I am glad that my teenage son’s friends like to hang out at our house, but every weekend they eat so much food!
I don’t want to send them away, but between snacks, soda and takeout, it is getting very expensive to entertain these young guests.
How can we support their gatherings and still have money for our family groceries?
Hungry Like a Teen
Dear Hungry Like a Teen,
That’s so great that you are being supportive of your son and his friends! Yes, teenage boys sure eat a lot — especially junk food! Here are some tips I have thought of, and I’m sure you’ll get more great ideas from my readers. Thanks for sending in your question!
- Have a designated cupboard where the teens know they are allowed to get snacks. Keep it stocked with inexpensive items from discount grocery stores or bulk warehouse deals. Do the same with beverages. Have the ones they may drink in a set place. They can survive on off-name brands or water. Something like a SodaStream or flavor drops for water might be fun for them as well.
- To keep open snacks from going stale, or to discourage the teens from noshing full boxes of an item, use containers to separate the snack into portion sizes. This is less expensive than buying snacks in individual sized portions. Reusable plastic containers will save on buying bags.
- For less expensive meals, have pizza dough, cheese and sauce available with instructions for making their own pizza. They can also make the entire pizza recipe from scratch! Other easy meals they can put together are tacos, nachos, spaghetti, and breakfast foods such as pancakes or omelets. Just keep things like taco shells, rice, refried beans and taco sauce on hand and let the guys do the work. If they are hungry and know what they can help themselves to eat or make, they will be resourceful.
Remember, while you want to be accommodating to some degree, it’s ok to set boundaries! If they are hungry enough, they can have one of the things you make available to them. There is no need for a hungry teen to eat the meal you are saving for your family or drink all your beverages. They should also be respectful of your home and clean up any mess they make.
Letters from Sunnybrook
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