With extracurricular activities in full swing for our kiddos, our dinners need to be easy to prepare and portable.
My initial ideas felt uninspired, limited to various iterations of a basic deli sandwich. After a persistent effort (and a strong cup of coffee to help focus), I realized there are MANY options. So many, I thought that you might find these options helpful too! For simplicity, I have highlighted three categories: Grazing Boxes, Salads, and Wellness Bowls.
I don't know about you, but I find that between watching my kids during practice and socializing with other parents, my attention is frequently divided. The grazing box provides a solution for these situations because you can eat over a duration of time without compromising the level of enjoyment from the meal. Typically, grazing boxes are a compilation of items including meat, cheese, sweet flavors, salty flavors, and special additions. By customizing the contents of each box, you virtually guarantee approval from even the pickiest of eaters. Omit components as you see fit (I cannot think of an easier meal to make vegan or lactose free). Let us not overlook the obvious, part of the enjoyment with these meals (especially with my kiddos), is the opportunity to eat with one’s hands.
Use your own artistic skills taking inspiration from this downloadable guide or check out one of these fabulous creations.
You knew this would be on the list. Salads are both portable and healthy, but their likability doesn't end there, they can also be delicious and filling! Check out some of my favorites:
Avocado Caprese Chicken Salad from Joyful Healthy Eats
Deconstructed Fish Taco Salad from Confessions of a Fit Foodie
Grilled Peach Salad with Basil, Burrata & Prosciutto from Wellness by Kristen
Spinach Blackberry Salad with Balsamic Chicken from Nourish and Fete
Skirt Steak Salad with Bleu Cheese from Smitten Kitchen
For purposes of this post, a "Wellness Bowl" is a one-dish meal consisting of a base, vegetables, protein, and dressing.
Base: The base might be a grain, lettuce, or noodles.
Vegetables: No further explanation is required. However, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce a new veggie or incorporate one that is not part of your regular routine. In a wellness bowl there is not a single star of the meal, and without the exclusive position on a dinner plate, it attracts less attention. Take kohlrabi. When served as a side dish on a typical dinner plate, this would be a fight waiting to happen in our house, but shredded on a wellness bowl, the crunchy addition is unlikely to receive much attention. A MOTY (Mother of the Year) moment for sure.
Protein: When it comes to the protein you can accommodate everyone from omnivores to vegans. Beans, tofu, meat, and fish are all good options for the protein component. While toppings are not necessary, neither are sprinkles on ice cream, and I think we can all agree that adding sprinkles is the easiest way to level-up the dessert.
Toppings: Think nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. Dressings are the final addition that completes meal, much like a bow completes a present.
Choose from one of these amazing recipes or make your own. If you are going rogue feel free to use my handy diagram for inspiration. Enjoy!
Fish Taco Bowl from Nicky's Kitchen Sanctuary
Mango & Ginger Rice Bowl from Love & Lemons
Mediterranean Chicken Farro Bowl from Laura Fuentes
Vegan Poke Bowl form The Simple Veganista
Not that you have been tempted by delectable foods, don't forget about the other details. Walk yourself through the process of eating dinner. What additional items should you bring? This is the list that I use:
- Tote bag
- Gel cooling packs
- Meal Containers
- Dessert (this is more of a want, but who doesn’t want a little something sweet at the end?!)
I love a deli sandwich every now and again, but my family functions better when we have balanced meals. With a little preparation, your family will continue to be nourished by healthy dinners with and without the traditional dinner table! Enjoy.