Easy On-the-Go Dinners

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I came to the realization today that I'm going to have to up my on-the-go dinner game this school year. I took one look at my calendar for the week and had absolutely NO IDEA how I was going to feed the kiddos (and myself) healthy meals with all the after school/work activities on our schedule.

Without getting into too much detail, it looks like we'll be eating away from home (after work/school pick-up, before 6 pm practice) three nights each week. I basically have a one-hour window to get some healthy food into my two little guys since we won't be getting home until nearly 8 pm and that's bedtime for us. I'm sure MANY of you with little kids in activities can relate!!

I will be pinning more ideas on my Recipes board if you want to follow along for more ideas, but here's a round up of some ideas I had for things I could make ahead of time and bring with me.

My criteria for "Easy, On-the-Go, Dinners" are:

  • Healthy - must contain protein & veggies
  • Portable - must be able to travel easily wrapped in foil
  • Not Too Messy - things that are relatively easy to eat, sometimes in the car (sigh)
  • Multi-Purpose - bonus points if I can make one thing in bulk and use it in more than one dish!
  • Kid Friendly - my kids aren't terribly picky, but they're kids and like certain things more than others.

1. SHEET PAN FAJITAS
Doesn't get easier than chopping up peppers, onions and chicken breast, tossing with some taco seasoning and baking everything to stuff into a tortilla and wrapping in aluminum foil Chipotle-style. I'd double, maybe triple the batch and put leftovers over rice another night or put the chicken & veggies in lunches.

2. TURKEY MEATBALLS AND MARINARA SAUCE

I love the idea of making a huge batch of meatballs and sauce to use over spaghetti squash, zoodles, gluten-free noodles, and for meatballs subs. Being able to cook everything in a slow-cooker is a major bonus. Meatballs are also awesome for freezing and keeping on hand.

I'd wrap the warmed-up meatball sub in some butcher paper and foil for an easy on-the-go dinner.  I have a couple of these Thermos Foogo containers to keep the meatballs warm.

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3. PIZZA PITA POCKETS

My boys love pizza, but the idea of packing up a cold slice is pretty sad to me. (Though I'm sure it will happen at some point!!) I'll stuff some cheese, sauce and pepperoni or even leftover meatballs into some pitas, warm them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and wrap in tin foil - I think this one will be a winner.

4. ROASTED CHICKEN

I feel like grocery store rotisserie chicken and this amazing crispy roast chicken are some of the most versatile foods I cook. Once the chicken is cooked up, I make chicken salad, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, stir fry, and even just shred it on a salad. 

5. QUESADILLAS

I could use leftover roasted chicken or canned black or refried beans with cheese, peppers and and salsa to make some tasty, portable quesadillas.

6. SLIDERS

English muffins are a bit sturdier than buns, so they can hold up to traveling a bit.

7. BLT WRAPS

I LOVE BLTs. I love wrapping things in aluminum foil. This is the perfect pairing. Also, I need to use up all the tomatoes from my garden.

I'd use a flour tortilla for the boys and lettuce wrap for myself.

8. BENTO BOX SNACK DINNER

I use this method to make lunches for the boys, so I know they'll eat this. Leftovers, deli meats, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, fruits, crackers, chopped veggies, etc. I try for a mix of protein, grain, and fruit/veg in every box.

9. DIY McMUFFINS

You know you love them. It's okay, I do too. So I make them at home! I use this weird egg thing to make my egg perfectly round, then use pre-made sausage patty, deli ham or canadian bacon along with some good cheese (non-dairy for me, sadly) and an english muffin. Wrap the whole sammy up in some wax paper and aluminum foil and it's a good start. I would pack a snack bag with some chopped up veggies to add something crunchy to the mix.

Anyone else have ideas for ways to feed your kids healthy food while you're running around town from one activity to the next? I'm finding that I need to be on top of planning ahead and prepping these things early in the week to make it happen. (I always use my meal planner, FYI.)