Being the mom of two teenagers, I feel like I was adequately prepared for some parts of this stage and there are others that no one warned me about! When anyone says “teenager,” what comes to mind? Probably eye rolls and attitude, boyfriends and girlfriends, and curfews, right? Maybe you think about the amount of food it takes to feed a growing hormonal body. But have you ever stopped to think about what they are fueling those bodies with? Sometimes I am proud because my teens pick healthy options like salads and fruit for their lunches at school, or pass up McDonald’s for some Chipotle bowls at the mall. And then there are the other times…
For the best results, why don’t I let the teens tell you how best to fuel a growing body. They know, after all and you don’t need to try to tell them (eyeroll):
Make sure to drink your Dad’s favorite coffee out of your Mom’s favorite mug. If at all possible, use the last K cup and don’t tell anyone. Immediately leave that empty mug on the floor on the far side of your bed to mold and fill with dust, which of course will stick to the sugar sludge that covers the bottom. If taking your coffee to go, use a travel mug and never return it to the kitchen, ever.
When making breakfast, do not offer to make anyone else any. Burn those eggs until they form a molten crust on your Mom’s dinner size skillet. Leave the pan on the stove, and take a plate of eggs to your bedroom. Eat half and leave the other half to congeal on your dresser. For good measure, throw your basketball uniform on the plate at some point before the eggs stop being sticky.
More times than not, you will be at school during this meal. Make sure to use most of your lunch period to talk to friends that you have class with for seven hours a day, practice with five days a week, spend weekends with at games, and send Snaps of the ceiling to whenever possible. If there is any time left at all, drink an energy drink and eat flaming hot Cheetos out of the vending machine. Absolutely do not go through the lunch line and eat anything that the school has prepared and served to you. I know they say it’s part of a balanced diet, but in reality, it’s not going to help you grow at all and is a waste of your time.
If you are lucky enough to be outside of school for lunch time, do not go to a restaurant between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Be sure to hold out long enough that you can eat your entire day’s calories in one sitting, which should be between 3pm and 5pm. Then, head home and wonder why your mom is in the kitchen at 5:30pm making food. So weird.
Go ahead and sit down with your family at “dinner time” and proceed to dislike about 55% of the choices, especially the stuff you loved as a toddler. Fill your plate with whatever carb your mom added as a side, and if you can take enough to start a fight with your siblings, even better. Be sure that you remind your parents that they NEVER have any food in the house and you are at risk for starvation pretty much every day. Then, when they try to tell you about all the fresh food in the fridge or freezer that just needs to be prepared, explain to them that you meant real food like potato chips and pizza rolls.
Retreat to your room while the kitchen is cleaned and eventually your parents will retire for the evening. Now is your time. Hit the pantry and collect anything in a bag or box. The boxes can just be emptied and left in the pantry, but the bags definitely need to be taken to your room. Eat no more than half of what’s in the bag and leave it in your room to get stale. Extra points if you can leave it on the floor and cover it with clothes or dump just a bit to track into the carpet. If you want to look through the fridge for leftovers, try to pull any defrosting meat out and leave it on the counter while you dig through the shelves. Forget to put it back in the fridge so that your mom can make a big deal about it in the morning when it’s no longer safe to use. Who pays $27 for beef anyway?
2am Snack Time
Hit the kitchen again. Use the microwave to make some popcorn. If you can, start the microwave and leave, then you’ll be able to burn the first bag, and you’ll have a better handle on the amount of time you need for the second bag. Burnt popcorn odor dissipates easily, so your parents won’t even know you made it while you should have been sleeping. Take a few swigs out of the OJ or milk carton while you’re right there by the fridge.