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Hungry 13 year old boy on the loose after school

Any ideas of healthy snacks to stock for my son, 13, who is growing like a weed and comes home after school ready to eat anything? Peanut butter and milk and apples are mainstays, but what else?

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    1. Some snacks that work for us: English muffin pizzas; quesadillas; smoothies made with yogurt, soy milk and fruit; a "trail mix" with cheerios, cashews, raisins; hot oatmeal. Looking forward to seeing other replies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jessinEC

        +1 on the english muffin pizzas and quesadillas. I used to make a little pizza for myself a few times a week after school. My mom just kept shredded mozzarella in the fridge and small jars of tomato sauce. I'd make it in the microwave and didn't mind the sogginess.

        My mom used to also keep paper towel-lined bowls of washed fruit in the fridge for us too--sliced strawberries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries--so we could just stick our hands in there and snack until dinner. Same with sliced carrots, celery, and peppers, and she bought little individual-serve containers of ranch dressing for dipping.

        Other standbys were bags of Boar's Head sliced turkey and freshly sliced provolone so we could make a quick sandwich, or just roll them up with a pickle slice. Hummus and pita chips. Popcorn. String cheese. PB&J. And boy, do I miss these: Stouffer's French Bread Pizzas in the freezer. Those put my english muffin pizzas to shame...

      2. When our son was 13, he'd come home from school and open the refrigerator (which was always quite well stocked) then remark "there's nothing to eat in here". He wanted something he could pick up and take with him to whatever activity was planned for the next minute; he didn't want to assemble anything. Making snacks ahead of time works out quite well, but we found we needed to get his input on what was in the snack. A sandwich, made with something he liked, was one good solution. Flour tortilla rolls with various ingredients combined with a tasty sauce (that could be enjoyed cold or at room temperature) were also good choices. Pasties can be enjoyed at room temperature and the filling options for those little pies are endless.

        1. Hi all,

          Having survived three teen-age boys at the same time, I offer my humble suggestions...

          Oatmeal raisin cookies. Apricot bars. Bananas.


          2 Replies
          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

            Me too! We should compare notes. We went through peanut butter and bowls of cereal. We always had fruit around too.

            1. re: sueatmo


              I bought cheese in 10 pound blocks at Smart & Final. And loaves and loaves of San Luis Sourdough.

              One discovery for me was if I had Pinquito beans simmering on the stove for a BBQ dinner, I'd better have started out with double what was actually needed. Every single person (me included...) who went through that kitchen ended up with a bowl of beans. Before they got their final seasoning mixture, it was beans with butter, salt and ground pepper.

              Yummm... Gotta have those Pinquitos if you're doing a real Santa Maria BBQ!


          2. Try keeping some baked, breaded chicken legs in the fridge. They're easy to take on the go and he probably needs the extra protein. They're even better if you mix the seasoned bread crumb mixture with parmesan cheese.

            Also, what about beef jerky, bagels with cream cheese, cold pizza, celery stalks stuffed with a cheese mixture?

            1. i can't believe no one mentioned a bowl of cereal! that was my favorite after-school snack.

              3 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                It's not a bowl for growing boys - it's an entire box. Seriously - I'd wake up or come home to empty boxes of cereal. I remember hiding the 'junk' ie; chips just so they would last more than a day. Hungry boys will grab the nearest thing that won't take time to fill up their stomachs. Uncooked ramen noodles anyone?

                1. re: JerryMe

                  Yes, it still amazes me to recall that when I was a 15 year old boy, I spent a period of time where I'd ride home on the bus from school every day, having just bought half a dozen jelly donuts at the bakery near the school. Generally, I'd have finished 5 by the time the bus got me home. I can't recall exactly how I dealt with the 6th, as it's all 30 years ago. But I do know that somehow I never gained weight. Those were the days!

                  1. re: JerryMe

                    okay, then get the kid one of those large eco-paks of cereal and a gallon of milk!

                2. baked (or nuked) potatoes with various toppings
                  make ahead of time and freeze waffles or pancakes then pop in toaster to reheat
                  cottage cheese and canned peaches or pears
                  yogurt mixed wit fruit and granola
                  tortellini salad
                  make up polenta ahead of time and re-heat a piece and top with marinara and cheese
                  nachos topped with refried beans or chili and cheese
                  muffins/cinamon rolls/scones
                  meat and cheese kabobs or fruit and cheese
                  grilled cheese and soup
                  meatballs can also be made in large batches and frozen - reheat for sanwiches, with pasta or by themselves

                  1. Teenage boys are looking for portable, ready made protein. The English Muffin pizzas can be nuked easily, breaded chicken cutlets or strips in the fridge are also a good idea, and those can be eaten cold.

                    In as much as I avoid prepared foods, I kept a bunch of higher quality nukable meals in the freezer. Look for low sodium/fat choices. Turkey with mashies and veggies is a decent after school snack, and wasn't big enough at 300 calories to ruin dinner, especially with what young boys need to eat. It isn't a bad alternative and is better than cookies. The pasta alternatives were often just the right size, and were healthier choices than mac and cheese from a box.

                    1. Hot Pockets are currently the thing at my house -- they're in the freezer, crispy in the micro in 2-1/2 minutes, and are essentially a ham and cheese sandwich. Mine eats one when he gets home from school, then hangs at my elbow roaring for dinner an hour later.

                      We've come a long way from the toddler who I suspected was harvesting nutrients from the air he breathed because he ate like a bird in those days.

                      1. I still keep burritos in the freezer. (My son is no longer a teenager, but he IS back home.) Every couple of weeks or so, I pick up a big package of tortillas and put together a bunch. Individually wrapped and frozen, they can be reheated just like the commercial ones.

                        Also, we store leftovers from dinner in single-serving containers rather than all together. That way we can just grab one and reheat it when needed - lunch, after work, middle of the night, whatever. (As a bonus, it gives me a better idea which meals went over better - when the leftovers are STILL there after a few days, I don't need to make THAT again!)

                        1. i have 3 girls at home and right now our thing is homemade granola mixed with yogurt and fresh fruit.
                          either that or a couple of cookies. :)

                          1. Nuts are good for this. I like pistachios, because my son has to work a bit getting each nut, and that helps to slow him down and keep him from stuffing down more food than he actually needs.

                            I almost always have a smoothie pitcher in the fridge: we make one and it lasts 2 or 3 days. I get whey protein, flax seed, wheat germ and lots of good stuff into him that way. The basis of the smoothie is bagged frozen fruit and berries, soy milk, fruit juice, banana, and some Greek yogurt and honey.

                            Frozen veggies are also a quick prep. Peas and carrots with a dab of butter and salt...

                            1. Gotta say all below are right: I had bags of pizza bits, bagle bites, boxes and boxes of cereal. I know we try to be all healthy, but the microwave and a bowl of something are your friends at this point. Mufin pizzas worked until they wanted to make it their own. Yogurt, granola, sandwich stuff, and mainly cereal and pizza leftovers fueled our now healthy two kids. This is the time, honestly, when I think quantity works more than quality.

                              1. Peanut butter and bananas on wheat freezer waffles
                                Wheat tortillas wrapped around refried beans, shredded cheese, salsa; whatever else he likes.
                                Bowl of premade tuna or egg salad, for afterschool sandwiches
                                Hugely successful for us was (deli) falafels and (purchased) hummus
                                Does he like soup? There are some very decent shelf-stable (boxed) soups out there; we liked Tabachnik's the best.
                                Hardboiled eggs, sunflower seeds, precut fruits, cottage cheese if he eats it.
                                Premade breakfasty type sandwiches to be reheated in microwave
                                And I had one who couldn't get enough TJ's sushi packs, but that got really expensive 'cause he could plow through three or four at a time, no sweat.
                                Teach him to make a smoothie with sherbet and lowfat milk and fruit
                                Good luck, and he's gonna be fine.

                                1. Hard boiled eggs, and you can devil them if he likes them better that way. Inexpensive easy portable protein.

                                  1. Somehow things that come in individual portions always go first. My kids will grab string cheese before cutting off a slice of good cheddar, even though they prefer the flavor of the latter.

                                    Portability's a factor, too. Homemade beef jerky and granola bars are the current favorites at my house. You can make them in bulk over the weekend and hope they make it to Friday.

                                    1. -if breakfasty foods appeal- mock egg mcmuffin (easy to do fast, even in micro), oatmeal, bagel slightly scooped toasted with cheese and filled with cottage cheese and salsa
                                      -ready-cooked rice with egg and veggies or leftover teriyaki
                                      -sweet potatoes with turkey and black beans

                                      1. He could do a lot worse than a Marie Callendars pot pie.

                                        1. Anything with an english muffin. PIzza, grilled cheese, spinach and cheese, peanut butter and raisins, cream cheese and olives. I used to love english muffins when I came home from school and they're very versatile.

                                          An omlette (with or without cheese and veggies) rolled in a tortilla. Healthy and filling, but not too much before dinner.

                                          Leftovers from last night's dinner- heated up or straight from the fridge.

                                          Whenever I make pasta, I make the full box, even though it's only two of us. I make small single portion size pyrexes of pasta mixed with sauce and leave them in the fridge. When my husband comes home from coaching, all he has to do is sprinkle with cheese (or not) and pop in the oven to heat up. If you're home before your son comes home, you can have it heated up and ready to go.

                                          Milkshakes or smoothies. You or your son can make them with fruit, milk, yogurt, ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate syrup.... the list is endless. If you do yogurt, ice, peanut butter and banana it's healthy and filling.

                                          1. My current teenaged eating machine likes to make nachos after school, which are easy for him to make himself using the microwave. A great thing about nachos is that all kinds of things can be put on them in addition to cheese and salsa. Recent examples from my house include refried beans, leftover taco meat or leftover meatloaf cut into chunks.

                                            1. Teach him to make scrambled eggs in the microwave (if having him use the stove is still verboten) -- there's something about the "I made it myself" that cranks up the appetite...but it gets them to eat things you WANT them to eat!

                                              I taught mine to make scrambled eggs on the stovetop a couple of weeks ago, and he went through 1-1/2 dozen eggs in three days -- it was like a new toy he couldn't put down. (my egg lady looked at me on the third day and asked what I was doing with all these eggs, because I'd already bought a dozen this week!) As he was polishing off yet another plate of them, he looked at me and said that it was really weird that people live on McDonald's and frozen pizza, because scrambled eggs aren't exactly rocket science, and they're a lot cheaper and a lot better for you (and the skies opened, and the angels sang!)

                                              I showed him how to make quesadillas in my Foreman grill, too...that jag only lasted a couple of days, but still...it's real food.

                                              Next up is making them in the micro...and omelettes...