Reducing “HANGRY” Time

Danielle Savic is a paediatric dietician working for Paeds in a Pod who is writing a series for us full of information and advice to help you make informed decisions about your child’s nutritional health.

Afternoon tea can be a time when you might find your little one is “HANGRY!”. They’ve had a huge day at school or day care where they’ve burned a lot of energy and perhaps were too excited or too engrossed in what they were doing to eat all of their morning tea and lunch.

As adults, we see if we miss a meal or deprive ourselves at lunch time e.g. when you only eat a salad for lunch and by 2:30 you could eat a whole loaf of bread! Well, this is just like what children experience. Except, often, they expend or burn a lot more energy than we do.

If your little one is complaining of being ravenous at this time, try and suss out when they had morning tea/lunch and what they actually ate. If you’ve got a fussy eater and they choose NOT to eat their lunch box food because they prefer hot 2 minute noodles at home, I’d be more inclined to offer them the food they didn’t eat from their lunch box.

If they have eaten all their food during the day and are genuinely hungry, try some of these healthy afternoon snacks:

  1. 1 thick slice fruit toast with margarine +/- piece of fruit
  2. 2 wholegrain crackers with cheese + carrot sticks
  3. Homemade banana bread with peanut butter
  4. Milkshake – milk, strawberries and ice
  5. Fruit
  6. Vegetable sticks with dip or cheese

We don’t necessarily want to fill them up so much that they don’t want dinner (so no full sized meals) but a snack that has carbohydrates to replenish any used energy stores and some protein and/or healthy fats can be a great way to tide them over until dinner time.

If your little one is not achieving the amount of fruit and veggies or dairy in their day this might be the perfect time to pop in that extra serve.

As always, if you feel like you have tried the best you can and are still struggling, please book in to see me and we can create a personalized plan for you and your little one!

-Danielle Savic