to ask how much your 20-something son eats?

(16 Posts)
Summerbluues Sat 06-Aug-16 11:54:45

my 25 year old has recently moved back home. He's moving to Australia for a year in October, so has moved back home to save up some money which is fine by us. Since he's been home though I've been staggered at how little he eats.

He ate a lot as a teen like most boys, then went off to uni and moved in with friends as soon as he graduated so I really haven't witnessed his eating habits in a long time. He's 5ft11 and slim (around 10st5). I always though he was naturally just a skinny lad but I am getting concerned with just how little he eats.

He quit his job 4 weeks ago and at the does 2 hours of tutoring every evening and local council work but he is at home quite a lot. Generally a day looks like this-

Wakes up between 8-9. He's never been a breakfast type so will have a bowl of cereal (always tiny portion) at around 12. So that counts as lunch too.
An hour later he'll snack maybe on a chocolate biscuit and bag of crisps, or few crackers.
He goes to the fridge to hack at the cheese about 2-3 times a day.
And then dinner is whatever I have cooked. Depending on what I've had that day it can be anything from a light chicken salad to a spag-bol, carbonara, pizza etc. But even then again he eats really tiny portions, probably what you'd give a child! I buy thin crust pizza and I remember from being at university myself and living with lots boys how they could wolf down a whole take-away pizza but my son will eat 2, at a push 3 small slices of thin crust and be "full". After dinner he will sometimes have a yogurt or a piece of fruit. When he first moved home and I'd make myself a chicken salad for example I just assumed he'd have that + a lot more. I thought he'd probably at least bake a potato or have some bread with it or just have a whole other meal after. I'm fairly sure most men aren't too happy with a simple meal of chicken breast, lettuce, tomato cucumber and carrot!

I think on average he eats under 1500 cals a day. He also seems to quite obsessive with his eating habits. My 20 y/o DD bought him a magnum icecream the other day after getting one for herself too and he immediately put in the freezer because it basically "wasn't the right time of day" for icecream. He said he'd have it as his pudding after dinner but didn't want to eat it in the afternoon. I know that sounds like a minor thing to worry about but he's often like this. I mean he's so strict with himself about when he can eat particular foods.

I spoke to my sister who has two sons 20 and 22 and she was also amazed by how little he eats. He isn't all that active in fairness unlike my nephews who are very sporty so I understand he would not need as much as them but still..he eats far less than my DD who is 5ft5, not sure on weight but a size 10 so a slim build. She often says he actually makes he feel bad for the "amount" she eats although I wouldn't say she eats a lot at all!

Am I right to be concerned? I have no idea if he genuinely has a tiny appetite- and if so why? Anxiety/depression?? Although he's never mentioned anything like that. Or could this be a form of eating disorder? If this was my DD I'd immediately be worried about it being an ED but it's easy with boys to not consider it but perhaps I should?

SlinkyVagabond Sat 06-Aug-16 12:02:58

IT doesn't seem lots. My 25 yr old works nights, so often misses breakfast, might come and graze on something late afternoon then eats dinner with us. He can eat a huge meal then. He takes wraps or sandwiches for during the night. If he's not working will often have a fry up or the like at lunch. He is skinny but muscly, but he was a very chunky adolescent.(saw himself as a "fat lad" for a long time)Yours though doesn't seem to be eating much. Does he do much to burn calories?

scaryteacher Sat 06-Aug-16 12:07:39

Mine is home for the summer, and my bread, milk, apple, cheese, ham, lurpak and peanut butter bill has gone through the roof! I might do chicken salad for dinner, but there will be some form of carb with it.

If my lad was eating as little as yours I'd be concerned.

BikeGeek Sat 06-Aug-16 12:37:15

Going to the fridge to hack at cheese two or three times a day doesn't sound like someone who is watching what they're eating tbh. From what you say his diet doesn't sound great but I wouldn't be surprised if it's nearer 2000 calories which isn't a problem for someone less active.

junebirthdaygirl Sat 06-Aug-16 15:44:15

My ds 21 is working near home for the summer. Breakfast at 8.30is 2 weetabix with milk. Lunch bought in work is chicken / salad roll . Dinner is with us in the evening. Likes meat so eats that part but not much veg or carbohydrates. Snacks on crisps and fruit while watching TV. Might have a sandwich before bed but usually doesn't bother. Would never eat ice-cream chocolate or dessert 90or drink coke etc as has no interest and never had. He is 5 10 and 10 and a half stone. Same build and weight as his older db and his dad. Some alcohol at the weekends probably adds calories but not a huge amount. He has never once in his life paid any interest in calories. I think when they finish growing they are not as hungry as when they were teens.

If my DS was eating yours I'd be concerned. 20 year old home from uni for summer is basically nocturnal but gets up late lunch time, makes something like a tin of tuna mixed with an avocado on toast with mushrooms and spinach, or last nights leftovers then eats a huge meal with us later on, snacks in between. he is active, goes to the gym and is slim and fit. sounds like your son is food aware but not quite managing it properly. so the cheese raids rather than a slightly bigger portion are possibly not the greatest. have a chat with him, he may be conscious of trying to limit his intake and may just need a bit of guidance.

or maybe he just doesn't have a huge appetite and is fine?

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Aug-16 16:14:09

That sounds like a completely normal way for an adult to eat confused

I would have done the same with the Magnum because it would have spoiled my appetite before dinner, and I would enjoy it better after dinner anyway.

My 24yr old DS eats in a similar way to how you've described and come to think of it, we probably all do in this house.

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Aug-16 16:17:37

Plus, unlike your DD and your nephews, being a 25 year old man he would have stopped growing.

Some adults just have naturally small appetites and some actually don't, but compared to others who eat more than they need, it just looks that way.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 06-Aug-16 16:26:04

Ds1 is 21- while he's home from University he's working with my dh's firm, labouring.

Cereal for breakfast
4 sandwiches for lunch, bag of crisps, apple, banana, chocolate bars.
Tea when he gets home with us or more often than not goes out with his mates and eats out.

He doesn't eat half as much as he used to before he left home.

TheFairyCaravan Sat 06-Aug-16 16:36:42

My 21yo is a soldier and exercises a lot so eats shed loads. He's injured afm, but ordinarily he'd run between 5-10 miles a day and go to the gym too. He's just doing upperbody and is on leave at present.

He has scrambled eggs and brown toast for breakfast.
Greek yoghurt with fruit for a snack.
Eggs in some shape or form, or chicken or tuna salad for lunch.
More yoghurt or peanut butter on toast for a snack.
Dinner is whatever I cook, something like curry, lasagne, roast etc.
He eats bits of cheese and apples through the day and drinks protein shakes after exercise.
Most mornings I come down to find he's cooked something like fish fingers after we've all gone to bed!
I bought him some peanut butter Magnums thinking he'd be all over them but he won't even touch them.

DS2 is 19. He has 3 Weetabix for breakfast
Beans on toast or a ham or cheese salad sandwich and a packet of crisps and fruit for lunch.
He'll have whatever we have for dinner and maybe a yoghurt and fruit.
He's not a snacker but eats the same size portions as DH. He will have an ice-cream or something if he fancies it though.

Both of them are home at the moment, the shopping bill has doubled!

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 06-Aug-16 16:42:20

I will add that ds2-19 has an appetite like nothing I've ever seen.

He is as skinny as a Butcher's pencil, where he puts it God only knows, we're bbqing tomorrow and he'll demolish a huge amount of food by himself.

Summerbluues Sat 06-Aug-16 16:43:49

thanks everyone. Maybe I am worrying and he just has a very small appetite but nothing to be concerned about.

I also work with a couple of lads around his age. They both apparently have breakfast before work but will have something like a muffin/cereal bar around 10am. Lunch for them seems to be at least 2 wraps or sandwiches, crisps, fruit. Or they'll get a hot meal from the canteen which will be a good portion. Sometimes they'll pop out for lunch and have a burger or something. And they've both told me they often eat out in the evening if not it's quick food like pizza/pasta. So neither seem to be all that healthy but just a much bigger appetite.

It's just the fact that a tiny bowl of cereal (usually something very light like rice crispies) is all he has for breakfast/lunch. Then a bag of crisps, a penguin bar and 2 lumps of cheese seems fine until dinner when he eats the same if not less than my DD and I do. My DH is stunned by how he seems so full on such a small amount but has given up saying anything to him about it. He had friends round for a bbq a few weeks ago and all the boys had piles more than him! I saw he had one chicken leg, one lamb kebab and a bit of salad. that was around 1pm and by the evening he was "still full" so just had a cuppa soup..he hadn't had breakfast so that is all he ate all day. Same when he goes out for dinner he will always chose a lighter option from the menu like a salad.

I'll keep observing and see what comes of it but like some have said perhaps he naturally has a tiny appetite. He sometimes comments on how he feels self conscious because he is so skinny, and wants to workout more but is nervous to go to the gym with all the weight-lifting lads but I've told him he will never put on muscle eating so little!

also BikeGeek the way I break it down

Bowl of cereal and milk- 150 cals
Crisps- 140
Choc bar- 120
Cheesex2- no more than 300 (he doesn't take huge slices)
Dinner- like I said these vary hugely but sometimes it is as simple as fish and vegetables- so 300 max. Other times even if it is a spag-bol/curry his portions are so tiny I doubt they ever go above 500cals.
Fruit or yogurt after dinner- 100

So that, even with a bigger dinner, just scrapes above 1000calories. On a "hungry" day he may have another choc bar in the evening or something. I understand what you are saying that men just don't seem to calorie count as much so I'm not so concerned about that it's more the fact that he has such an abnormally small appetite. He doesn't seem stressed or anxious but I'm wondering if I should look further into it or just let him get on with it in his own way. Like I say if this was my DD I'd talk it through with her but somehow feel differently with him

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Aug-16 17:02:22

What is a 'tiny' bowl of cereal to you though?

To others it might be a 'normal' bowl of cereal.

Either way, he's a fully grown man and his appetite is just that - his appetite.

I'm a fully grown woman and when I read the 'What have you eaten today' threads, I realise that some people simply eat 3 or 4 times more than me because that's just their appetites.

It doesn't mean mine is particularly small.

TheFairyCaravan Sat 06-Aug-16 17:13:13

I eat hardly anything, tbh. DH used to be forever telling me I couldn't possibly be full and it pissed me off because I was. I usually eat breakfast and evening meal and that's plenty for me. Very, very rarely do I need lunch. Everybody is different.

Summerbluues Sat 06-Aug-16 18:05:04

WorraLiberty one of those small kellogs boxes in the multipacks. So that's about 20g of ricekrispies at around 77calories.

Just worried there are deeper issues but probably thinking too much into it.

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