I spend a lot of time driving and I manage to spend more time sitting at ballparks for practice and games and I am always looking for dinner ideas for our busy family. My little guy is only eight, so I’m not comfortable leaving him alone for practice. Since practices are usually adjacent to parks, my other kids can burn off energy while they wait around for him to finish. Besides, it’s only fair after years of the youngest being stuck to the sidelines. Now the older kids wait for him. I do find the humor in their boredom sometimes.
The down side of these hurry up and wait nights is that it usually unfolds during dinner time. And I’m hungry and have no desire to wait until 7pm or later to eat. The only way around this is to hit up fast food or bring dinner.
Fast food isn’t too healthy and I hate spending money on subpar food, especially on a regular basis. So, dinner from home it is. Because I do try to eat healthier, sometimes what I bring is a bit different from what I bring for the kids. These combos don’t provide too much work and helps our busy family eat dinner on the go.
Here are my 5 Dinner Ideas for Busy Families with Kids in Evening Activities:
Shredded Chicken Sandwiches:
I try to prep my chicken on the weekend, so that during the week there’s not that much legwork to do before I have to leave. My kids prefer them on Hawaiian rolls, but if I don’t have any, hamburger buns, hotdog buns, and English muffins all work equally well. I heat up the meat with some BBQ sauce in the microwave, then put a big scoop of meat on the bottom of the bun, add some shredded cheese and broil just until the cheese starts to brown. I slap on the top bun and wrap them in foil and bring along some chopped raw veggies or fruit or both.
For myself, I will use Franks’s Red Hot, a little feta, and toss it over some butter lettuce and eat as a salad while I wait.
This is a heat and serve that makes life so easy. Everyone can eat them, they’re relatively healthy, and I slice up cucumber or bell peppers as a finger food side dish. These don’t have to be hot…warm works well for us.
Aidells offers up a variety of products, but the Teriyaki Pineapple are what is offered most often at our Costco. When they do carry other selection, especially something spicy, I will pick them up, usually for me.
French Bread Pizza Sandwiches:
I’ll grab a loaf of French bread the day I need it, so that it’s soft and fresh as possible. I slice the loaf of bread lengthwise, add spaghetti sauce to both sides along with cheese. On one side I’ll add salami and olives in addition to the sauce and cheese. I put this under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown. Once out of the oven, I put the sandwich together and slice it into thick pieces and wrap in foil.
I will make me an open face tuna melt on whole grain bread using Greek yogurt or avocado (if I can spare the fat), mix up my tuna salad, and put it on a slice of bread. I use one of my kids sandwich containers to keep my food from making a mess and I’ll eat when I get to finally take a seat. It’s not messy and very filling. If I don’t want that bread, I’ll just make tuna salad in a reusable container and eat with a fork once I’m settled in at the ball fields.
This is one of my kids favorite meals. Cooked taco meat, refried beans, cheese, and sour cream. They like them simple and simple is usually not too messy. These are portable and are enjoyed at any time.
I avoid most wraps because they can still be high in calories and fat. But, there are a few out there, you just need to search around. There are raw spinach wraps, wraps made of coconut, etc. I will put together a wrap to take and eat while assembling their burritos.
I make a ground turkey and mushroom sloppy joe. The link for the recipe is included. The mushrooms are chopped as fine as the meat so it is impossible to tell that half the recipe is a veggie. This works well because it keeps it lower fat and I’m able to get more vegetables in for dinner. I make up a batch, put it in a large container and then bring a serving spoon and hamburger or hot dog buns. My kids prefer them on hot dog buns because it creates less of a mess. I will just eat my serving out of a bowl along with some chopped up raw vegetables.