For people with teens and/or middle schoolers at home. Food is going to be top priority. Let’s talk about it a little.
I wanted to reach out and share our experience with transitioning to homeschooling and working from home and what that looks like as far as food needed in the home.
Since I do not feel that I need to write about what we did before, because that would be more comedy than remedy, I am going to talk about our current age group which is middle school and teens.
How much do teens eat?
We already know that the amount of food that this age group eats is insane. Where do they put it all? So people may say that you are hoarding. We know you are not. We have to feed them, and when they are going to be home all day long, we have to feed them more.
My kids were not always homeschooled, so I understand the transition phase you are going through right now. The pure shock and horror of having a almost 6 foot tall mini you at home all day can be a little overwhelming and off putting. But you will get through it. Remember, they are mini versions of you, so they carry your determination, and their skill level can match yours as well.
Is it normal for a teenager to eat a lot?
Yes. As they go through puberty, their changes in metabolism will make them hungrier. Allowing for the extra food, allows their bodies to support the extra growth.
Where does it all go?
Let me tell you, when my kids hit middle school, they started eating more and more. By the time they hit high school, it was like feeding three grown men in my house.
Let’s look at a few things:
They normally snack at home, which means now more than ever, snacks are going to be important. Give them guidelines. We tell our kids to pick 2 or 3 snacks a week. Those must last you for the week. IF they don’t they don’t but don’t complain about it, and you most certainly won’t be getting more.
Teens will want bigger meals for lunch. Let’s face it, no teen is eating a lunchable for lunch anymore. So we make our lunches the size of dinner. Sometimes Sunday dinner if they are super hungry.
We try to have lunch about 11am and that way it gives them the time to be able to have their snacks. They will oftentimes snack right after breakfast, in the homeschool world we call this second breakfast. No, seriously it’s a thing.
Our dinners tend to be larger portions, with a bit more starch to help them feel satiated. We want them to eat well, fill their bellies and then be able to have a snack by 7pm so that they go to bed and wake up for breakfast. This will depend on your teens schedule time they go to bed too.
How often should a teenager eat?
Usually to keep their metabolism up and to help the growth hormone it is every 3 to 4 hours in our house.
There is a sample of our schedule below.
Our kitchen is closed at 7pm
Yours may close at 8 or 9 pm
But, we close ours because I got sick and tired of waking up to make breakfast and having to clean out dishes, messes and miscellaneous trash that made it to the sink and counter by the trash, but not actually make it into the trash.
So you do what works for your family. But we close our kitchen, this also helps them to want to eat in the morning.
Now, an alternative can be that you make meals and put them in the fridge for them to heat in the microwave. Or maybe you have a list of things they can make to eat and the recipes so that they can make some of their own meals. As long as there is no waste I am ok with that.
I tend to be the main one making meals, then my husband, then son and daughter come in after that. We have them helping in the kitchen, if you haven’t seen one of our live cooking shows we used to do you can find them here.
This video shows a recipe, but also the size of portions that my kids were eating in late middle school.
Bulgogi Burrito Recipe Facebook Live
This is all about making sure you set up a system. The transition will not be easy, no one loves change. But sometimes we have to pivot on a dime, and then make adjustments as we go.
Change also does not have to be difficult.
It can be a little painful, but there should be a system, everyone is on board with.
Make sure to sit down with your family with some of the guidelines we gave above, work out a schedule (it can be loose too, does not need to be military style) and work from there.
Don’t be afraid to make changes and adjustments along the way. Stick to your core values and you will be fine.
Here is our meal plan schedule for an early rise:
Please note: there are time ranges because we are not hard and fast about what time we eat. Sometimes someone has a class or meeting they can’t change, which means that we have to be a little flexible on those days during those times. Or, it may just boil down to the fact that we forgot to take something out of the freezer to defrost. It happens. Give yourself some grace.
7-9am Second Breakfast / Snack
6-7pm Second dinner / Snack
The second breakfast/dinner will really depend on how hungry the kids are.
Sometimes, it really is like they didn’t even eat. Even though we gave them pasta and protein. It just seems to not even matter. But on the days they are not super hungry that is their snack time.
They can eat something they chose or leftovers in the fridge, or sometimes I make food just for second breakfast/dinner. We also keep a handy supply of items for them to eat that they can just open and heat or cook.
Why we do what we do
So when people tell me or anyone else with middle schoolers and teens that we are hoarding. I used to say, let me send them to your house for all meals. It’s not that they are being mean, cruel or any of that. They just don’t know.
Because they have never homeschooled, and they don’t understand. Kids can eat out of boredom.
Having a schedule helps to prevent that boredom eating. It also will help you to keep your food supply up, and your kids fed during these changes that are going through their bodies.
I hope this helps, and gives you a good baseline to start with. Talk soon.
If you have any questions and don’t want to post them below. Please feel free to email me. I am more than happy to answer.
If I get enough questions and they are good for everyone to know, I will share them, without your name or contact info and share my answers so that we can help each other out as a community.
We are not medical doctors, and this is not medical advice. This is what we do for our family.