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Most people I know have busy lives, whether it’s career, kids, other family obligations, it doesn’t matter. We are busy and sometimes getting dinner on the table is tough. When other activities pull you away from home, eating dinner at home isn’t always a possibility. I have three young kids still living at home and they all have evening activities. We used to get fast food, but there’s so much wrong with that – not the healthiest options, and the money spent adds up quick. We’ve learned to eat at home, earlier if we need to, but even that is tricky these days. So, coming up with super easy on the go meal ideas has become very important.
Here are five healthy, portable dinners to eat on the go and how I often modify them to make them more kid friendly.
A FANTASTIC go to meal idea. These are a great option for on the go meals. The options are vast, so much so that I’ve created a PDF with several meal ideas you can make with a $5 Costco chicken, and I have more on that at the bottom of my post.
There’s really no cheaper dinner…pair it with some sliced veggies and cherry tomatoes, and you have a great picnic type meal to eat on the go. Leftover chicken can be made into various recipes, there’s no reason to ever throw away unused leftovers!
The beautiful thing about a quesadilla is that it’s a holder for anything in your fridge and cheese is the binder. A little cheese can go a long way too. If you’re really watching carbs or calories or fat look for low carb wraps, there are plenty of options on grocery store shelves. Using a strong cheese (extra sharp cheddar cheese is my go to) means you can use less, and fill these with lots of great protein and veggies instead.
With that being said the options are limitless:
- Black beans
- Refried beans
- Grilled Onions
- Bell Peppers
- Poblano Peppers
- Taco meat
- Shredded chicken
- Shredded pork
- Skirt steak
- Butternut squash
The list goes on…limited only by your imagination or what you have on hand.
You can make these ahead of time and eat them warm or you can assemble each quesadilla, wrap them in foil, pop them in the oven while you get everyone ready to get out the door. Grab them on your way out and keeping them wrapped will help hold in the heat so you can eat on the go.
The quesadilla’s heftier sibling is the burrito. The ultimate eat on the go food.
Honestly, I make burrito bowls because I can get way more food if I don’t use a tortilla or a wrap. This only works when I’m sitting at the ball fields, not playing chauffeur. I kind of use Chipotle as my guide. Brown rice OR black beans, at least 4 oz. or rotisserie chicken or whatever meat I might have leftover from an earlier meal, sautéed veggies, and salsa with about a tablespoon of Greek yogurt (replaces sour cream). If I have the fat, I’ll throw in a few slices of avocado too.
My kids are burrito purists, beans, meat, and cheese…maybe some sour cream and taco sauce, depending on the child.
Even my kids like these for dinner depending on what I have put in them. To keep the macros lower I use a ratio of 2:1 egg whites vs. whole eggs (for example, If I’m using 12 eggs, I’ll use 6 full eggs and 6 egg whites. If there’s not enough liquid, I’ll add more egg whites). I love using chicken breakfast sausage as it add so much flavor and not a lot of fat. Then, I throw in whatever vegetables I want. For the kids, I stick to veggies they like, like bell peppers or broccoli and I add some cheese to theirs.
I bake these in my silicon muffin tins (the ones I bought from Amazon are: Keliwa 12 Cup Silicone Muffin – Cupcake Baking Pan / Non – Stick Silicone Mold / Dishwasher – Microwave Safe) and I never have issues with them sticking. I reheat them in the microwave right before going out the door, and they work for dinner or breakfast, though I do save them for dinner time in our house as that’s when I am in need of portable meals.
Some sliced fruit or washed berries, and some pre-sliced veggies round out the meal.
These I switch up a bit depending on who I’m making them for, but that’s one of the reasons I LOVE sliders. The flexibility and options are quite varied and easy to manipulate without creating too much work.
I love the sandwich thins and will cut them in half, putting a slider into each one. To keep them healthy, I use one of a few options:
- 93% ground beef
- Ground turkey or chicken
- Rotisserie chicken
- Tuna burger
- Salmon burger
These all are super healthy, and I can assemble and cook the patties on the weekend. During the week, take two out, heat them up in the oven (or eat them cold, as I don’t mind cold burgers), assemble them and wrap them in foil. I’ll baggy up a slice of tomato, some onion, and lettuce to put on them when I’m ready to eat if I’m going to be sitting somewhere where I can do that. Otherwise, I’ll eat just the patty and bread on the go.
My kids prefer ground beef or turkey and most of my kids like cheese, so I add cheese to theirs. For a bun, I’ll often use Hawaiian rolls, or dinner rolls, or slider buns if I have them. I make them ahead of time and re-heat the kids patties, because only one of them doesn’t mind cold burgers, so it’s easier to just reheat them all.
Trying to eat healthy while running a busy schedule is very difficult, and trying to constantly come up with new ideas is even more frustrating. The beautiful thing about most of my list is that you can change things up each time you make them so that it doesn’t feel like eating the same exact thing over and over. I don’t want to re-invent the wheel, which is why, on really busy weeks, I often buy two rotisserie chickens at Costco and use both of them in a matter of days.
I can use them in every single meal I mentioned above, plus so many other options as I have laid out in a PDF. Remember, my resource library is FREE, you just have to enter your email and first name below.
The other thing I love about all of these meals is the flexibility – I can use what I have on hand, I can easily modify things for my kids, while making mine a bit healthier for the adults. Let me know what your to-go on the go meals are, I’m always looking for new ideas!
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