Taming the After School Hunger Monster

I’m not sure how it happened, but the people I love most are also the scariest when they’re hungry.

At the rate my kids eat yogurt, I’ve seriously considered buying a dairy cow, but the zoning bylaws are touchy about in-town farm animals. Instead, I’ve cleared a fridge shelf and keep it stocked so the kids can grab and go when hunger strikes, which is all the time.

We’ve all crossed paths with hangry people and it isn’t pretty. I’m not sure how it happened, but the people I love most are also the scariest when they’re hungry.

Because I’m so familiar with the hangry phenomenon, I’ve reached Expert Level status when it comes to taming the ogres who barge through the door at the end of the day, ready to tackle anyone who comes between them and the fridge because they "forgot" to eat lunch. There’s nothing like geography or multiplication to make a person want to eat and eat.

  1. Prep 4-6 peeled, hardboiled eggs for a quick and easy, energy-rich snack. Peeled because peeling them sucks, according to my daughter. Life is hard, man. Pro tip: Peel the day they’ll be consumed; no one likes eating eggs with a black yolk.

  1. Make a Sunday plan for a week’s worth of snacks. Forget meal planning, snack planning is where my brainpower goes.
    1. Choose two bases to build on, like plain yogurt or a selection of hard cheeses.
    2. Include add-ons. Think fresh or frozen fruit, granola, and mixed nuts.
    3. Don’t forget a few fun selections so it’s not all health food all the time. We’re not monsters. My kids love popcorn and blue tortilla chips with salsa as a treat.
    4. Have your children help make their snack packs for school lunches.  Label the containers with their names so no one’s fighting over food, and clear one corner of the fridge to store for the week.

  1. Keep the fridge stocked with Hans Dairy smoothies or Lassi (I can’t keep enough of this on hand; my daughter is a super fan!), pre-cut fruit and vegetables, tatziki or hummus, and no-bake, energy balls (making these can be a family affair), so the kids can grab and go without a fuss. Hans Dairy also makes a great rice pudding with just three ingredients: milk, rice, and sugar. Imagine that! Being able to pronounce all the ingredients in a product! Throw some berries, cinnamon, or sliced almonds or pistachios on a bowl and your hunger monster? Instantly tameable.

  1. Keep a pouch of non-perishable, school-safe foods tucked inside their backpacks and sports bags specifically for after school. Kids can snack during their commute or walk home from school when they’re ravenous. Some bus services even allow kids to eat or drink on the bus, but check beforehand.
  2. Make arrangements to be out when your children come home from school or after-school activities and you’ll never have to deal with hangry hordes. I like to farm mine out to family or friends. KIDDING! I just wanted to see who was still paying attention.

Hans Dairy Back to School Giveaway

Katja loves to prepare delicious meals, but believes her children should be able to forage for themselves if she’s reading a good book. When she’s not reading, she’s juggling the kids’ sports, her business, volunteering, writing, and an active social life that includes eating a lot of cheese. 

There isn't a cheese drawer in her fridge, it's a cheese shelf, and she thinks cream and butter belong in most recipes. She comes from a long line of nomads who believed in the romance and adventure of travel and she’s trying to pass that on to her children. 

Katja's a freelance writer who writes about travel, culinary tourism, food, and family. She also writes Jack Straw Lane, a blog about life and trying to balance running, a bad case of travel itch, and the kids' homework.

Because she loves using photography to tell a story, you can often find Katja on Instagram

You can also find her on Twitter: @katjawulfers