A young girl with down syndrome rests her head against an adult, the girl is eating an orange..

That 3.30 pm hunger attack has been on our minds this week as we stock the pantries to fill growing bellies. Those voracious appetites of our students have returned! Where to start? We have some tummy-fillers that will make your mouth water. From teenagers to toddlers, we hope you find something here to stave off the hunger pangs.

There is always the original fast food – apple, banana or other fruit! Available in a pinch. But if that doesn’t touch the sides, read on for our suggestions. Be mindful of sensory needs, dietary requirements and adapt these gap-fillers to fit.

Prepare ahead

If you (or your kitchen-savvy student) can spend some time preparing for the week in advance, a little work will have great rewards. These suggestions are for making ahead of time, then freezing or, doing the preparation work ahead for easy assembly in a rush. Leftovers are an honourable mention for this category.

  • Favourite homemade biscuit. (You have more control over the sugar content this way)
  • Boiled egg (Pre-boiled and put in the fridge)
  • Chicken satay skewers
  • Frittata
  • Filo parcels
  • Meatballs
  • Mini Quiches
  • Nachos
  • Protein balls (Bliss balls)
  • Quesadillas
  • Scones
  • Savoury or sweet muffins
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Calzone
  • Soup (slow cookers are a great way to have soup ready for the afternoon, try light brothy versions that fill but don’t overfill)
  • Roti
  • Grazing plate
  • A mix of cheese, nuts, cold meats, vegetable sticks, crackers and dip or relishes/ chutney. Roasted or chargrilled vegetables or fruit (think peaches or apricots) are a super inclusion. Even dolmades or other antipasti can be added.
  • Vegetable sticks – fresh green beans, snow peas, carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, capsicum, broccoli.

Whip it up

  • Pancakes or Pikelets
  • Vegetable fritters (pre-make the batter for these) serve it with relish and a dash of Greek yoghurt.
  • Rice paper rolls
  • Toasted wraps
  • Mini pizza from English muffins or pita bread
  • Fruit smoothies

Dip It

  • Add your favourite crudites to these tasty dips for a quick tummy filler.
  • Peanut butter and Greek yoghurt
  • French onion soup mix and sour cream
  • Corn relish and cream cheese
  • Hummus (make your own with a tin of chickpeas and a dash of sweet chilli sauce)
  • Guacamole
  • Tzatziki
  • Peanut butter with celery or carrot sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Yoghurt
  • Pate
  • Sourdough with olive oil and dukkah

Trail Mix

Store this in a jar (hide a stash too) ready for use.

Any combination of seeds, nuts and dried berries can make up a trail mix. Add in optional extras like glace ginger, cocoa nibs, pretzels, or dried coconut flakes.  Sprinkle with a dash cinnamon powder if you like it.


On the go, quick fixes

Quick fixes, among other things, toasted sandwiches or wraps fill this space – beware the hot tomato!

  • Try yoghurt with frozen berries or grapes. Sprinkle a little LSA or chia seeds on top if you like.
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Celery sticks
  • Favourite savoury biscuit, cheese, tomato and avocado with a little salt and pepper
  • Toasted Sandwiches – cheese and ham, cheese and tomato, relish, tomato ham and cheese, baked beans, marinated pre-cooked chicken, bolognese.
  • Homemade popcorn

Air Fryer Fillers

Air fryer lovers know how quick and effortless cooking can be with one of these appliances.

  • Roasted sweet potato top it with smashed avocado, ricotta and honey, fetta and pesto.
  • Pasties or pies (from frozen)
  • Cornish Pasties
  • Chicken schnitzels (see next)

Almost a meal

This category is when growing active boys need something more like a meal to fill the space, but not stop them eating dinner at the same time.

  • A big (or small) tin of tuna added to toasties, pasta, salad, with a boiled egg.
  • An amped-up salad with boiled egg and cooked chicken might meet with approval.
  • Poached eggs with sourdough
  • Chicken schnitzels in a wrap with favourite fillings

Friday Fun

If creating fun memories is part of your approach, why not adopt something “special” for a Friday treat. Friday might be the day to include not-so-healthy options if you wish, or to delegate the work to your favourite café, bakery or eatery. And while you are at it, they can do the clean up too.

  • Fairy bread
  • Fruit skewers
  • Frankfurt’s
  • Hot chips
  • Slice of cake or fruit bread
  • Waffles

SourceKids also have some easy nutritious recipes here.


IDEAS does information so you can deal with the after-school hangry hour!