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  • Denise Scott

Healthy Meals on the Go

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Now that school is in full swing and after-school activities abundant, you will often find yourself eating on the go (and in the car) while transporting kids from one activity to another.

I offer ideas for healthy meals on those busy evenings so you can feel better about what you serve your child when there is no time to cook. Most will take some preparation but minimal time. Many items can be kept as pantry staples to grab and go. Many can be unrefrigerated for several hours, while others need an ice pack.

Other handy items include divided, lidded food storage containers. You can find inexpensive

ones in bulk at stores or online (similar to the Bento box idea). Many of these items can be eaten by hand; some require utensils.

Divided boxes make eating on the go easy! Here is an example of a balanced meal with eggs and cottage cheese for protein and dairy, fruit, nuts, and a veggie!

Embrace this period as a time of more picnics and tailgates!

Simply adding a blanket and basket turns eating in the car into a picnic.

Pantry items to stock:

  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers

  • Tortillas

  • Peanut butter or other nut butter

  • Whole-grain bread

  • Pita bread

  • English muffins

  • Whole-wheat and whole-grain pasta

  • Nuts

  • Cereals low in sugar

  • Tuna pouches

  • Dried fruit and freeze-dried fruit

  • Unsweetened applesauce in cups

  • Fresh fruit cups

  • Homemade trail mix

  • Olives

  • Pickles

Array of fresh fruit and veggies. Keeping washed and cut-up fruit and veggies available makes putting together snack boxes a snap.

Items to stock in your fridge:

  • Cut-up veggie sticks

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Fresh fruit

  • Hummus

  • Cheese sticks, sliced or cubed cheeses

  • Yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • Pimento cheese

  • Sliced deli meat

  • Cooked chicken (removed from rotisserie chicken; some stores have already done it for you)

  • Water bottles

  • Milk in a thermos

Now some ideas for creating meals!

Choose items from different categories - protein, fruit, vegetable, grain, and dairy - in varying combinations for a complete meal. Mix and match items to create a balanced meal or snack.

  • Make pita pocket sandwiches.

  • Take along pasta salad, eaten cold, with pasta, chicken, olives, tomatoes, or any added vegetables.

  • Make tortilla sandwiches with cheese and meat, pimento cheese, or hummus and deli meat, and eat as a rollup or cut into pinwheels.

Tortilla rollups are easy to eat and can be filled with anything you put in a sandwich.

  • Combine fruit, nuts (whole nuts should not be given before age 4), and cheese to make a delicious and nutritious snack.

  • Cereal (low sugar/whole-grain) and milk is a great post-workout snack.

  • Nut butter can be served on bread, crackers, or veggie sticks with fruit.

  • Tuna from pouches can be eaten with whole-grain crackers with veggies on the side.

A balanced meal with protein (hard-boiled eggs, hummus), grains (pita bread), vegetables (carrot and zucchini sticks), and fruit (sliced apple).

You get the idea! You know your child’s preferences best, so choose items they are guaranteed to eat that provide good nutrition.

Once you get used to packing your bag/cooler/boxes of handy snacks, you can feel assured that you created a balanced meal with no cooking involved!

It sure beats the drive-thru - healthier and less expensive!

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