10 tips for feeding men and boys.

10 tips for feeding men and boys

10 tips for feeding men and boys

When I first got married, my husband and I had frequent conversations that went like this around dinner time:

Him: What’s for dinner?
Me: Black bean soup.
Him: Sounds great! What else?
Me: Just soup.
Him: Uh….that sounds good, but it’s not really a meal.
Me: Huh?

I woke up pretty fast to the idea that people can have very different ideas of what qualifies as a “meal.”

Not everybody falls neatly into gender-specific categories when it comes to food:  not all men eat the same; nor do all women. But the typical male’s eating habits are different from the typical female’s, and if you’re a woman who does a little (or a lot) of cooking for the men and boys in your life, you’ll want to know the following:

1. Men may eat differently than women. 

Says Esquire, “Men eat as competition. We eat on dares. We eat the hottest pepper to show our strength. It bonds us.” Women? Not so much.

2. Men eat a lot. 

Men eat more than women, because men are bigger than women. (Exception: if a woman goes through a period when she needs to put on 25 pounds in 6 months then she may be the one with the fuller plate. I definitely ate more than my husband when I was pregnant!)

3. Boys can eat more than grown men.

Pre-teen and teenage boys eat a lot, because growing twelve inches in just a year or two takes a lot of food.   Don’t complain about how much your boy is eating–feed him!

4. Men like to eat meals.

A meal includes a main course and at least one side dish. (Two is better.) “One dish dinners” may be viewed by suspicion with men.  Needless to say, a powerbar is not “breakfast.” Men do snack, but just as often the snack looks like another meal–a sandwich, a giant plate of nachos, a burger (but no sides–it’s just a snack!)

5. Men like to eat real food, especially protein.

Men are the ones who create caveman recipes for two-pound porterhouse steaks grilled directly on a bed of hot coals. They’re not the ones who eat a bag of sun chips and a diet coke and call it lunch.   (Ahem.)

6. Salads can be Man Food.

if they have some serious toppings. One word: bacon.

7. Men like to sit adjacent to you when eating, not across from you.

Men are happy to enjoy their food with company, but they would prefer to talk side-by-side, instead of facing each other. (This is why the car is a great place to talk with a man.) You’ll have better dinner conversation if you can plan for this.

8. Presentation is not that important.

As long as the food is good, it doesn’t have to look pretty.

9. Men don’t mind messy foods.

Chicken wings, nachos, anything from the state fair–men will happily eat foods that require a whole roll of paper towels to clean up.

10. Men want to make you happy.

They’re not trying to be difficult when they delicately ask you to add some sides to that soup. They want to be happy with what they’re served, so be charitable.

If you are the primary cook at home, then the men and boys under your roof are at your mercy. Alton Brown sets a great example for men everywhere with this quote from an interview with Stuart Donald:

Q: What’s your favorite food?

Alton Brown: I’ve learned a very important lesson as a married man.  My favorite food is whatever my wife is going to make next, regardless of whether I like it or not.

The nice thing about being the cook is you get to make the menu–be sure to choose foods that the males in your house will enjoy, and cook them in man-sized quantities!  Your husband wants to agree with Alton Brown–make it easy for him!  Just remember these 10 things and he’ll be even more appreciative of your cooking.

A Manly Meal Plan for the coming week:

Manly Dinners:

food men love to eat food teenage boys love to eatMonday: Cuban sandwiches, sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Grilled polish sausages and sauerkraut, warm potato salad
Wednesday: Classic club sandwich, french fries, dill pickle spears
Thursday: Pan-seared ribeye, twice baked potatoes, caesar salad
Friday: Beer can chicken, grilled vegetables, spring potatoes with tarragon and chives
Saturday: Grilled bacon-wrapped stuffed hot dogs, coleslaw, Pat’s baked beans
Sunday: Big beef bacon cheeseburgers with sautéed mushrooms, corn on the cob, grilled ratatouille

what do men like to eat what foods do teenage boys love to eat Manly Breakfast Options

Double pork sausages
German farmer’s breakfast
Alton Brown’s Man Coffee, Man Bacon, Man Eggs and Man Hash Browns

10 tips for feeding men and boys Manly Snacks

Classic tex mex nachos
Muffaletta sandwiches
Orange glazed chicken wings
Potato skins

porterhouse photo credit:  Hans Gissinger via Bon Appetit


Leave A Comment
  1. I think you are on to something here.

    My husband did the grocercy shopping this Easter. He came home with an extra ham “Just in case”!

    Grandpa put Wasabi Horseradish on his ham. (My husband got this out of the fridge for him.) They ate Wasabi on their ham together. Grandpa’s eyes were watering, but he said it tasted great!

  2. This made me laugh, because it is so true! I’m still learning exactly how to put a whole “meal” together, because soup just isn’t a meal! Ha! But, I’m learning to use lots of sides and then the plate seems fuller and my husband has more options. Which he always likes.

  3. Jessica says:

    That was hilarious! Each one was truer than the last. I’m feeding four boys and a man right now. I think when they get a little older, I will have to get a job just to fill the pantry.

  4. This Top Ten is SO great and SO true. I am a mom to three growing boys. I can’t even imagine the craziness of the meal times in the future. Why is it that they can eat and eat and not gain weight? Also, why is it that they eat a huge meal and then 20 minutes later want a ‘snack’? GREAT post 🙂

  5. Lacey says:

    Oh great recipes!! Thanks for these. My guy is definitely a good eater and I don’t always accommodate that well (eggs and toast isn’t a sufficient dinner? It’s my fave!).

  6. Laura says:

    I am going to try the “Big Beef Bacon Cheeseburgers” this week-they look super-yum!
    I have 3 sons but let me tell ya, my daughter can keep up with them pretty well too. ;p That girl likes her grub!
    Cute, funny, very true post. 🙂


  7. DIStherapy says:

    Welcome to my world :D. I feed two teen boys and a husband (who owns two restaurants), so I agree with EVERYTHING you say! I too find Alton Brown a valuable resource. (Food Network’s Guy Fieri of “Guys Big Bites” is also a testosterone winner…) Thanks for the meal plans- D

  8. Jenna says:

    LOL. Totally agree with the one dish doesn’t fly with the men. I’ve gotten that a few times and have learned my lesson. Also, totally agree with the snacking…it’s not a snack, it’s a meal. One of my husband’s favourite “snacks” is a big bowl of pasta (enough for 2 main meals for me!)

  9. 'Becca says:

    Despite all the stereotypes (and my happening to have a less conventional man), you are on to some things here. Men definitely crave more protein than non-pregnant women.

    One-pot meals can be okay when they include a variety of ingredients, like Lentil Rice or this high-protein pasta salad, but soup pretty much needs a side dish–some kind of carb + cheese is an easy way to go.

  10. Alana says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I am married to a wonderful man and an energetic son. However, I grew up with one sister, so including my parents, us girls outnumered my dad in the gender department. Needless to say, I am often at a loss as to what my boys wanna eat. This post was wonderfully informative.

    I am your newest follower. I hope you’ll visit me at ourtaylormadehome.com and follow back.

  11. Vickie says:

    How true. I’ve been married almost 18 years now & still try to “sneak” in soup as a meal every now & then. lol I’ve learned if I add a pan of cornbread or some bread & fix dessert that night it seems to be more of a “meal.” However “soup” around here is more like stew because he’ll drain off most of the broth.
    Great post!

  12. thank you for this!! such good advice!! having been married two months, I’m discovering just how true this is. My hubby needs MEAT, but it’s expensive…so we’re learning how to keep him full and happy and keep our bank account happy, too. 🙂 I am ETERNALLY grateful for the fact that he does like salad, and he likes it simple. He will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him…there just has to be plenty of it. 🙂

  13. Katie says:

    so true! i’m not married yet, but my boyfriend eats more than anyone i’ve ever met. lol i’m quickly learning i need to figure out how to make meals that will fill him up without filling him out!

  14. Leah says:

    Lol, soup is not a meal! My hubby says that too! My 7 year old wants to snack around the clock right now. Guess he’s hitting the 10 year growth spurt! 😉

  15. Stacie says:

    Hi, I’m so happy to see this article! I’m trying to find meals and plans for my family, and almost ALL the recipes I find feed up to 6 people, and that would be a small serving! So feeding my family of 7, with 3 teenagers and 2 twenty-somethings, I’m always doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling to get enough servings. And THAT in turn makes the price of a “$10 dollar meal” go up to 20 or 30 dollars! We could get KFC

  16. Stacie says:

    Hi, I’m so happy to see this article! I’m trying to find meals and plans for my family, and almost ALL the recipes I find feed up to 6 people, and that would be a small serving! So feeding my family of 7, with 3 teenagers and 2 twenty-somethings, I’m always doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling to get enough servings. And THAT in turn makes the price of a “$10 dollar meal” go up to 20 or 30 dollars! So again, I’m happy to see this post, and will definitely follow and sign up for email etc lol. I need all the help I can get!

    • Anne says:

      I’m going to be in your shoes in a few years! We have four, but my oldest is only 11, and I already think our grocery bill is getting scary! I can’t imagine what it will look like in 5 years! I’m trying to get all the info I can NOW so that our $10 dollar meals don’t become $30 meals as my kids grow and their appetites do, too. 🙂

  17. Donna says:

    Awesome article!!

    Mom to 2 teen boys and a husband and this rings so very true. I’m not a creative cook, so I apologize if this is a dumb question – do you have any lunch recipes or know where I can go to find man lunch recipes? Thanks in advance! #awesome

  18. Felicia says:

    I got such a kick out of this that I made my husband read it too. We could totally relate! In fact, I think I even tried to feed him Black Bean Soup for dinner.

  19. kray says:

    Thanks for this. We have a 20-something nephew coming to stay with us for a few days and he is big and tall so I wanted to be prepared!

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