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.