Afternoon Tea: the trickiest meal of the day

By : | 0 Comments | On : May 30, 2018 | Category : Blog, Fussy Eaters

Afternoon Tea: the trickiest meal of the day.

We started ‘big school’ this year which means 5 afternoons of pick up with tired and hungry kids. For most of first term I struggled to find a good balance of food to satisfy my kids ‘hanger’. We’ve been finding our groove in the new routine of starting school, starting preschool and waking the toddler from his afternoon nap to pick up the big boys.

So, if I set the scene – which is probably common to many of you in some way or another: the toddler (22 months) has usually just been woken up from a sleep and sat in the car for preschool and school pick up, the pre-schooler (3.5yr) is hangry, well because – preschool. And the kindy kid (6) is ‘hangry’ because, well – school.

The first thing they ask me, often before a ‘Hi Mum’ is, “Can we get an icecream?”. The answer is “no” except for Friday’s when it is “yes”. This works for me it as it creates routine – I can confidently say no (despite the regular requests), as they know Friday will come around quickly and there is no meltdown, sometimes a whinge but no longer any meltdowns. But since the anticipation of food and eagerness to eat is so great, I have been bringing a snack to pick up. Something to eat and something they like. It might be a banana, a hot cross bun (before Easter), a homemade biscuit, some cut up apple.

BUT, then they have been looking for more food when they get home. And just before dinner comes to the table they have been starting to open cupboards, drawers and the fridge and freezer looking for something they can eat. So, 3 kids with 3 different food preferences, 3 levels of understanding and patience all wanting something different, rarely the same and just before dinner. OF course!

Here’s what hasn’t worked on these occasions:

  • Boredom = results in constant requests for food just before dinner time.
  • Poor communication = not setting expectations for the afternoon and when dinner will be etc.  Results in constant requests for food just before dinner time.
  • Not enough afternoon tea = resulting in constant requests for food just before dinner time.
  • Letting them graze without limit = not hungry enough to engage in dinner.
  • Too much afternoon tea =not hungry enough to engage in dinner.

Here’s what does work for me:

  • Creating an afternoon routine, to suit your family, so the kids know what to expect and gives you a healthy balance of outdoor play, screen time, food and homework.


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  • A smoothie. This is rare for us as smoothies are often part of our breakfast routine, but I do find they are satisfying enough to hold them out and it is rich in nutrients, contains fruit and is quick and easy for them to drink.


  • Cheese, crackers, veggies and fruit. Simple but satisfying.

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  • Pancakes. The occasional pancake afternoon tea is always an instant winner.

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