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What Moms Can Do About the Hungry, Growing Boy

What Moms can do about the Hungry, Growing Boy
My crazy, hungry son on vacation.

If you have a growing boy, you may recognize the ups and downs of his appetite.

Lately, for me and my guy, the appetite is mostly up.

A growing boy is an amazing creature.

‘Hungry’ is a low key description of what’s going on inside the boy body.

With his feet bigger than mine, his hands the same size as mine, and confidence coming out of nowhere, my growing boy keep me on my toes.

The  most notable change I can see has been the uptick in eating.

We are back to the every two to three hour eating schedule, the structure most associated with toddlerhood!

To give you an idea of what’s going on in my world, here’s a run down of what my son ate one day on vacation {read about why the food choices are much more liberal when our family is on vacation}:


2, plate-size, chocolate chip pancakes with butter and syrup

1 cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

3 pieces of bacon

random bites of home-fries

2 bites of cinnamon roll

2 bites of chorizo


4 ounces of leftover steak

1 peach

3 cups of popcorn

Beach Snack:

2-3 handfuls of low fat Cheez-Its (maybe more)

1 cheeseburger

1 snow cone

[More ideas for healthy beach snacks!]


3 pieces of toast with butter


3 ounces of swordfish

2 ounces of salmon

½-3/4 cup of sautéed green beans

cucumbers and onions


1 ½ cups high quality ice cream

Thankfully, my boy is active!

He was out on his boat for a couple of hours, skim-boarded, shoveled sand, and played at the beach, and generally didn’t really “sit down” for most of the day.

Even as a dietitian, my growing boy’s appetite, which is very different from that which I experienced with my older girls, has taken me by surprise.

What Moms Can Do about the Growing Boy

This high appetite stage has reminded me of my “Mom job.”

Feeding him.

Staying ahead of his hunger, so his eating is healthy.

I know that if I get behind his hunger, he will opt for a quick fix option. In order to make sure he is fed properly, I have to be on top of my feeding game.

My Plan for Feeding My Growing Boy:

3 substantial meals every day with as many food groups as I can work in.

2 or more planned snacks, at planned times. If I fail to provide these, I suspect there will be pantry raids and unhealthy food choices.

Have cut up fruit on the counter or in the fridge, in the case of grazing. He’s a big fruit lover, and grazing on fruit is not a problem for me.

Raw veggies and his all-time fave: Ranch dressing for dipping. I’ll have these on hand in the fridge. And I will let him know about their availability.

Filling foods are nutrient-rich (full of nutrition) so that his appetite, taste buds, and level of satisfaction are covered.

I’ll target things like fiber-rich cereal and bread, protein sources like deli meat and cheese, and healthy fats like avocado and olives.

Growing Boys are Hungry!

Am I surprised? Yes.

While I’ve always known this was coming, the reality is well, real.

I have a game plan and know what’s going on with his appetite and growth, so I’ll be ahead of the game, so he can be ahead of his hunger.

If you have a growing boy, what’s your game plan?

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  1. I’m 12 year old girl and my birthday is in 2 weeks. I have been wating like a vacuum cleaner. Every morning when wake I’m starving and every night I go to sleep my stomach rumbles again. Is this just a sign of becoming a teen?

  2. My oldest boy (now 23) was a giant black hole for food in his teens. Careful snack planning is the key, I agree 100%, especially with high school students who have a lot of opportunity and peer pressure to eat useless calories. Every Sunday I made a big batch of veggie and bean chilli and baked medium sized potatoes and placed them all in the fridge for easy access. It was a great after school snack, filling, lots of veg and protein and it rarely interfered with his vigor for a healthy, hardy dinner. Letting him add some low fat mozz and sour cream even provided that “treat” like feel teens seem to crave at times. Several of his friends made the snack suggestion to their parents.