Can we talk for a minute about how busy weeknights are when our kids are in after-school activities? Oh my goodness. My meal-planning calendar actually has “pick up fast food” as our dinner plan multiple nights per week, because there just isn’t time to get home and fix dinner between practices, rehearsals, and scout meetings. But that strategy leaves me wondering: when is the last time my kids had a vegetable that wasn’t a (fried) potato?
So, I’ve hit the Internet to gather delicious and easy on-the-go meals that I can make for my family to eat between activities, practices, and games. These are all dinner recipes that I can make ahead of time, and they’re easy to serve without a kitchen table or full set of silverware. And, yes, they even contain a vegetable or two.
Top: Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich | Well Plated
Prep the meat for these Greek Pork Pitas at Pinch of Yum while the kids are at school. Then, assemble the pitas — I’d add sliced red pepper for a little extra veg — and wrap them in foil before stashing in a cooler to eat at halftime.
Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches | Damn Delicious
We love breakfast for dinner, and it’s especially perfect when we’re running around after school. The freezer breakfast sandwiches that we found at Damn Delicious while rounding up easy, make-ahead breakfast recipes are perfect for those moments when I’ve run out of time to prep anything for dinner. Once you have these on hand in your freezer, you can just microwave them, grab a banana and thermos of milk, and you’ve got a protein-packed dinner for your busy kids.
These Crispy Southwest Wraps at Tastes Better from Scratch take just 25 minutes to make, and they squeeze all the yummy ground beef, cheese, and veggies into an energizing wrap that you can hold with one hand. Once you assemble these, wrap them in foil and keep them in an oven set to warm. Unlike the Greek pitas above, these won’t taste quite as good at room temp, so once it’s time to go, transport them in a thermal bag so that they’ll stay toasty.
No, I don’t take a huge bowl of pasta with me to my kids’ games (usually). Instead, I portion out this vegan Sesame and Ginger Noodle Salad at Vanilla and Bean into to-go boxes with plastic forks or chopsticks leftover from our last food delivery. This recipe calls for kid-friendly veggies like red peppers and snow peas, and it’s a great alternative to sandwiches. Sometimes I add pulled rotisserie chicken for extra protein. You can even try rotini or penne for easier-to-manage noodles.
Not all on-the-go meals have to reflect the meat-veg-starch balance of meals you serve at the table. Sometimes you can just hand your kids one of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies at Evolving Table along with chopped veggies, string cheese, or a sandwich in a paper bag and call it a night. With 20 grams of protein in this smoothie, it will certainly keep them energized and well-nourished for the evening.
You can seriously step up your grilled cheese game without much extra effort using any one of these grilled cheese recipes that make a legit family dinner or this delicious Turkey Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Well Plated. Grilled cheese is perfect those nights when I’m whipping up something right before we have to be on-the-go for dinner. Though the bread may not stay perfectly crisped, wrapping grilled cheese in foil will keep it warm for a little bit — just long enough for all those flavors to meld together.
Jo at Slow Sundays promises that making sushi for kids is a lot easier than it may seem. I hope she’s right, because it’s a great meal for when you’re on the run. It’s just so easy to pop each bite into your mouth without making a mess. Plus, if you’re not using raw fish, you can make it ahead of time.
Pressed Italian Sandwiches |Seasons and Suppers
One of our family’s favorite to-go meals is what we call “the huge sandwich.” It’s very similar to the amazing Pressed Italian Sandwiches that we found at Seasons and Suppers while sharing our favorite picnic recipes, only ours are made on one huge Hawaiian Bread round that we slice and share. I love that I can make these in the afternoon — the flavors come together over time — and serve cold with some chips for dinner.
With cooler weather here, I crave chicken pot pie, and these easy, make-ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pie Bites at The Food Charlatan are a good way for me to satisfy my craving and feel like I’ve fed my kids a real meal even while we’re running around. Prep them ahead of time, then set your oven timer to bake right before it’s time to pack up dinner for your night on the go.