SO Hungry After School

Updated on November 14, 2014
L.C. asks from Downers Grove, IL
30 answers

My boys, 6 and 8, are so hungry after school. I give them a healthy breakfast and lunch. I try to stay away from junk food so i give them protein, fruit, milk, cheese, sandwich, some pretzels or goldfish, things like that for school. But when they get home they want to eat a lot of food. I dont want them to eat too much because we have dinner around 5 and they arent hungry if they eat too much at 3. What do you put in your kids lunch and what do they snack on after school? Are they very hungry when they get home? I try to give them food that will satisfy them, so very little sugar. Id love for them to eat veggies after school but they arent going for that at all. Any suggestions would be helpful.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Houston on

My kids were always hungry after school. I would have fruit, cheese, peanut butter out for them. Sometimes I would cook mini bagle bites or taquitos.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Mine are 13 and 14 and they are very hungry after school as well. Usually snacks range from cheese,crackers and fruit to milk and protein bar to chips and guacamole to apples and peanut butter. I change it up frequently so it keeps them eager to eat well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

With my GD, she has lunch at 11:30 so yes, when she gets home at 3:30, she's really hungry! She eats like a second small lunch. We have dinner around 6:30 and then she has a "bedtime snack" around 9:30. She's not overweight and is very active. She does not eat a huge dinner or a big snack and I think it is more in line with what is recommended for her to eat smaller portions more often.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Columbia on

We allow them a snack and remind them that there's nothing wrong with still being hungry afterward. Dinner is in just a couple of hours. They'll live.

I suggest an apple or a half a PBJ and a small cup of milk. Also, kids are often dehydrated. Their hunger pangs are actually thirst. Have them drink some water if they're still "starving" after their snack.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I used to come home from school and have a dinner before our real dinner... I let my kids have some carbs after school like whole grain cereal and fruit with it figuring they don't eat a lot of carbs with dinner later so what's the difference? I grew up with a balanced dinner but plenty of noodles or potatoes. My kids tend to just eat protein and vegetables at dinner and not much carbs. Long answer to say yes - typical for them to be really hungry.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Can you invert your meals? Let them have dinner foods in dinner portions after school. Let them have diner foods in snack portions at dinner time, or snack foods in snack sized portions at dinner time.

What difference does it make what they eat when. Really? So long as they sit with the family for dinner (if that is important to you), they don't really have to eat much then.

My MIL used to serve her kids "vulture food" when they got out of school. They were so hungry they'd swoop down and eat it like vultures.

F. B.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Cheese quesadillas are always a hit at our house. Whenever a friend comes over, that and fruit smoothies (frozen berries, a bit of orange juice, fizzy water) are a huge draw. Other niceties are raisins and pretzels and almonds, apple slices, sometimes crackers and brie are a nice treat after school. Sometimes it's chips and cheese-- tortilla chips with some grated cheese thrown into the microwave until it melts.

You know, I figure a good snack should be just that-- something pleasurable to eat before homework gets done. I save veggies for dinner. Kiddo isn't overweight-- he's quite a skinny little thing. I just think a nice snack is a good way to come home and settle down. Anything from lunch is also served, so we don't have leftovers. We eat around 5:40-6ish and he snacks around 3:30-4. I just serve a reasonable amount of food and let him know 'it's just a snack, not a meal'. Growing kids need a lot of food. Kiddo will eat until he's full at dinner and still be hungry at 8-8:30, so then he gets some protein and a banana to tide him over until breakfast. Don't stress about it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes my kids were always "starving" after school and ate pretty substantially at that time, usually a sandwich or heated up leftovers or something like that, and a treat like cookies or a sweet granola bar. They still ate dinner, though not a super big one. I think it's just fine, I know I prefer my bigger meals earlier in the day, not right before bath and bed.
Also, why are you having dinner at five? That seems awfully early to me. We always ate around six or six thirty, that gave daddy time to get home plus we needed those two or three hours after school to snack, rest, do homework, go to sports practice, etc. Bedtime was nine so it worked well for us.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have prepackaged snacks they can help themselves to in our "snack cabinet". There are mini peanut better crackers in there, fruit snacks, trail mix, etc. If they are hungry after one snack they can get a yogurt tube or fresh fruit. We usually eat dinner around 7pm. I used to have it at 5:30, but they would beg for a " bedtime" snack. Once they developed a name for it I pushed dinner time back, lol.
Occasionally I have treats after school where I or we make snack. English muffin pizzas, celery with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log), cookies, yogurt parfaits, smoothies, waffle cone Christmas trees (frosted and decorated with cake decorations), etc.
My kids eat lunch at school and are allows to take one healthy snack (something from our snack cabinet)-this is encouraged by the school and 5 mins of class time is set aside for it. My son gets to school at 8:05 am and doesn't have lunch until 12:15pm. So, his class has snack at 11:15 when a lot of other students are at lunch.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Give them apples, bananas, Clementines (we LOVE those!), raisins, yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter or cream cheese on celery sticks or whole wheat mini bagels.
Let them have their small snack and a drink of milk or water.
That should hold them till supper.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids have a big snack around 3:30. Lately they've been eating cereal. Or yogurt and crackers.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

give them oatmeal and or yogurt, cheese and crackers, turkey and cheese rollups. if they are starving give them protein. and then some fruit.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Boys! Seriously, my MIL talks about her 4 boys and how they were "starving" after school. They would come home and eat and eat. She told them, "But we're having dinner in an hour!" They said, "Don't worry, Mom. We'll eat then, too." And they did!!!

As long as they are eating healthy foods, I wouldn't worry too much. If they are hungry, feed them. Not feeding them, or feeding them too little, is usually a nightmare!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If you have dinner at five, I'm surprised they aren't also begging for a snack by bedtime as well. Do they do that too?

Unless you're locked into a 5:00 dinner due to someone's work schedule or some unchangeable evening activity, is it possible to move dinner later, maybe 6:00? Then I'd give them a more substantial lunch (an unbreakable thermos for each with something you might normally think of as dinner--a casserole with protein plus starch plus vegetables, for instance, instead of sandwiches and goldfish) and a very high-protein snack like a boiled egg and/or cheese plus fruit/carrot sticks etc. after school.

If their afterschool snacks are "crackery" as we call it at our house, meaning mostly crackers, bread or other simple starchy things, increase the protein after school and then push dinner back one hour if you can do it, so they have an appetite for that. Another good snack: Cold cereal with milk! Get them used to a no- or low-sugar but high-protein cereal. If they like oatmeal, there is no reason not to have it at 3:00 just like you'd have it at 7:00! It's very filling and is a more complex carb than pretzels etc.

My daughter is 13 and dances extensively so she is always hungry but would eat starch and sweets all the time if she could. I get the "I'm starving right NOW!" thing that you're going through.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't see anything abnormal with a child being hungry after school. They need to eat, they are growing and a healthy snack keeps them in a good mood and more productive for homework.

My daughter used to come home and practically eat a healthy meal right after school and eat dinner when dinner was served. She was in cheer the last 5 yrs of school which meant working out at least 2 hours a day so she was ready to eat something..

If they are hungry, feed them. I was fortunate to have a child who liked healthy foods and would opt for an apple over candy, or junk anytime.. She still does and she is a 2nd yr college student.

My daughter loved Stouffer's lasagna, Marie Callendar's Chicken Pot Pie, veggies and dip, fruit with yogurt and granola and sometimes a bowl of cereal.

I don't see a problem with a child being hungry after school, just give them some good choices. It becomes a problem if they use food as a crutch for something else and eat emotionally, not because they are hungry.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My kids definitely eat after school, but I only give them healthy foods. I figure, if they ruin their dinner eating carrots or apples, I don't really care.

You say they won't go for vegetables. My kids sometimes aren't thrilled out it either, but I tell them either they can have veggies (carrots, etc) or apples, or they can wait for dinner. Usually they are hungry, so they eat what I put out.

If your kids know that complaining works when it comes to snacks and you'll eventually cave and give them something else, then they'll keep complaining that they want something else. If they know you aren't going to give in, they'll either eat what's there or wait. It's like dealing with a toddler and a temper tantrum - you just have to be determined enough to ignore it, and they'll stop.

Bottom line, acceptable pre-dinner snacks in our house are: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, raisins, apple slices, bananas, grapes. For drinks it's water only, because I learned early on that my kids will fill up on milk or juice instead of food if given the chance.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My boys are hungry after school. It really depends on our plans for the evening what they snack on. If they have football or baseball, they normally have a dinner type snack and then a snack snack later. If we are staying home and eating dinner in two hours, they know where the fruits and vegetables are. Sometimes they ask for a treat and they get that too - it's okay sometimes.

My daughter sometimes doesn't want anything and other times will eat me out of house and home. It just really depends.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Baybell mini cheeses are my go to snack. I will typically make a big pizza on sunday (Whole wheat dough, olive oil and garlic sauce and loaded with veggies) and my kids know if they want a non planned snack they can have cheese and fruit or a slice of pizza. I also plan for two snacks, one at 10am and one at 3:30.

My kids are only 2 and 4 though. By 8 that child should be able to fend for himself for all meals except dinner. (Pack his own lunch most evening and get his own breakfast.)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

My 7 year old goes crazy with the snacking when she is going through a growth spurt. She is constantly hungry and often gets sleepy earlier than usual. She is going through one right now. Since I know this is what is going on, I just let her eat. But, when she isn't have a spurt of growth I limit the after school snacking. She gets home from school around 3:30 and we have dinner at 6. After school snacks: PB&J, baby carrots and dip, apple with PB, cheese, graham crackers, yogurt, whole grain crackers, cereal. But, she is great at choosing healthy options. She'll choose an apple and one cookie or celery and a handful of cheddar bunnies. She never has a problem eating her dinner.

As for her lunch she gets at least one fruit and one vegetable, a protein, a grain, sometimes a dairy, a drink and usually some kind of treat. Yesterday she packed her lunch and had whole grain crackers with cheese, cubed ham, baby carrots, pineapple, water and two mini kit kat bars. Healthy enough for me. When she came home she had whole grain cheddar penguins and a banana and a glass of milk. Again, healthy enough for me.

My daughters' doctor said the best snacks have a carb and a protein. She was talking about my 4 year old's bedtime snack but she said the carb gives them the initial energy that they crave and then the protein sustains them so they aren't hungry again in half an hour.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I "try" to only allow fruit after 3:00 pm. But lately I stop and buy my 6 year old a bean and cheese burrito after school because its on the way home, and she still eats her full dinner. I'm chalking it up to a growth spurt. but otherwise I allow fruit or portion out the crackers or nuts so they still eat dinner. That is I "try". But these thing get away from you from time to time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

A child''s body needs influx of calories on a different schedule than an adult's.
I let mine have a snack after school that could substitute for a small meal, and if she skimped on dinner later, so what? Her body was getting what it needed, when it needed it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

How about moving dinner to 6-7 pm?
After school snacks (3rd grade) - dried fruit, almonds, chick peas, banana, apple, carrot sticks. It's a snack not a meal. He gets home from school at 4 pm, we eat dinner generally 6:30-7 pm.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When I was raising the 6 kids and the snacks I served them would be celery stalks, bell peppers, carrot sticks, nuts, hummus, broccolli, cauliflower, and/or fresh seasonal fruit.

They would eat it because I would eat it too. Some of them loved celery but some didn't. Some liked the carrots but some didn't which is why I set out a variety. I'd let them get filled up with these fruits and veggies for the first 30 minutes after they came in. It was their down time. Then it was homework time and shortly after that dinner.

They had to at least try the things offered. One of the kids prefers his carrots cooked. It was a journey to learn this. I have also given them oatmeal for after school snack on hot days or even soup and crackers. Perhaps if they help to make it would be helpful to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, my kids have a snack after school. It's too long to go w/o.
They get up early, it's a long day for them & they've worked hard at school.
Plus they are CONSTANTLY RUSHED AT SCHOOL for recess &
lunch which I hate!!!
Sometimes they don't even get to finish their snack or lunch. Hate that
about the quick, timed lunches/recess.
I pack a lot of protein, too but sometimes they are just hungrier.
My mom always let us have a snack AND we ate dinner, too.
All of my friends growing up got a snack after school, too.
Think about it....they are held hostage all day & using their little brains.
Plus they run at recess & lunch break.
Their little bodies need to re-fuel.
I'd let them have a little snack after school then have them eat their dinner at 5. Maybe they won't eat as much but they will eat & they won't
be starving.
Plus they will have brain food to do their homework.
I give them several choices in their lunch for snack AND lunch. It helps.
I do try to be sure they have several protein items, fruit, veggies but
other enjoyable food, too.
Just give them choices, pack lots of food, give them a snack after school
& make dinners they all enjoy.
For after school how about a protein bar, an apple w/peanut butter, crackers & cheese, cereal etc.?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

The kids in the extended care program are encouraged to pack a after school snack.

My daughter eats breakfast (who knows what), then a granola bar at school for morning snack, lunch (sandwich, chips, and fruit), after school snack, after - after school snack which might be half a sandwich that I bring her from work, skates, then has dinner, and sometimes dessert.

They are hard little workers and they burn the calories a lot faster than we do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My son eats like that too. Although often it's only during growth spurts. He has cereal and glass of milk for breakfast. Then he takes a yogurt and protein bar for snacks at school. He eats a peanut butter / jelly sandwich on whole wheat for lunch with bottled water. When he gets home he usually is allowed a bag of popped popcorn and Apple. We eat around 7. Hummus and carrots or whole wheat pita chips are also a go to healthy snack full of protein and fiber.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My kiddos eat much more for their after school snack than they do for dinner on most days, and I am totally fine with that. They need to refuel after being at school all day. their usual after school snack of choice is a yogurt and some fruit, and then they have smaller portions at dinner.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

When my kids were young school age, we ate dinner at 6:30 or 7:00. If they're starving after school, you might want to think more about a mini meal than giving them snack food - let them have a peanut butter sandwich, a grilled cheese, a bowl of soup.

As someone who works in an elementary school, I can tell you that many kids throw their lunch or most of it away so that may be why they are so hungry when they get home.



answers from Oklahoma City on

ALL kids are starving when they get home. That's why they need a good solid high protein snack. A small meal.

Kids don't always eat everything at school either. If they don't like it or the other kids aren't eating it or they don't want it they just don't eat it. So just because you send their lunch that doesn't mean they are even eating the food you send. They could even be tossing their lunch and eating nothing or sharing food off other kids trays.

I'd work on making dinner later. If your husband is hungry at 5 and wants dinner right then why not talk to him and ask him to eat a snack when he gets home. The kids need to eat a small meal. They won't be hungry at 5pm, I can't imagine eating that early.

Most people aren't even off work until 5-5:30 and then they have to cook. So they don't even think about sitting down to eat until 6 or 6:30.

Since you're eating so very very early it's off schedule for the kids.

Maybe hubby can eat then the rest of you can have a meal at a better time???


answers from Washington DC on

growing kids get hungry! my boys came home from school slavering like young wolves. so give 'em a good-sized snack, along the same lines as what you put in their lunches. lunch meat wrapped around string cheese, yogurt, pretzels, an apple, hard-boiled eggs. don't let 'em stuff, but do let them take the edge off.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions