Teenagers and food waste, I am losing my mind.

(536 Posts)
JensonsAcolyte Tue 13-Apr-21 10:33:30

I don’t know if I’m being really fucking petty about this but I lost my shit yesterday after they went through a box of cereal in six hours.

Kids are 17 and 18. We also have a 9 year old. I buy nice treat food like a mug every week and the older kids just go through it like it’s going out of fashion. I’ve told them not to, obviously, begged and pleaded and shouted and sworn and nothing sinks in.

I’m at the point of thinking about locking the larder.

So on Sunday I bought a box of (overpriced junk) Krave because youngest DS loves it. He usually has a few pieces mixed in with his weetabix or porridge.

By yesterday morning it was gone. DS had got up at gone midnight and had half a box over two bowls, DD then had two bowls for breakfast, before I got up.

This is an ongoing battle. Also taking huge portions of food and not eating it. Dinner last night, DD took a huge pile and then picked out half of it (the aubergine she didn’t like) and left it on the side of her plate.

There’s a large Tupperware full of home made egg fried rice that one of them made on Saturday night while I was out and didn’t eat. I’ll be binning that in a minute.

They both like to cook but cook stupid things like a batch of thirty cheese straws. Or a huge macaroni cheese for one person. I’m constantly running out of milk, cereal, flour, eggs, pasta.

They are supposed to ask for food, which I hate making them do but have to, but then as soon as I’m out or in a meeting or even just in the fucking shower they are like locusts.

Any ideas? Is this par for the course with young adults? They are both skinny fuckers as well which is actually infuriating hmm considering all the shit they eat.

OP’s posts: |
Exhausted4ever Tue 13-Apr-21 10:36:04

I'd stop buying it if they can't control themselves

JensonsAcolyte Tue 13-Apr-21 10:37:59

Stop buying what though? They eat EVERYTHING. All the staples in the cupboard.

And I bought the cereal mainly for DS2 although wouldn’t have minded if they had say a normal
Sized bowl full each.

OP’s posts: |
edwinbear Tue 13-Apr-21 10:39:17

I'd be sending them to the shops to replace their younger siblings cereal for a start. That's beyond selfish, to nick all their 9 yr old brother's cereal.

FlibbertyGiblets Tue 13-Apr-21 10:41:24

Locking away food seems awful but I do see why it might be a good idea.
The food specifically for the youngest could be locked away?

JensonsAcolyte Tue 13-Apr-21 10:42:02

As much as I would love to make them do that, neither has any money at the moment. DD is about to start work (apprenticeship) and DS is in college and has rinsed all his picket money this month. Which is another bone of contention and a whole other thread.

OP’s posts: |
JensonsAcolyte Tue 13-Apr-21 10:44:15


Locking away food seems awful but I do see why it might be a good idea.
The food specifically for the youngest could be locked away?

That might not be a bad idea. They will complain that I’m buying treats for him and not them but, well, they should have thought of that.

I think lockdown fever is coming into this a bit too. They’re bored and eating to compensate.

OP’s posts: |
EmmaStone Tue 13-Apr-21 10:45:36

My DS13 does this - he's having a growth spurt and finds all the crap and eats it (so I then don't have biscuits to offer workmen or guests). My DH buys biscuits and hides them from us all lol!

I tend to either just buy tonnes or none. And if something is ear-marked, they get told how much they can/can't eat. DD15 is very good at asking, DS very good at sneaking...

FilledSoda Tue 13-Apr-21 10:45:47

If they were working I'd expect a contribution to the food spend.
I'd be angry too .
Even if the financial side is lost on them do they not realise a Tupperware of egg rice being binned is just wrong?
I'd give that to the birds btw .

justanotherneighinparadise Tue 13-Apr-21 10:46:02

I just do t keep things like that in the house. There’s porridge and they would be welcome to tuck into that. Eggs and pasta wouldn’t bother me.

Sarahlou63 Tue 13-Apr-21 10:46:27

Give them the budget and put them in charge of food buying for a few weeks on the understanding that once it's gone, it's gone. Good life lesson.

Triffid1 Tue 13-Apr-21 10:47:04

I don't have any specific advice but trying to remember - there were certain things we were allowed to eat as much of as we liked. Bread, fruit, potatoes, cheese spring to mind. Things like cereal or other treats were not allowed and I do know that it wouldn't have crossed our minds to touch those things without permission. But I'm not sure how our parents enforced that?

Having said that, I would do something similar - tell them what things are out of bounds. And there will be consequences if they don't obey. Those consequences to be worked out by you based on what's appropriate for you/them/your family.

When a late teen nephew stayed with us while working locally, I gave him a list of things he couldn't touch because they were for the kids lunchboxes. I also learnt, quickly, that if I offered him seconds which he then declined, I had to be very specific if I then subsequently decided there were sufficient for leftovers the next day as otherwise they would be demolished at 3 am.

trunumber Tue 13-Apr-21 10:47:35

I suspect making them pay will be the thing that makes a difference. They can pay out of their pocket money. When it starts having an impact on them financially I suspect they'll be more cautious about it

(On the flip side I'm really impressed with their cooking skills!)

AmelieTaylor Tue 13-Apr-21 10:48:06

What protein are they eating?

If they're making macaroni cheese & eating it, what's the problem?

Yes, eating all the Kraft Cereal was pretty selfish, but they're 17/18 how have you allowed this to be the way they are?

longsigh Tue 13-Apr-21 10:48:56

Give each one a box/fridge shelf and they eat theirs and no one else's? My three had a snack box each!

suspiria777 Tue 13-Apr-21 10:49:31

are they overweight or are they genuinely hungry?

JensonsAcolyte Tue 13-Apr-21 10:50:39

Ooh I like the idea of snack boxes.

Then they can go wild (to a point) but not impact on anyone else. Plus I love a good box.

OP’s posts: |
suspiria777 Tue 13-Apr-21 10:51:02

and just to add: eating food is not wasting it! It's supposed to be eaten.

DIshedUp Tue 13-Apr-21 10:52:41

At 17 and 18 they really shouldn't have to ask for food

Firstly I'd stop buying the junk, if they want junk they can get a job and buy it themselves

Secondly they clearly need the amount they are eating, so you need to have food they can eat lots of like bread pasta, cereal.

I think running out of milk flour, eggs and pasta is reasonable with two hungry teens. Eating their 9 yo siblings cereal is not

MyDcAreMarvel Tue 13-Apr-21 10:54:00

I find 17 and 18 year olds having to ask for food very odd. Fair enough to say don’t eat x it’s for a specific meal or save some of x cereal for younger brother but that’s all.

DIshedUp Tue 13-Apr-21 10:54:24

You cannot give an 18 Yr old a snack box for Christ sake!

Whatisthisfuckery Tue 13-Apr-21 10:58:25

I feel your frustration OP. I have a 13 year old DS who will ransack the cupboards after I’ve been shopping. He will eat an entire packet of kit last in less than 24 hours for example.

I have begged, reasoned, ranted, shouted, tried just not buying things which punishes me as well, and nothing works. As soon as anything nice comes in the house he’ll sweep in and hoover it up.

Nowadays I buy one stash for him and a separate stash for me. I tell him which is his and he can get on with it as he chooses, and if it all gets eaten within three seconds of entering the house then tough, that’ it until next shopping day, which tends to be a couple of weeks away. It tends to work quite well for a while, he’ll destroy his stash and leave mine alone, but if I leave it too long, and mine does tend to last me a long time, he’ll raid it eventually.

If you ever find a way of teenager proofing the treat food OP then please let me in on the secret, because I have tried literally everything, and the best I can manage is a temporary cessation of hostilities.

Ohpulltheotherone Tue 13-Apr-21 11:00:33

No experience of teenagers yet but I would probably

Increase my buying of cheaper variations of things like pasta / noodles / cheese / porridge / biscuits - get the supermarket basics - so if you’d normally buy 2 packs of pasta a week buy 4 but the cheaper ones. I’d give them free reign on this but I would still kick off about food waste - if they make it they eat it. Failure to eat what they make would mean next time they wouldn’t get the biscuits or treats.

Continue to buy nice treats for yourself and DS and the slightly nicer versions of basics for family meals but I would lock these away and they would be told. These are NOT for eating without expressed permission.

Basically give them free reign on the cheaper basics and treats and hide away the youngest treats and nicer bits.
Tell them both WHY you are doing this - that it is both expensive and morally wrong to waste food.
Then tell then that if they can’t respect this approach then you won’t be buying anything more than porridge or plain pasta for them in the future!

Triffid1 Tue 13-Apr-21 11:00:36

I have begged, reasoned, ranted, shouted, tried just not buying things which punishes me as well, and nothing works. As soon as anything nice comes in the house he’ll sweep in and hoover it up.

Surely you need actual consequences - whatever is appropriate in your house? Allowance slashed? removal of game time? No dessert with rest of family?

SwimBaby Tue 13-Apr-21 11:01:57

I remember going through this phase. My DM would get home and go mad because my DB and I had baked 50 fairy cakes! I’m not sure what that was all about but I do remember it was luckily just a phase we went through.

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