It’s fall, which means sporting events, band practices, dance classes … the list goes on and on! Families are so busy this time of year that getting balanced dinners becomes an afterthought. So instead of ‘home-cooked,’ think ‘home-prepared.’ With a little creativity it is possible to eat on the go and still get fruits and veggies in your evening meal!
5 Ways: Dinners On the Go
- Pack Your Own. Lunch containers with divided sections like a bento box are easy to find and an awesome reminder to get multiple food groups. One of these containers would work for a dinner on the go as well! Pair whole grain crackers, cheese, grapes, and baby carrots for an easy balanced meal.
- Frozen Meals. Not all frozen meals or entrées like burritos are off limits but there are a couple rules to keep in mind: 1) aim for ones that have 500mg or less of sodium and, 2) choose meals that are high in fiber and protein. Add an additional serving of fruits or veggies to this meal to make it even more balanced and fulfilling.
- Mason Jars. Mason jars can serve as a great vehicle for portable meals with little mess! 6 Mason jar ideas …
- Overnight Oats – Combine oats and low-fat milk, allow to sit in the fridge for a few hours and then top with nuts and fruit.
- Frittata – Bake a combination of cooked turkey sausage and veggies like kale, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms with whisked eggs and milk.
- Parfait – Layer Greek yogurt with berries and granola or honey roasted chickpeas.
- Smoothies – Prepare ahead of time, pour into jar (leaving room for liquid to expand as it freezes) and store in freezer. Remove when you need a quick meal!
- Salad-in-a-Jar – Make your own creation with traditional salad veggies or jazz it up with zoodles (zucchini noodles) or beans for an added bit of fiber and texture. Put your heartier veggies on the bottom so fragile ones are less likely to wilt.
- Burritos – Mix leftover cooked chicken, rice, beans, and a fresh salsa for a festive on the go meal.
- Wraps. Wraps or pita pockets can be a portable alternative to your average sandwich. To really mix it up try doing a chicken salad with chopped grapes or kiwis in a whole wheat pita or spread nut butter on a whole grain tortilla, top with chopped apple and roll up!
- Snacks. When you’re really pushed for time, a balanced snack may be the best you can do until a larger meal is possible. Some hefty snack ideas could be a protein granola bar with a piece of fruit or some raw veggies with hummus and string cheese.
Simple on-the-go meals make life a little easier. Take these car-ready meals for a test drive as you meet the challenge of your family’s busy schedule!
Shanna Shultz, RD, LDN
GIANT Food Stores
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