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Feeding teenage boys

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I need help planning menus to satisfy teenage boys who seem to be hungry all the time. I know, I know - rice and potatoes! Been there, done that! Here's my problem.......now both boys are about 30 lbs overweight (at least) and I'm trying to be more health conscious - but they don't like my 'girlie diet food.' I am aiming for high fat, low(er) sugar and starch. That means meat, veggies, fruit, and whatever side dish I can think of that doesn't include totally empty calories. It's a challenge. We don't have desserts or many snacks. Oh - and it also is a struggle because of the cost! Meat is more expensive than those filling starches that are cheap but fattening! Help~

post #2 of 13
My guys will eat quinoa and black beans. Will they eat a salad before the meal, soups full of veggies with a sandwich, a regular serving of meat (approx the size of the palm of your hand) with a small serving of starch and 2 veggies for filling up?

Can you get them more active instead of changing their diet "too quick"?

Unfortunately, my boys have the opposite issue.
post #3 of 13



If you are looking for a high fat low-starch, low-sugar diet for your sons, then you need to feed them fat and meat. Vegetables will not fill them up.


There are two factors to consider: are they overweight and eating a lot because they are not getting enough nourishment; not enough meat and fat? Or are they overweight and eating a lot because they have developed a dependency on blood sugar fluctuations and taste sensations independent of hunger?


My experience and research is that adolescents need a lot of soothing. It's one of the most (if not THE most) physiologically stressful time any person will go through. Eating, especially foods that alter blood sugar, provides a soothing effect. This is not hunger. An alternative soothing affect can be achieved through heavy exercise; also called "flow," "in the zone" or "runner's high." The coordination and integration of mind, body, and emotion (which is an endocrine function) is achieved through heavy exercise, and also through eating and sex. Misuse of food and sex and other stimuli in general is dysfunctional self-soothing.


Although meat and fat are costly, they are a good value because they offer excellent nutrition and satiation with much less bulk, so a person doesn't need to eat a lot of it. For example, 3/4 pound of 75% lean hamburger is 84g protein and 60g fat, enough protein for a young man for the day. Made into 2 burgers with 2 slices of cheese on each raises the fat to 96g for the day; thus the meat and cheese alone would provide 1350 calories, leaving a balance of only about 750 calories to fill from other foods. (A teen boy should be getting around 2100 calories per day.)


Eggs are one of the least expensive low-carb foods and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways.


Your sons are also old enough to learn about proper nutrition and preparing food for themselves.

post #4 of 13

I'm terrified of this day!

my sons at 1 and 4 could eat an entire box of eggos (10, 4 for the lil guy, 6 for older) as well as 2 bananas apiece and milk and STILL be hungry.

Now they are newly 6 and just about 9....and my newly minted 6yr old (12/6 was his bday) is already 4'3 - he is expected to be 6'7-6'8. and my older one is about 4'6 and supposed to be 6'3

I only eat once a day, and they both still can easily out-eat me (and i'm not a shrinking violet at 5'9 and 140) and eat 4-5x a day.

I can recall my sisters, being 4 girls all within 4yrs of eachother, near about stabbing eachother with forks over 2nd helpings as teens, and my two younger brothers were quite a bit younger and I left home before they were teenagers and they both are big boys who eat a LOT (my youngest sib just turned 21...awww...he was my first baby as I took care of him 24-7 pretty much!)


Even now at 6 and almost 9 a pound of ground beef in spaghetti sauce/hamburger helper/etc isn't enough and they are STILL hungry. I find myself giving them larger helpings than me and generally waiting until they are FULL before even eating because quite often they eat all 4 servings worth of food between them!


I'm picturing having flats of cans stashed in every corner of the house and under beds full of costco pork and beans and chili and ravioli and whatever else is cheap and easy. hehehe....


I'm worried about weight though too, altho right now my oldest is chunking up for a growth spurt - he's "chunky" for him, still one of the slenderest in his class, and my little guy....he's barely cracked 50lbs and he looks like a 7' tall basketball player. All knees and elbows. My dad was 450 until he had G bypass (he'd always been overweight) and my younger brother is 6'2 and 300+ lbs, and my ex is barely 6' and over 350, and his entire family are overweight. his mom and sisters both rock lunchlady arms and are basketball shaped.


my mom's side where the tallness comes from (i'm the shortie!) everyone is super skinny and long legged. even at 5'9 I got the legs and i've got a 34" inseam, so I have my fingers crossed the boys will take after me in body shape. I was heavy too however, hitting around 190 when I was 18, and 205-210 when pregnant with both (140 pre and post baby however) and I def got more of my dad's side where all the women are short and 50lbs overweight. I got all the curves ;)


Just because it's so darn funny....here is my lil guy about 2m before he turned 6....



post #5 of 13

I have no idea.  My 12 yr old is def. an eater.  He always has been. He has always been super skinny until the last couple years and now finally looks healthy.  I think he will thin out again (just lost 2 inches on his waist since summer).  In his defense DS is on swim team 3-4x a week but that child sure can pack away food.  He eats meat - I don't.  he loves veggies.    Keeping him full and satisfied has been a challenge since he was born, I don't see that changing any time soon.


Can you do some crock pot cooking?  Stews and pot pies?  My kiddo loves mexican dishes and those seem filling.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well, first off, they are both overweight because they are HUNGRY because they are teenage boys. Nuff said. Both are over 6 feet (I'm 5'3" and 125# hubbie is 6 ft and around 235#?) They spent the last four years growing and have now leveled off but the appetite hasn't gotten the memo. I guess part of it, too, is habit. They don't eat junk - well, my 18 year old gained a good bit when he started driving, had a pay check, and discovered the McDonald's drive through. At least he is very active and works out. My 15 year old is more sedentary by nature and you have to beg/bribe/force him to get moving. Their eating habits for the most part aren't bad and they have no known allergies (have done elimination diets). The problem I think boils down to this - boys eat a lot and it's hard to be creative, cheap, and healthy 24/7. I don't buy too much 'easy' stuff (none of that is healthy at all, lol) and while they do know how to cook, they rarely do. We are a homeschool family so all meals and snacks are at home - and on one paycheck - and it's not huge. My husband has terrible eating habits and has set a bad example with sodas, cereal, drive-throughs, and skipping veggies. He works out of town and we rarely have sit down at the table family meals anymore. I have to hide/sneak in veggies and have reached my limit on creativity - Pinterest is helping. I've spent the last year losing 30 pounds by dropping sugar and most starches - there are only cookies/chips etc in the house once in a while when hubby brings them in. When I shop I skip that stuff and go for chicken wings, ground beef, eggs, etc. Need to try some quinua. I guess I was just looking for meal planning ideas about how to cook healthy meals, snacks without breaking the bank. For those of you with younger ones - be careful.  I was able to stretch meals with starches when they were growing and active - but watch out, the time will come when they stop growing and can't eat that stuff anymore. The transition caught me by surprise and I'm having to re-think menus.

post #7 of 13

TBM- can you try some 'crock pot meals'.  That is my next plan of action around here.  Things like stew, chili etc.  My kiddo loves stir-fry as well (lots of veggies, just a little sauce and a little pasta or rice).

Quiche is another good one or just omletes


My kiddo loves 'make your own pizza night'  I get a french bread from the store and cut it in half long ways, (there are only the 2 of us), we each add toppings to our side, veggies, cheese, sauce etc.  This is enough for dinner and a snack or lunch tomorrow.  I gather in a year or 2 he will be able to inhale the entire thing.


http://allrecipes.com/  is my go to website

post #8 of 13
Oh, the joys of living below poverty level, without public assistance of any sort, and having teenage boys! I'm also in one modest paycheck.

Chicken thighs (with bone and skin) are generally .99c per pound. Stock up! Bake as many of them in the oven as you can fit, for one hour. Keep the bones, freeze, and when you have enough frozen bones to fill your crockpot, roast them (again) in the oven for 30 minutes, bring to a boil with water on the stove, then transfer to the crockpot and simmer overnight. You can use the stock for soups, to cook vegetables, reheat leftover meat, or whatever you like.

Start their day with what I lovingly like to call a "big ass breakfast". For teenage boys, probably 4 eggs, plus cheese, plus avocado or any vegetables they like.

Speaking of avocado, I would offer it at each lunch to get extra calories in them. Always check the price when you're at the grocery store, and stock up whenever there's a sale..

Buy a tub of chicken liver (you don't have to tell them) each week. Grind it on the food processor and add to chili, meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, or anywhere you can hide it. I buy one and a half pounds of chicken liver for $1.50. It's very nutritious but cheap meat. With two teenage boys, I'd actually buy two tubs per week.

You may also find chicken heart at the grocery store which is also really cheap. Chicken heart actually tastes like normal meat. Slice it and make a stir fry or kabobs, they won't notice unless you tell them.

Buy a large bucket (yeah, I said bucket!) of beef tallow or lard, either from a local source or online (like US. Wellness, I think they sell a  gallon bucket which would last you a year). You don't want hydrogenated, though, it's not healthy.
Use  three heaping tablespoons for each boy, whenever you cook your meat and vegetables . Also buy the largest size coconut oil you can find (I like nutiva), butter is awesome but terribly expensive. While they're teenagers, coconut oil and beef tallow will be much more affordable.

Look online to see if there's better deals on food. Stock up on coconut milk, or buy grated coconut to make milk with (you can use grated coconut twice to make milk, and then you still have the spent coconut flesh to make baked goodies with, or bread fish and chicken. Huge huge HUGE savings!)

If you know anyone in the military, ask them to get you into the commissary (grocery store), they have much cheaper food.

Cheap vegetables: red onions, onions, cabbage, red cabbage, frozen green beans and peas, frozen or fresh spinach,

Breakfast meals (or, how to make your children never think of McDonald's again)
When eating breakfast like this I recommend that you serve it in a bowl or a small square ceramic casserole dish, so the food stays warm longer.

Buy frozen berries and heavy cream. Make a berry milkshake with coconut milk, then pour it over a big bowl of sugar-free whipped heavy cream.

3 scrambled eggs cooked with plenty of fat (4 tablespoons with none remaining in the pan after cooking) + creamed spinach on the side  (made with heavy cream)

Guacamole (1 avocado per boy, with minced red onions) + shredded beef roast with salsa and shredded cheese

Pulled pork (pork shoulder) cooked in plenty of lard. Green beans on the side.

Pulled pork goes well with baked beans too.

Indian curries have lots of fat, make a big batch each week and heat a bowl for breakfast.

Soups and chowders with cream or coconut milk (butternut squash soup is great both ways).

Use your spent grated coconut to process into flour, then you can make into snacks like pancakes, muffins and so on. But this must not be the first meal of the day, or they'll be hungry! It should only be a snack or dessert.

Hopefully this is enough to get you started but if you need more help please ask. If you tell me what you have around the house I can give some meal suggestions.
Edited by EloiseMM - 1/11/13 at 5:10pm
post #9 of 13




Whipped heavy cream with frozen berries or peaches/apricots (warm them on the stove until the juice makes a sauce)



Half a package of cream cheese spread on a large slice of bread (I make these myself so that's probably why it's cheap for me. Might be expensive if storebought).



Apples sliced and fried in lots of butter (one apple and half a stick of butter for each person, if there's still any butter remaining in the pan, pour it in your bowl). A big pinch of cinnamon is nice. This is also great on top of pancakes with a big dollop of whipped cream. But now it's a meal, not a snack :)


Homemade rice pudding (made with lots of eggs and whole milk)


But my motto is: "If you're hungry for a snack, then you're hungry for a meal. I'll warm up some leftovers for you. Oh, you don't want to eat a meal? Then you're not really hungry at all, are you now? You can wait for the next meal then".

post #10 of 13

Sorry, more snacks if you need to cook beans more often to offset the costs.


Make scrambled egg and ground meat + bean burritos, keep in a tupperware.


Buy two baggies of dried chickpeas, cook them, then make hummus with sesame paste and olive oil. Make a big bucket each week and use slices of firm bread (like sourdough) to scoop out big blobs.


Make a bucket of refried beans and one of pulled pork (both should have lots of lard and maybe even some minced bacon). They can just grab a bowl, and take half beans half pork.


Sometimes I see overripe bananas at 0.19c per pound and I buy as many as they have available. Then I make ice cream with them (the only ingredient is bananas! But I like to add some heavy cream or coconut milk to make it healthier).


If you buy irish oatmeal you can cook it with whole milk.


You'll find with a very hearty breakfast and lunch like I suggest, your teenagers won't need to snack much at all and you'll be spending the same amount or less money on food than you do now. (Beans and oatmeal won't keep them full anywhere as long as meat, though, that's why I don't serve them even though they might be cheaper, in the end meat and eggs still comes out cheaper since it keeps them full for 5 or 6 hours, while with beans they'd eat every 2 hours.)

post #11 of 13

But my motto is: "If you're hungry for a snack, then you're hungry for a meal. I'll warm up some leftovers for you. Oh, you don't want to eat a meal? Then you're not really hungry at all, are you now? You can wait for the next meal then".


Good for you! You have a lot of good tips in your posts. Thank you for sharing.

post #12 of 13

Eloise - those are GREAT tips - thank you for sharing!

post #13 of 13

I am curious when you say that coconut oil is cheaper than butter.  How so??  How much do you pay for butter?  I can get good butter is it $3/lb (2 cups), which would be $24/gallon.  We can get raw virgin coconut oil for $50/gallon.  So, you'd have to be paying more than $6 per pound of butter for the coconut oil to be even a tiny bit cheaper.

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