For some reason, I had ventured into this summer thinking I might catch a break in the grocery department. My youngest was planning a backpacking trip right after school ended, a week at camp in June, and another week at camp in July. With all that time away, I wouldn’t have to buy as many groceries, right?
Wrong. Instead, my son has been on a feeding frenzy this summer. When he returned from three days of backpacking, he needed calories. And lots of them. With three days of hiking—and carrying a pack to boot—he had worked off most of the nearly non-existent fat reserve he maintains. His muscles needed fuel.
When he returned from camp, the story was nearly the same. The boys were active from sunrise until bedtime—classes and hiking and traipsing around the camp, uphill in all directions, it seemed. And the boys were responsible for cooking their own meals. Some days, the food was overcooked; some days, it was closer to raw. He ate, sure, but….
These teenagers, their hunger comes in layers. There is the: I just got up and I’m kinda hungry hunger. That one is easily satisfied with breakfast, or in the case of my oldest, who rises midday, lunch.
There is the: I’ve been at practice for three hours and I didn’t eat enough before I went. Please let me at the food NOW kind of hunger. That one requires some leftover dinner, generally a more substantial meal will satisfy this hunger.
My youngest has been experiencing the: I’ve been away [at camp, backpacking, etc.] working out all day and I haven’t had anything to eat all week but rehydrated pack food or food burned by the boys in my patrol kind of hunger. This is serious. This hunger requires hundreds maybe thousands of calories over a period of days to finally satisfy. In truth, I am not sure there is enough time between camp pick up last Saturday and camp drop off this Sunday to make a dent in that hunger. And the food at the grocery store is getting sparse from my frequent visits.
Catch a break on groceries? Not a chance. The money I don’t spend on the weeks my youngest is away is just a small down payment on the groceries for the following week. He is hungry, and he needs fuel for all of his summer activities. And he’s not the only one. I have three active teenagers, after all.
*[Image is a photo of the typical state of the food supply in my house.]