How Much can a Teenage Boy Eat?

Posted on August 27th, 2010

Now that Junior is a teenager I have discovered that teen boys do one thing really, really well.

They can make food disappear in seconds.

Oh, sure, Junior and his friends have always been healthy eaters. But now that Junior is in high school, the amount of food consumed in our home is staggering. Sadly, it’s not like I wasn’t warned about this happening. I was. My husband used to tell tales of drinking entire cartons of milk after swim practice. And eating whole boxes of instant oatmeal for breakfast. And a honeydew melon at snack time.

But I totally dismissed that as exaggeration. Why wouldn’t I? I grew up with all sisters. It’s not like we were dainty little princesses or anything, but we didn’t eat like that. For pete’s sake, only horses eat like that.

I’m not kidding. I go to Costco. I buy milk. I put one gallon in the kitchen fridge and one gallon in the garage fridge (yes, I have two refrigerators, which is akin to having a neon sign that flashes “teenage boy lives here”). Anyway, four days later, I go out to get the other gallon and it’s gone. Gone. It’s like a milk-napping has taken place.

But, no. My son drank it. All of it. Every single ounce. Oh sure, I had a couple drops in my coffee every morning. But Junior drank 2 gallons of milk in four days. How the heck does that happen? I don’t even know if it’s good for him. It’s gotten so bad, that when I buy milk, I don’t check the expiration date. Why bother? It’s gone long before it goes sour.

And before you ask, yes, I have told him to drink water. And he does. Tons of it. He carries a big thermos of ice and water to school every day so he can stay hydrated at school and practice. I’m telling you, the way this kid drinks, he should slosh when he walks.

Speaking of Costco, I can go to Costco, come back, unload the car and within fifteen seconds every boy in the neighborhood is in my pantry, inhaling every granola bar, every cookie, every can of nuts and bag of chips I have purchased.

Seriously. How do these kids know when I go to Costco? Do they roam the neighborhood, looking for moms unloading minivans full of Costco-sized vats of chips and cookies? How do they know that a parent has just spent the equivalent of their college tuition and that they should now go to that house and devour all the goodies? Is there a secret boy network? A Facebook fan page? A Twitter alert?

And it’s not like it only happens at my house. They eat at every single home. Over summer, a gaggle of them would come to our place and Junior would say, “We had the best soup at so-and-so’s house.” And then all of them would make a sandwich and eat it. It was disgusting. If I ate that way, I’d look like the Titanic. But growing boys? They don’t gain an ounce.

Of course, it’s not just sandwiches or Costco goodies, either. I can go to the farmer’s market, purchase a bunch of fruit and it’s gone in minutes. Seriously. I barely have time to wash it, put it in the fruit bowl and it’s gone. If it weren’t for the fact that he still won’t eat squash, I would swear to you that an alien food inhaler had replaced my son with a nefarious plan to force us into food debt.

As for the fresh fruit from our yard, well, I think we had peaches this year. I saw them on the tree one day. The next day? The tree was empty.

There is an upside to all of this, though. I don’t have any more leftovers. Oh, there is the rare occasion when we have an odd leftover or two sitting in the fridge. But those are gone within hours of dinner. In fact, even right after a trip to the grocery store, my fridge is sparkling clean with nothing to eat but a few carrots and some salad dressing. And there is a boy with his head stuck inside it, saying, “Mom, why don’t we have anything to eat?”

Why indeed. And now if you will excuse me, I have to go to Costco. After all, I just bought milk three days ago.

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29 Responses to “How Much can a Teenage Boy Eat?”

  1. Alexandria the Healthy Foods Girl Says:

    Sweet, that’s just what I was shooting for! This article just spared me alot of looking around

  2. scholarships for hispanics Says:

    I never comment on blogs, but this one is awesome! Thanks.

  3. Kendall Says:

    I too, never read or comment on blogs but I have to say, I am laughing out loud!! I too have two sons and a husband (who is really a kid at heart) and I can relate to everything you write! I love your articles, they are hillarious! Keep them coming! Im loving the part about every boy in the neighborhood showing up after Costco – that is so true! What is that??

  4. akspick Says:

    i know exactly what you mean. I had my friend clint over for dinner one day. My mom came home with the raw ingredients, when she went to make dinner everything including the tomato sauce was gone.

  5. Jessica Stiles Says:

    This is a riot! Only thing worse than one teenage boy and his gaggle of friends, it having two…. and their alternating raids on the pantry that prevent me from even having carrots because they all have different tastes. My poor 9 year old daughter has taken to hiding the food in the dishwasher because that is the ONE place they never look, that would imply they were going to WORK by putting something in or UNLOAD the thing!

  6. Lindsay Says:

    In highschool a guy friend of mine had a brother. I would visit their house after grocery day and his mom had just bought one of those huge bags of oranges and another huge bag of apples. They bought 2-3 gallons of milk and they have 2 gallons of water in their fridge. I asked her why she bought so much, and she told me they go through it like I might go through a serving size of chips. I didn’t believe her… until I visited a week later and my friend asked, “Mom, where are all the oranges?” I was rather shocked… they had no more fruit at all and maybe half a gallon of milk left! Also, my boyfriend’s younger brother visited him recently and drank all of my apple juice! I had a gallon of it… and in the course of a day it was all gone! I hadn’t had one drop. Males scare me with how much they can eat! A friend of mine just had a baby boy and I warned her he will eat her out of house and home as a teen… she didn’t believe me.

    So I just found your blog about waking up a teenage boy on yahoo home page. It was funny, so I decided to check the whole thing out. Your blog is very awesome.

  7. Mary Ducker Says:

    I have two teen-age and one tween-age boy, and I get exactly where you are coming from, down to the COSTCO runs and the garage fridge, which, yes we do have one of those, as well as a full freezer. Why? Because they eat. I once watched my oldest eat half of a meatloaf, plus a small mountain of potatoes au gratin plus green beans by himself!!! I grew up eating left-overs two or three times a week because my parents had two girls. Now, said left-overs are a SEVERELY endangered species, since everyone wants seconds or thirds of whatever is on the dinner table!!! And during the summertime it’s even worse. They are home all day, and thanks to the pool we have, it gives us all LOTS of HEALTHY excersise1 Which makes the boys even hungrier!!! I feel like I’m watching them get ready for winter, with the amount they eat!!! And when they were doing sports, it was not uncommon for them to eat two full dinners!!! Seriously, I feel like I’m feeding a band of hobbits!!!

  8. Jenifer Says:

    I loved this article. I have a one year old son who can go through a whole gallon of milk in 4 days…BY HIMSELF!!! LOL. I do not know what he is going to be like when he becomes a teenager. Scary thought!

  9. Nora Says:

    Thank goodness I’m not the only mother that has a second fridge in the garage with missing milk! I also only had sisters and was shocked to realize how much food my teenage son can consume and how quickly the milk can go. Love your blogs :-)

  10. Erin Says:

    I have a teenage girl who eats like this and is thin as a rail. I often wonder if maybe she has a tape worm! Thanks!

  11. Laurie Says:

    Thank yo so much for all the comments! It’s good to know I don’t roam the aisles of Costco alone. I just wish I knew where they put it all.

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  19. Neon Signs Says:

    13-14 is the age to get fat, usually you develop a lot at that age and you also develop a big appetite, that doesn’t mean you have to eat all the time, you don’t have to eat whenever you’re hungry..

  20. Jane Says:

    You should let your readers know that March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to begin shaping up your nutrition and celebrating this year’s theme: “Eat Right with Color.” Nothing brings more color to a plate than delicious fruits and vegetables. Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/119193/20110305/national-nutrition-month-is-here-eat-right-with-color.htm#ixzz1Fp3Sw9tS

  21. Cara Says:

    Thank you!! After my husband got FURIOUS at my 15 yo because i’d made 2 dozen min-muffins at dinner time and when I came back from walking the dog after dinner, there was 1 left . .. i looked up ‘how to feed your teen boy’ and mostly found ‘buy in bulk’, ’shop sales’, ‘cook a lot of pasta’. Hmm. Not really helpful.

    But this? This helps! It makes me feel much less alone . . . now, my boy also puts on weight as he is on meds which . . .well, my sister put on 80 lb taking similar meds. So its hard not to protest. But wow . . . i generally say he eats a box of cereal every day. His step-father is REALLY not happy about it. He yells at him for eating too fast at dinner, too.

  22. Laurie Says:

    Cara,
    Oh my goodness. I can’t imagine a teenager eating even more because of meds. I won’t ever complain again.

    I’m glad you found me cuz one thing I do know…there is strength in numbers so we will survive the teenagers!

  23. Vinny Says:

    I am a teen and i enjoy many fatty foods.Im 311 lbs and im on a diet. How do i resist these foods?

  24. Laurie Says:

    Hi Vinny, I don’t know. I’m not an expert on diets or anything. And since you are reaching out, please, please contact your school guidance counselor who can hook you up with someone nearby who can help you overcome this. Laurie

  25. Debra Says:

    I have a two year old boy and a very picky 8 year old girl. In September we took in a 15 year old Chinese exchange student. In exasperation I started looking up how much can a teenage boy eat and I found this article. It was like someone put a pin in me and let all the trapped air out….I can breath…..he is normal!! I went to bed at 11pm two nights ago and woke at 7am to find almost a gallon of orange juice, gone, just shy of a pound of roast beef, gone, bread, gone, expensive (normally served with crackers and wine) cheese, gone and this all while we were sleeping. I was starting to think I was not feeing him enough at mealtimes but now I know it’s just boys. I had two younger brothers who reached their teens after I left Ireland for the US so never quite understood what my Mom was really saying. Thanks to this article I do.

  26. Laurie Says:

    Oh, he’s normal! They are like locusts, eating everything in sight. I went to Costco Saturday, stocked up on milk. Today, I need to go back to Costco for more milk. How the heck can one child drink two gallons of milk in 4 days? Granted, he was home for break, but still. It drives me insane :) But then, at least it isn’t soda. Anyway, my firm belief is that teenage boys are like newborns. They need to be fed every two hours. Good luck!

  27. Rachel Says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a fussy eater when his parents are on a very low budget? We have a teenager who also doesn’t stop eating and he is always asking for more food. We are baring making our bills. Any ideas?

  28. Rachel Says:

    sorry barely

  29. Laurie Says:

    Pasta? Eggs? I don’t know. Mine isn’t really fussy, so I’m not sure.

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