These boys can eat what seems like their body weight daily. It’s no joke. I always say I got the better end of the deal in terms of billet fees because my grocery bill went down almost that much when he was away playing hockey. If you’ve done some math and think you can make a little money from billeting, I’m here to tell you that you might want to consider a different side hustle. It is truly astonishing how much hockey boys can eat, and I don’t know of a single person who has ever come out ahead financially on the deal. Thankfully, most billet families do it for the intangible rewards billeting brings. If you’re going to do this, I have a few suggestions for you here that hopefully save at least a little bit of your sanity (and money!).
First, get them eating some sort of protein in the mornings. I have found that when my son eats protein for the first meal of the day, he doesn’t eat nearly as much junk food the rest of the day. Show them how to cook eggs, or make some breakfast burritos and stick them in the freezer for them to nuke and go. Keep hard boiled eggs on hand for another simple grab and go meal or make up some yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt,fruit, and granola or nuts. Other breakfast ideas include oatmeal, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, or even mini quiches. Get them involved in the meal prep weekly by packaging up ingredients and putting them away for the week so they’re more likely to eat what they had a hand in making. Yes, that trick you used on him when he was 6 to get him to eat more vegetables still works at 19.
If they aren’t a fan of breakfast foods, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a ham sandwich or a bowl of chili for breakfast, either. Cold cuts and cheese works, too. If pancakes are acceptable for dinner, what’s wrong with a little spaghetti for breakfast? The important thing is to get them eating a quality breakfast to get their minds and bodies prepared for their day. Real food. No PopTarts.
The keys for me to keeping my grocery bill down and making sure this kid actually eats what I buy is to buy in bulk and prep it immediately. If I’m intending that huge container of Greek yogurt to be used in parfaits, I make up those parfaits as soon as I get home from the grocery store. Veggies, fruits, cheese, and summer sausage get cut up immediately and put into snack sized containers. Bonus tip on apple slices--lemon lime soda works if you don’t have lemon juice to prevent browning. Now you can cut your own and skip the pricey packaged ones!
I have a designated shelf in the fridge for snacks, and it all gets put there so it’s easy to grab. I even remove the outer cardboard packaging from those packs of fruit cups. I want to remove as many barriers as possible to him reaching for the healthy stuff. Teenage boys can be lazy creatures at times. I’ve even gone as far as prepackaging dips or making up my own Lunchables, though truth be told, I call those “snackables” because they aren’t lunch for anyone except maybe a toddler. Also, prepackaging some things stops them from eating the entire container in one sitting!
I also rely heavily on my freezer. I’ll do marathon baking days of quick breads or cookies, or even Chex Mix, and freeze it in smaller batches. If I’m making a meal that freezes well, I’ll double it or more and stick single servings in the freezer for nights when I don’t have time to cook, though when my son is home, those freezer meals are usually his late night snacks, but hey….real food beats junk every time!
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