feeding a teenage boy without going broke

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

My grandson grew 8 inches this past year, is as skinny as a rail and always hungry. He's sick of mac & Cheese and cornbread mixes. Any other suggestions to fill him up without spending too much? Thanks!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Protein would be good. Up here we feed the growing kids potatoes, vegetables & meat. Seems to work.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Rice, Beans and homemade bread.
Make all kinds of casseroles and soups with rice or beans. Pastas are good too, speghetti and such. Fix it with different cheeses and veggies and bake them. The pasta fills you up and stretches the veggies and cheeses so it isn't too expensive.
Mom used to make chicken and rice or chicken and dumplings.
Peanut Butter on homemade bread is good too.
Ham and beans

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Pizza is usually a favorite.
I second all of the previous suggestions. Lots and lots of pasta.

North Augusta, ON

My Mom always made us pizza on bread slices. Spread the slices with sauce, add whatever you have, wieners was a good one, top with some cheese and bake on a cookie sheet for a few minutes. Very tasty, filling and cheap!!

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

All great suggestions, thanks. He likes salsa, maybe I'll make a big pot with beans in it. I swear, he could eat 6 times a day and still be hungry at bedtime. He's not lazy, works in the yard and such, so I guess he's burning it off as fast as it goes in. Chicken and rice is a favorite. Dumplings would be a good filler-upper. I'll have to try a big pot of potatoes with cheese and some ham. He eats peanut butter on celery, I'll encourage some bread, too. I read somewhere that teenage boys need 5-6000 calories a day, holy cow.

I just remembered my son liked baked potatoes with chili on top when he was that age. Guess I'd better get cooking!

Thanks for the suggestions, it's been awhile since I had one who eats this much.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

brown rice with your choice and amount of meat mixed in - my kids liked cut up pork

black beans and rice

pasta fagioli

peppers and eggs
potatoes and eggs
onion pie (onions and eggs in crust)

sloppy joe

I guess I should ask if you want to cook - or ready made. These involve cooking --but HE can learn how to do.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

...and he should learn how to, unless he wants to spend his young man's years eating fast food....
I taught my son to make omelets, a very good, easy, cheap dish. Add potatoes and make it into a frittata and then it's more filling.
I remember the days when he was growing and eating non-stop.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

opps looks like I waited too long to 'send' (got distracted) and cross posted with Frilly L - looks like we think alike.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Oh, he's learning how to cook or he will have to go hungry, haha. No ready made, it is just too expensive. Brown rice would be a good way to stretch the meat. I used to know all this but it's like it was a hundred years ago when my little boy was a teen, he's 6'5 now and doesn't eat half as much as at 13.

My daughter has been putting things in bags marked with his name so he knows it is okay to eat it. Other stuff is marked MEALS so he knows not to touch it, it is for the family. 3 pieces of fruit in addition to any that is served with the meals, carrots and celery with cream cheese or peanut butter. She's been mixing her own chopped fruit with plain yogurt, way cheaper than the fruit flavors at the store. He's such a good kid, and he doesn't eat junk food, so that is good, too.

I've got a big pot of beef &barley vegetable soup on the stove simmering, I'll take that over tomorrow.

We didn't have much money when all the kids were little, but I don't think groceries took as big a bite of our budget as it does now.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Frittatas, perfect idea! I can make those up in a big pan. I had forgotten those. Thanks!

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

They work well with leftover pasta too, that is how the Italians make them.

Things like meatloaf and meatballs can be stretched with oats, also very healthy.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

dont forget oatmeal, malto meal, and homemade pancakes.
egg sandwiches
grilled sandwiches when you get tired of sandwiches lol
homemade stuffing

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

My 15 year old nephew will be visiting this summer. I was thrilled to see this posting! Thanks.

I can share what I do regularly to feed my family. I soak a big pan of beans each week. Usually white beans. I add them to everything. The kids like it whith little bits of ham.

I use olive oil & lemon juice with fresh thyme, salt & pepper for most of my lunches. Top with a slice of parmesan cheese. I could eat it every day. This is my favorite.

The other favorite of my kids is white chili or tortilla soup. I take left-over chicken, chopped finely, add a couple bouillon cubes & water, (or chicken broth) cumin, a scoop of salsa & top with crumbles tortilla chips & cheddar cheese. If we are having extra mouths at the table I throw a bunch of crumbles in the soup when making it, as well as smashing some of the beans. It thickens it up making it more filling. the whole family loves it and the ingredients are always around.

We also make a lot of burritos.

I saw a lady on tv making a quiche with hash browns as crust. Looked yummy.

Good luck!

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

You could maybe look through some cookbooks that focus on the old 'farmers' style of cooking. Always hearty stuff that sticks to your ribs.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Dutchlady1, that is a good idea, I have an Amish cookbook, lots of good recipes, and a few of the older church published cookbooks. Real food. I think I'll do that tonight. Thanks

Cochise, AZ(Zone 8b)

Burritos are cheap, easy and filling. Kids like them with beans and cheese or whatever. Salsa is much cheaper if you make it. My DGSons are like vacuums going thru the kitchen. Sometimes Top Ramon will help hold them till real food is ready?

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Haha, he can empty a fridge, that's for sure. Stand back!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

sausage gravy with toast.
Make homemade bread, it is SO much cheaper than buying it at 2 or 3 bucks a loaf.
You can pick up a bread maker at a yard sale somewhere. I love mine, and it doesn't heat up the kitchen like running the oven. Just dump in the ingredients, go about your work and whalla! In 3 hours, homemade bread comes out LOL, and it makes the house smell YUMMY!

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I picked up a bread machine for free but it doesn't have directions so I'm searching for them. We buy bread at the day-old store, I can't tell the difference on the whole grain loaves.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

You can usually find directions for the bread machines (or any other appliances) on the web. Be sure when you do a search to include model number etc.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Thanks for that suggestion dutchlady1, I'll have to pull it out and get that info.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

I was glad to see this post! I have a 10 year old boy who is 5 ft 2 and 145 lbs...he's an eating machine. I pack his lunch for school and his 12 yr old sister (not a tiny girl...she's 5 ft 6 and athletically built) says it's embarrassing how much I pack for him.

My son is just now starting to eat meats. He won't touch an egg if his life depends on it. Not big on beans unless they are baked beans and just a few tablespoons will do it for a few weeks.

He is a pasta, rice and bread eater. I use whole grains, they are much more filling that processed and refined grains. Children need fat when they are growing and they crave it. My boy used to grab sticks of butter out of the frig and take big bites out of it when he was a toddler. Blech.

I make sure that if he's eating a carb (bread, pasta, rice) that he is also eating a protein (cheese, peanut butter, chicken, turkey or ham). He's more satisfied that way.

I don't buy processed food, I cook from scratch so my budget goes further. I'm at work right now and it's 2:30 am, my brain isn't functioning. or I'd give you more ideas.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Very good observation about the whole grains. Much better for them too.

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

Try pureeing (sp?) white beans & using it as a thickening agent. I even add it to chicken noodle soup.

How about chili? Add extra veggies like carrots to add bulk too. I used to have a chili recipe that had rice in it as well as beans.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

I am just a lurker on Dave's Garden but my daughter DaysDawning asked me to respond to your thread. I cooked for two sons who were bottomless pits and a grandson who was a real eating-machine. I agree with the above posts that pastas, whole grains, beans, etc. are wonderful filler-uppers.
Two meals that my guys liked especially were tater tot casseroles and shepherds' pie. There are many variations of both of these dishes so if you google them, you can find many good recipes. I agree, too, with having food that he can eat between meals; nutritious but staving off hunger pangs until the next meal. My sons and grandson are now grown and are still big eaters but they have learned to cook for themselves now. Good luck with finding more ways to keep your son from "starving." LOL

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Reading thru this thread, I must agree with both Country Gardens

feed the growing kids potatoes, vegetables & meat
and MsKatt
make sure that if he's eating a carb (bread, pasta, rice) that he is also eating a protein (cheese, peanut butter, chicken, turkey or ham). He's more satisfied that way.

Their adolescent bodies are craving the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development. Their narrow minds are telling them that if a food is "good for them", they don't like it. If we all listen to our bodies, it is amazing what the foods we crave are telling us.

I think the answer is feed them well but shop prudently and cook efficiently. Their urge to devour volumes of food will be reduced when fed correctly. Good luck! pod

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

A friend gave me a quick salsa recipe that he made and loved:

1 large can rotell tomatoes, original with the peppers in it.
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 chopped onion (about baseball sized)

Drain the beans and corn, mix everything together. Serve cold with baked chips, or warmed with a little cheddar cheese added.

Or drain the tomatoes, too, and take a tortilla and spoon it in the middle with some cheese and lettuce. Roll up and eat.

He came in from baseball starving on Friday night and filled up on this, with leftovers for Saturday. Quick and easy, plus pretty healthy!

Bryan, TX

We raised three children, two boys both 6ft.4 and could they eat!!!
One meal they liked was quick and easy : Scrambled eggs topped with Ranch Style Beans and buttered toast on the side. My husband was a state trooper and worked shift work and we ate this on Friday nights when he was working. I also cooked much pasta, rice and beans along with a meat and vegetable. Chili is very good served over steamed rice. We were very short on money and got paid once a month for 35 years. My solution was to divide my grocery allowance into 4 envelopes and that way we could eat at the end of the month, otherwise it would have been "chicken today and feathers tomorrow". We were on a strict budget. We rarely had cold drinks. Really couldn't afford orange juice, but always kept bananas on hand. My kids were not picky as I raised them to eat what was served and didn't cater to their wims.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I'll share that with my daughter. He gets plenty of protein at meals, it is the between meals where he needs good fillings. Thanks!


Stickey Buns in any form made with whole wheat and loaded up with other grains ground fine, raisins and berries in season. I have a standing weekly order for the above. The teens love it. A production in your oven costs a whole bunch less than white junk food buns selling for a buck a pop.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Oooo, do you have a recipe? He's doing good with meals, we are still working on some between meal fillers.

Plano, TX

i would make a big pot of chili-when i got near the end of it ichili spaghetti by serving it over spaghetti noodles and topped with chopped onions and then i made chili soup by adding a can of tomato juice or v8 --i would make 3 different meals out of that big pot of chili -

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

thanks linda, i hadn't thought of chili mac. great idea, and easy to reheat for a between meal fill up.

Crossville, TN

A timely thread...

I am taking my 14 YO DGS to TN, VA & WV on a 3 week trip...starting next week...he grows DAILY and is about 5'11" now...I have warned all the relatives we plan to visit to stock up on FOOD...especially peanut butter, pizza and hamburger.

He is a "lean, green, food eating machine", and a very good kid...all the old ladies at church just love him...they say he "talks to them instead of grunting". LOL

Thanks for some of the ideas. Jo

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Jo, have a great time, what a wonderful trip together. Try that salsa, DGS is loving it, says it sticks to his ribs. I put a can of drained crushed pineapple in it one day, he liked the change in flavor, too.

Plano, TX

ok maybe my son is right and i am dyslexic-- road runner i first read your entry as you taking your 14 dogs on a 3 week trip!! then when i saw you said "he" grows i went back and reread it and thought --oh -she is bringing her 14 year old dog!! i decided that even big dogs aren't 5'11 and so i slowed myself down and tried again!
i can't wait for a grandchild! what fun they must be!!

Crossville, TN

LOL Linda...Yes...we'll have great fun...Jo

Cochise, AZ(Zone 8b)

Jo, Sounds like a great trip!

Crossville, TN

His parents left here last week...and are already in TN...They will come home next Monday...leave DGS with my son and I will pick him up on June 24th...Jo

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