Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Feeding A Bottomless Pit

My friend Laura is engaged to Jesse.  I knew them both in high school, both are amazing people (he studied abroad in Spain, she went for a visit this fall and he took her to Venice and proposed!), and now he's home and they are quite happy.  Except Jesse eats them out of house and home.  So when Laura asked for advice (as I too have the problem of my significant other having a stomach the size of Texas) I knew I needed to write an entire post on this topic.  (Both men are annoyingly thin, I might add)

First off all, set boundaries.  If you make something nice for dinner in a quantity that is meant for 2 meals (as in 2 different meals for the two of you, not 2 meals for him!) make sure he knows it's hands off.  Don't be afraid of hurting his feelings.  Skinny as G is his nickname in our house often is "Fatty" (obviously said jokingly, not rudely, I do not advocate calling anyone this seriously, that would be mean) because he can eat as much as a person on The Biggest Loser if I allowed him to.  You will not hurt their feelings if you say something along the lines of "I made enough of this for tonight and a nice lunch tomorrow, so please if you get hungry eat _______."  

That blank spot is where you enter the staples.  If you have a lot of packaged foods in your home this is an easy fill in.  If, however, you are like us, this is where you get creative and prepare ahead of time.  First rule of filling the boy up is know your starches!  I'm Irish, we're big on potatoes and bread.  I don't think there is a potato I've met that I didn't like.  But potatoes and bread are not the only ones, try corn or even squash.  Spaghetti squash is simple to prepare (you just roast and add butter, salt and pepper, maybe some parmesan), keeps it's texture (doesn't go all mushy in the fridge) and is good hot or cold in my personal opinion.  If your man leans more towards potatoes, try keeping some roasted ones on hand or boiled ones chopped up for a salad (take greens, potatoes, onions and tomatoes, add a boiled egg or two and he will fill up).  Pasta can easily be made often, kept in the fridge (with a simple garlic and onion tomato sauce on it) and is an easy filler.  Starches will keep him full longer, so they are a good go to.

Sugars will also do the job but you don't want him attacking a bunch of candy all day every day.  Amazingly fruits and veggies (with a helpful dose of fiber) will also provide great sugars and are easy to keep on hand.  I panic if we have no fruit.  Currently we have meyer lemons, unwaxed lemons, limes, grapefruit, kumquats, oranges, and apples.  You can also prep each night before by cutting up carrots and cucumbers.  They aren't extremely filling, but they are good to snack on between meals.  Grill or steam zucchini and yellow squash to snack on the next day, or cut up celery and put peanut butter on them (easy if you use the refrigerated kind because you can prep ahead of time).  If you want something quick on hand, keep stock of instant oatmeal and granola bars.  Simple, quick, and filling.  Keep plain yogurt on hand (buy the big tubs to spoon out, they are more cost effective) and add frozen berries, peaches, or granola.  

And my most important thing is, fix filling meals and eat them slowly.  I bolded the "between meals" for a reason.  Maybe your man needs to eat more meals a day (we often do afternoon tea because we eat a later dinner).  In between should just be stalling time.  The meals need to have plenty for him, even if you eat less.  And make sure the inexpensive part of the meal (veggies and starches) is the most plentiful.  Meats can be expensive, and there are a tons of creative ways to put them in things (soups, casseroles, salads) where you can get away with less meat.  For the actual meal, doing courses causes you to slow down.  Have a salad (before or after your main, your choice), maybe do something simple like stuffed mushrooms or baked tomatoes with breadcrumbs and garlic.  If you are like me you try to not have bread on a table with other starches (pasta, potatoes, etc), but you might consider keeping some on hand for him.  Just prepare a piece or 2 for him, and put the rest away.  Make sure you have plenty of veggies (keep frozen ones on hand to make quickly and inexpensively) as part of the meal.  At the end you can have dessert or simply coffee or tea.  A hot beverage helps aid digestion as well as filling you up completely.  

Which reminds me of one last tip:  hot beverages will keep you full, even better than water.  I drink my earl grey plain, so I have pretty much no calories, but I stay warm, not hungry, and I get the antioxidants of a black tea.  I drink it often, as does G.  But any hot beverage will do the trick.  

The most important thing is being upfront about it.  If you are noticing the food bill is out of control, talk about it.  Talk about the things that money could go towards.  And then get serious about prepping and keeping things on hand.  Hope this helps!  And readers, if you have any other tips, please post them in the comments!


  1. fascinating post! I feel kind of shrewish telling my husband to stop eating, but YE GADS I can't keep him in food. Plus we have young children and they want what he's got and he just wanders into the kitchen and grabs the nearest thing.
    So I'm glad to hear this topic addressed!

  2. Thank you Kalee! This was very helpful. Tonight over dinner I talked to Jesse about it. We now have a plan of action! A plan of action to keep his belly full! And it worked tonight!

  3. I can't agree even more with being filled with hot drinks. For awhile I'd "drink lots of water if feeling hungry" but doesn't work as much as hot drinks. Right now, I'm loving Barry's tea, it's Irish tea and it's sooo good with lots of milk and a wee of honey! Loving the post, Kalee:)