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Got Boys? Solutions to Fill Them Up. (by Jennifer Davis)

by bkhoury on November 09, 2011

It never fails.  Whenever I pick up my son from a friend’s house, the first comment I get is “I can’t imagine what your grocery bill is.  That kid can EAT!”  It’s true, I’m raising a serious chowhound.

He’s athletic, growing quickly and loves to eat – a triple threat for the mom who’s trying to keep him full and healthy.  At times I feel like a human vending machine, constantly doling out food, but I’ve come up with a few tricks for feeding kids who seem to be hungry 24-7.

Use the Power of Protein
We all know that protein has good staying power and can keep kids feeling fuller longer.  Protein makes its way into our main meals pretty easily, but I try and make sure that even our snacks are also protein-packed.  I add refried beans to quesadillas, peanut butter to apples (remember the Dirty Lady?) and Laughing Cow cheese to crackers.  Fruit smoothies get a protein punch with the addition of Greek yogurt, and hummus has become our go-to dip for veggies.  We always have a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge and my kids have become adept at peeling them all by themselves, giving us the added bonus of a do-it-yourself snack!

Rethink Snacks
The after school snack has really just become a fourth meal for my son.  Instead of trying to fill him up with “something snacky” as he likes to say, I make him a mini-meal like a turkey sandwich, a burrito or bagel with cream cheese.  Taking the time to make something substantial in the afternoon means that I’m not being asked for a snack every 20 minutes until dinner time. 

Add Fruit and Veggies for Bulk
Produce is your friend.  Adding fruit or veggies to a dish makes it look like significantly more food and the added fiber is filling.  A bowl of cereal is topped with sliced fruit, yogurt gets a sprinkling of frozen berries and sandwiches at our house resemble a salad bar tucked in between two slices of bread.

I have to admit that this ravenous boy thing completely took me by surprise.  It happened overnight, and much sooner than I thought.  So even if your guys are still little and seem to get full on half a pb&j with the crust cut off, beware—that starving teenager trapped in a first grader’s body might be lurking just around the corner! 

Do you feel like a human vending machine?  Mastered any tips for feeding your chowhounds?  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

  • I often feel like this already with my two and three year old boys! I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are seven or (gasp) teenagers! I notice at breakfast if they don’t have a little protein, by 10 am they are grumpy, have no focus and starving. Thanks for the great tips!

    By bkhoury on November 9, 2011 at 10:08 PM
  • Great ideas - wish my boys (2.5 & almost 4) would eat a “salad bar sandwhich”, but they are still very picky with the veggies. We often do similar snacks - hummus & crackers/veggies (all veggies but carrots are left behind on plate), pnut/almond/sunbutter on crackers, edamame in pod, fruit & cheese stick, yogurt and for b’fast EVERY day per request, bowl of Kashi or cheerios (no milk) with a “milkshake” -made with splash of milk & OJ, greek yogurt, frozen fruit (berries/peaches/maybe banana), frozen veggies (pureed cubes of kale/spinach/broccoli/cauliflower/sweet potato/etc) + ground flaxseed & scoop of protein powder. They drink it up and I figure although it has a bit of (natural) sugar given the fruit/milk, at least they are getting some hidden veggie, LOTS of protein & good omega fats!

    By Claycrew on November 11, 2011 at 05:46 PM
  • Thanks for the smoothie recipe—I never thought to freeze veggie cubes for use in smoothies.  Great idea, can’t wait to try it!

    By Jennifer Davis on November 12, 2011 at 08:58 PM
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