I mean, they either eat constantly or they don’t want to eat at all. And to make it worse, they all want to eat different things at different times.
I can’t keep up! When they come in from school (and they all appear at different times), they’re desperate for food. They stuff their faces with the first thing that comes to hand, then complain their heads off that they’re still starving after another half hour.
How I long for the good old days…the little sweetie pies who used to be happy with a banana and a glass of milk after school. Simpler times. But those days are long gone. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly when they changed into carb-devouring pizza monsters, but that’s what they are now.
Of course, we all know teens need more food than when they were younger. Apparently a young teenage boy needs up to 2600 calories a day, with girls needing up to 2200 calories a day. But it’s not that I don’t want to feed them – I just don’t want to have to constantly feed them between the hours of 4.00pm and whenever they decide to fall asleep.
So I decided on radical action! I’ve released them back into the wild to fend for themselves! Well sort of. ‘The wild’ is the fridge. And by ‘fend for themselves’, I mean the oven. Doesn’t sound too harsh does it, but the wailing and despair when I announced the new regime! You’d think I’d banned chicken nuggets for good.
The new plan is easy enough. I just make sure that whatever food we have, it’s not too unhealthy and easily heat-up-able. Yes, that does mean mini pizzas and chicken nuggets, but the rule is you don’t get to eat something like a pizza without having fruit and water with it. So at least there’s a balance.
There’s also method in my madness. As a madly busy self employed mum, it just isn’t feasible to constantly leap up and down to prepare food to order. They need to learn a little independence, learn how to use an oven, and learn that whilst some foods are really appealing (like nuggets and hotdogs etc), they don’t fill you up, give you much energy or satisfy your hunger pangs for very long at all.
Are they enjoying the journey? Well let’s just say…no, not at all! I never expected they would. But they are learning about food, particularly that it doesn’t work well to just binge on whatever tastes good.
They’re also gradually learning to appreciate much more the effort I put into a lovely cooked meal every evening. They’re now much more aware that a home-cooked spag bol takes miles better than a bought one, and that there’s actual fun involved in preparing food.
Good progress all round. Now on to the next big challenge – the washing up! Anyone fancy volunteering?