I can't believe how much my teenager eats

posted by Jeff | Monday, October 16, 2023, 5:00 PM | comments: 0

It's funny how that small, adorable creature you make starts out by saying words funny, laughs at everything and is a messy eater. They inevitably become a teenager, at which point they mostly seem to eat.

For Simon, it all seemed to happen so fast. It's like one day he woke up and his voice changed and he needed deodorant. And now, all he wants to do is eat constantly. That's challenging in some ways because for actual meals, he still doesn't eat very many things. And look, I'm not going to pretend that I can meaningfully change that, because it's not out of stubbornness or a personality flaw, it's just an ASD thing and I'm like that to this day. I'm a little scarred by being nearly force-fed foods that, from a texture standpoint, caused me to gag.

Fortunately, he does eat a lot of peripheral snack things. In addition to all of the crappy high-calorie processed foods, he does like to eat certain fruit and vegetables, which means he's got a one-up on me in that sense. I mean, he wants to dunk apple slices in peanut butter, sure, but I suspect that's fine for his age. His dinner rotation though tends to be mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese and hot dogs. Very similar to my "safe" foods at that age. He's recently adopted cheeseburgers, so that's at least a thing he can get anywhere. Still doesn't care for chicken tenders and he's picky about pizza. The newest thing is that he apparently likes scrambled eggs, which is great because we're not above having breakfast for dinner around here.

I just can't get over the volume of food he wants. He'll suck down two cheeseburgers (from McDonald's, gross), a bunch of fries, and he could repeat all of it if we allowed it. Maybe it's just the time passage of having a child later than most people, because I don't remember eating like this. But then I think harder, and yeah, I guess I do remember it. I remember being able to put away entire pizzas myself. I guess the problem is that it's not obvious to transition into more reasonable habits as an adult, and I suspect that's part of the reason we have an obesity problem in this country. We can load up on crap to some extent as teens because our bodies are going crazy. But then you turn 18 and your metabolism starts slowing down. Then in your early 20's it seems like, for some, it stops.

So I sit thinking about making dinner for the boy, and wonder if I can proactively make enough to satisfy him first try. Probably not.


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