OK, Gayle. I am desperate! My 12 year old son (will be 13 in April) is eating me out of house and home, but he wants meals for snacks. He is constantly whining that he needs "real food" not snacks. You know if he could go shopping he would pick out microwavable crud that is overly expensive. Any suggestions on keeping us both happy? Thanks!
Boy it's sure simpler to be frugal when you just have two adults and a couple of babies in your house, but let me tell you, when you hit the teenage years you really get put to the test. Teenagers are notorious for many things, one of which is eating you out of house and home. And we've managed to figure out a few tricks around here to feed their insatiable appetite and not break the bank.
- Make snacks that are going to fill them up. You're teens aren't going to be satisfied with a piece of fruit to tide them over. If yours are anything like mine, it's a constant stream of, "Mom, is there anything to eat?" They are NEVER full. So make sure you are offering them snacks with ingredients that have fiber, whole grains or protein (beans or meat) which fills tummies much more than the empty calories in sugar or salt laden snacks.
- Be prepared. If you normally cook two or three meals a day, when the you hit the teen years you could easily add one more meal to your cooking schedule. But who has the time for that? If you keep your freezer stocked with quick and easy homemade "fast food" then your teen can re-heat their own snack and not bother you with the preparation. Just double a dinner recipe one night and store the extra portions in the fridge. Do that a few times a week and you'll have a stockpile ready to go when they ask.
- Offer foods they like. I'm learning that my funky vegetarian meals are tolerated at dinner but NOT as snack food. They want hot pockets, burritos, nachos, and other teen fare. And guess what, you don't have to buy that stuff, you can make it and it will be much healthier for them.
So here are a few recipes to get you started.