In a few short weeks, our “break” from sports will end and we will be back to busy weeknights in between various practices and activities. I love taking my kids to their activities and watching them play; that’s not the issue for me. In the past, I’ve hit the drive-thru or stopped for a quick dinner at a restaurant (nothing wrong with that!), but I’ve begun to start preparing more to-go meals at home. Here are a few tips, ideas, and recipes I have picked up over the past seasons of sports and activities:
Gather Your Supplies
Having a collection of supplies makes it easier to put together on-the-go meals. I use most of these for packing school lunches, too!
- Divided individual containers like these or these
- Larger divided containers for “family style”
- Condiment cups like these
- Parchment paper, foil, paper bags (I aim for reusable things as often as I can, but sometimes you have to do what’s convenient!)
Prep the Meals
Let’s talk about meal ideas! My kids are still a little bit young (read: too messy) to manage harder things like soup, etc., so I stick to meals they can eat mostly with their hands. Here are a few of our favorites:
My kids love Jersey Mike’s, and it’s a frequent request when we are out and about for activities. They’re pretty content with my homemade version too, and it is super simple! All you need is:
- Sandwich rolls (you can buy sub sandwich rolls at the grocery store—a must to recreate a Jersey Mike’s sandwich in my kids’ opinions)
- Shredded iceberg lettuce (bagged in the produce section)
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced cheese (make it easier on yourself and buy the cheese already sliced!)
- Favorite lunch meat (turkey and ham over here)
Assemble the sandwiches with all your favorites, wrap in parchment paper, and secure with tape for extra authenticity. Add the sandwich, a bag of chips, and fruits or veggies to a paper bag (or lunch box) and be on your way!
A family favorite for years! This recipe comes from Our Best Bites. Since I know it so well, I hardly use measurements anymore, just mix everything in until it looks nice and creamy and yummy (taste test to get it to your liking!).
Growing up we called these a “snack plate” dinner. Nowadays, it’s charcuterie. Whatever you want to call it, this is an easy way to have a simple dinner. I use two containers and fill with items similar to these:
- Container #1: Fill with fruits, veggies, dips (using condiment cups), pretzels, etc.
- Container#2: Fill with cut up string cheese, lunch meat roll ups, chicken nuggets (warmed up of course!), or whatever sounds good to you!
If eating out less is your goal, a few premade (but still more cost-effective) ideas I like to have on hand:
- Lunchables-style boxes: I like the Good & Gather brand from Target or the Simple Truth brand from Kroger.
- Corn dogs from Trader Joes: Heat up, wrap in foil, and bring along your extra ketchup packets from Chick-Fil-A (anyone else have a container for extra sauces in your fridge?) plus a side of fruit or veggies.
While I can’t guarantee I will never stop at a drive-thru during this upcoming sports season (I definitely will.), a little bit of prep will help me meet my goal of fewer trips!