables. Tuesday might be hash. Wednesday soup. She could usually make 5-6 pound roast feed a family of 6 (when I was growing up, only 4 kids at home – three boys) for three or four days.
    We had a big soup every week, with plenty of vegetables and just the bone and whatever scraps of meat were left from the Sunday roast (beef, chicken, pork, lamb). Soup and bread was a weekly thing in our house, as well as next door (where they had 12 kids). We often had a big pot of baked beans with brown bread – that was dinner. We could eat as much as we wanted of soup or beans, and often had leftovers, even when there were three teenage boys in the house. Our neighbors also fed their family a lot of beans.
    We never had sodas or cold cereal (oatmeal or cornmeal ‘mush’ for breakfast every day except Sundays, when Dad made pancakes). We never had potato chips or ‘twinkies’ or any other ‘grocery-store’ treat. No frozen dinners of any sort. No fast food. The only ‘prepared’ ‘convenience’ food was tamales. We could have those for snacks. But Mom cooked everything from scratch including cakes and bread. A gallon of milk lasted a few days: if we were thirsty, we drank water.
    My brothers (and I) used to do physical labor with our dad all day on Saturday (construction). Lunch for my brothers was two sandwiches – PBJ, balogna, left over meatloaf etc. and a piece of fruit. No snacks.
    Maybe the great hunger of the kids nowadays has to do with the relatively low nutrient content of most foods eaten in the US. Our bodies crave nutrition and get junk calories, so we eat and eat to try to nourish our bodies with the nutrients we need. Starving our bodies of nutrition while stuffing our faces.
    Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books can help with dense nutrition that’s also quite cheap compared to the heavy meat-dairy-carb diet that most Americans are on. I highly recommend his website and books.

  163. Karen says:

    Well this isn’t a tip from having a son … rather a hungry husband. If you make refried bean burritos from dried beans, and wrap each individually in foil, then freeze, even the males can take it out, put it on a plate and microwave. The basic ingredients, beans, tortillas, and shortening or lard are pretty cheap. Use an extra sharp cheddar sparingly for some flavor (plus chili powder, salt, pepper and onions …)

  164. Colleen says:

    Oh, I loved this! My husband and I came home last night after church to find our 22 year old son and his girlfriend out in the garage raiding the freezer. They had already eaten their way through a box of Pizza Rolls and had potato skins in the oven and macaroni and cheese cooking in the microwave. It never ends!! We also shared the Taco Bell tacos we brought home after church! When they left, Jake had about 4 grocery bags full of pantry, fridge, and freezer items! I never know what I have left.

  165. caryn says:

    3 words…..Home Town Buffet.
    Seriously, I knew I was in trouble when at 7 years old my son polished off 3/4 of a large pizza!

  166. ruth says:

    Oatmeal, homemade granola, beans (I make a certain “french beef roast” out of chuck, and the broth left from it makes the best pinto beans… the first time I made them, the boys ate the whole batch in one sitting), split pea soup with ham, sweet potatoes, whole wheat spaghetti (Aldi’s is good), boiled chicken (I used to boil chickens and pick them to make casseroles, but the boys started just eating them while they were sitting out getting cool enough for me to pick, so now I serve them plain and everyone is just as happy), brown rice baked with chicken broth (left from the boiled chicken), hard boiled eggs, bananas with peanut butter, cottage cheese.
    My older son is a body builder and won’t eat anything that has refined sugar or flour or preservatives or nitrates… that means no hotdogs, chips or cookies (among other things). The peanut butter has to be natural with no hydrogenated vegetable oil… we were buying a yucky expensive brand, and then found Aldi’s, which only contains peanuts and salt, and the salt makes it taste great… Aldi’s all natural granola is good too, with no fake stuff in it, if I don’t have time to make my own granola.
    Almonds are good, too. I buy them at Sam’s, but I try to prepack them myself in ziplock snack bags so they don’t eat the whole canister.
    I have a bread maker, and it sometimes helps with the wholegrain bread supply. Trouble is, I can’t make it come out well unless I add some white flour…
    I try to make huge batches of stuff so there are leftovers in the refrigerator, which I prefer them to eat rather than “snacks”. I made a huge recipe of ribs last weekend and my 14 year old has had a giant rib every afternoon for his snack this week. OK, well, it’s Tuesday and they’re gone, but it was good while it lasted. I keep things like chili, sloppy joes, shredded chicken (kind of like pulled pork, from a recipe I have), leftover pot roast, leftover ribs… all this in containers in the refrigerator. Because there are not chips or cookies around, they eat the leftovers. I mostly only buy milk and orange juice, but we do usually have powdered lemon iced-tea mix around, which the younger one drinks. The older one is all about hormone free skim milk and spring water. In the summer, the younger one would start up the grill and cook himself a hamburger or two.
    They eat bananas like crazy. I try to keep a lot of fruit around, but it goes fast. Bananas are the cheapest and also the most filling. I get whatever is in season. Often.
    I will have to make hummus like the one commenter said. That would go over well, especially with the body builder.

  167. ruth says:

    Also, we do soup about once a week (with leftovers to follow…), with bread from the breadmaker or cornbread.
    And, I should admit, I have rules about the kitchen being closed. Sometimes I just say, “You have had plenty to eat, and the kitchen is closed now.” And they say, “But I’m really hungry.” and I say, “Be thankful that you live in America and have had three good meals and then some.” They moan and complain, but nobody has woken up dead from starvation, yet.

  168. Jai@wifeof1momof4 says:

    Thanks for the post, I thought I was the only one. I also thought I would NOT have to deal with this now since my boys are 12, 4 and 3, but the younger two each as much as the oldest one.
    The summer’s grocery bill hit a record, so I am definitely going to be camping out on your blog for the next couple of days or so to get some ideas.

  169. Christina says:

    Filler. Lots of filler. Ramen is fantastic, because teen boys tend to crave lots of carbs … all that growth requires energy, and carbs supply it. For protein, eggs. They’re less than fifteen cents a piece, and they are easy to cook in the microwave, if they’re scrambled. (One minute in a small bowl is about perfect.) If you’re up to making homemade bread, muffins, biscuits, etc, they can save you some money, but really I’ve found my boys want ramen all through the teen years. You can find lists of ramen recipes all over the internet, if they get bored with the standard preparation.

  170. Pat's Addition says:

    7YOB twins…I take snacks in the car for school pick-up, when we get home tortilla “pizza” sauce and cheese for the #1 (only eats cooked cheese!)cider or lemonade, #2 wants a grilled cheese sandwich EVERYDAY, sometimes 2 of them…he drinks milk…. They both love soup, I use what ever is around for the soup pot…I roast 2 chickens at a time, turkey anytime of the year goes a long way or baked ham (lo and pea soup)…any veggies, fruit, sushi(!), muffins, bread…plain hunks or with anything on it. The #2 needs to eat every 3 hours or he’s a bear! Even his brother recognizes when he’s in a bad mood and says “feed him!” I can see them growing!

  171. Angela says:

    My boys are still young (and eat a lot), but I helped raise 3 little brothers who are now well over 6 feet tall. You are already doing the right thing by limiting sugar and junk and giving them mostly protein snacks. Whenever you find avocados on sale, that is a great snack! If they don’t like them, you can make guacamole with them or try giving them half an avocado filled with cottage cheese or avocado chunks sprinkled with a dash of salt. Oatmeal is very filling too! πŸ™‚ This will sound mean, but add a tablespoon of flax oil or a teaspoon of cod liver oil (get a quality tested brand) into their foods after their cooked. My boys remind me if I forget! πŸ™‚ The essentially fatty acids are great for their brains and help keep them fuller. The flax oil actually tastes buttery splashed over hot veggies, and enhances flavors in a fruit smoothie or stirred into a bowl of soup or oatmeal. The cod liver oil needs to be in something that will hide the flavor. Applesauce or a flavorful smoothie work. Good cod liver oil doesn’t taste very fishy.

  172. Angela says:

    I have to add this funny part! You’ll find there are some things you’ll need to buy less frequently. I laughed about the pickles. My whole life, I’ve loved them. Sweet or salty, I love that crunch. Now I have a pickle lover. He just turned 5 and will eat a whole jar in a day too! I don’t eat a pickle to fill me up. I munch on a good salty pickle for that flavor. So when your son eats a whole jar in a day or drinks a gallon of milk, just don’t buy any more for the rest of the week. Or label a jug of milk “cooking only” so no one will drink that one. My parents learned not to buy pickles, cottage cheese, and a few other things that would get inhaled too often. We learned to think of them as a treat. Now, we rarely buy sugary snacks or chips or pickles, and they still get devoured, I was hoping to teach self control, but it’s not working. Mmmm…I think my son left me a Claussen. I’d better go eat it now!

  173. Renegade Mom 2 says:

    Wow, I love that I found you! As the mother of three boys, 21, 18, and 7, I have no advice other than to hide!
    I think what helped us as far as food was we ate a LOT of burritos. Refried beans and tortillas are cheap, easy to make, high protein (especially with rice) and don’t involve much clean up since my boys, who not only ate entire jars of pickles at one sitting but fought over the juice, usually inhaled meals standing in the middle of the kitchen without utensils. And it helps having the third kid 11 years after the second. Now I only feed one little picky guy and the Beasts feed themselves.
    Rocks, crayons, sticks, acorns, pennies and gum in my dryer,

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