Coming up with kid-friendly, healthy family meals to-go can feel daunting and overwhelming. But don’t stress, I’ve got you covered. Your family is not doomed to a week full of fast food or Uncrustables.
With rising food costs, we are all looking for ways to cut back, and cooking at home is one of the easiest ways to do it. Not only will this save your family some money, but it is also an opportunity to come together and experience the benefits of family mealtime, even while on the go.
When you involve the entire family in the prep-work, it helps develop self-reliance and responsibility. Plus, kids are more likely to try new things when they helped select and make them. Family meals are more nutritious, especially when you focus on finding healthy recipes.
To experience a similar connection to a sit-down family meal, think of interesting questions and conversation topics to bond with while on the go. I’ve listed a handful below to get you started.
Tips for Family Meals To-Go
Below are some tips to help you succeed in preparing your family’s on-the-go meals.
- Involving kids in the prep work increases the likelihood that they will eat it, so hand over some of the prep to them. If they want to be involved in extra-curricular activities, try to involve them in the meal planning process.
- Mix pre-made items with fresh ones to blend convenience and nutrition.
- Don’t worry about following a recipe. There are several below to get your wheels turning, but you can make all of these your own.
- A rotisserie chicken is the best deal in the grocery store.
- Opt for portable fruit/veggies for an easy side.
- Keep fridge/pantry staples on hand. Write down what you will make each week in a visible place for accountability.
The trick here is to keep the food you are confident that your family will eat readily available. Make a list of meal ideas on a chalkboard or dry erase board in the kitchen area to avoid the dreaded rotten forgotten food conundrum.
We all start with good intentions with a fridge full of possibilities but often forget what we had planned by mid-week and hit the drive-thru. The kids can help by making a list of meal ideas, too, which keeps everyone accountable.
Keep It Simple
There are many tried and true options that we forget about. The recipes below use mostly basic ingredients, but you know your family best.
What can you wrap in a wonton or tortilla that your kids will be open to eating? Get creative with your family favorites. Have the kids help think of ways to make them portable.
You can still do dinner themes away from home. I have classified the recipes below by cuisine for on-the-go theme nights.
20 To-Go Family Meal Recipes to Try Out
Below are some easy to-go family meal recipes you can try to make family dinner more exciting but healthier as well.
1. Healthier Walking Taco
One of the simplest recipes to make that’s equally delicious! All it takes is cooking the ground turkey, tossing in seasoning, and your preferred beans. Grab a single serving of your favorite crunchy chip or wax paper bags with some baked/grain-free tortilla chips and you have a tasty dinner or lunch on the go.
2. Un-Spicy Chicken Taquitos
If you have kids that classify anything with flavor as “spicy,” then this recipe is for you!
3. Taco Salad Jars
The combination of yummy taco flavors is perfect to dip your favorite tortilla chip in. This puts a whole new spin on Taco Tuesday!
There are so many varieties of healthy tortillas out there now. Pick your favorite, and add cheese and rotisserie chicken. Sneak in some veggies as well, if possible.
Word on the street is that a thin layer of pureed butternut squash works well. Need a hack for that? Hit the baby aisle at the store and grab a pouch of butternut squash. Toss a few carrot sticks on the side, and you are set!
5. Kid-Friendly Sushi
This recipe is easy, mild, and kid-friendly to please picky eaters. This is a great way to get kids to eat fresh veggies like cucumbers and carrots. Anything wrapped in rice and cream cheese is usually a hit for children!
6. Easy Chicken Egg Rolls
This tasty recipe uses puffed pastry, but you could sub in wonton wrappers if preferred.
The next couple of recipes are not really Asian, but they’re a fun twist that’s a hit with kids!
7. Pizza Egg Rolls
This recipe is very fast and cost-friendly to make, and a unique spin on pizza!
8. Sloppy Joe Egg Rolls
How to make sloppy joe’s portable and less sloppy? Roll them into an egg roll! Sloppy Joes are a classic kid favorite, and these egg rolls will surely make everyone smile.
Take two waffles and choose a choice of protein and other fillings as the center. This ham and cheese recipe is our go-to, but there are other combinations like peanut butter and banana or apple, egg and cheese, or bacon and egg that you can try. The possibilities are endless!
10. Pancake Breakfast Wraps
Wrap a maple turkey sausage and some eggs in already prepared pancakes. There are lots of healthy options out there, so depending on your kiddo’s favorite, you can throw in some hard-boiled eggs or several pieces of fruit inside this pancake breakfast wrap.
11. Wraps—Your Way
Choose your preferred combination of wrap or flatbread, salad or broccoli slaw, condiments, protein, and cheese (if desired). Sliced cucumbers work great here, too. Grab an apple or grapes with it, and you are good to go!
12. Ham or Turkey Pinwheels
This party favorite can make a perfect meal. Choose your tortilla, deli meat, and cream cheese of choice, fold in shredded carrots or cucumbers, and you are on your way.
13. Turkey Burger Sliders
These tasty burgers are easy enough to make on-the-spot, or you can make them ahead of time and freeze and warm them up as needed.
14. Mac and Cheese Bites
I love this recipe because it has a good amount of protein and fiber and uses chickpea pasta. The cheesiness masks any detectable “healthy pasta” flavor.
15. Pigs in a Blanket
Who doesn’t love these?! Customize them with a preferred dough and dog. Here are some versions that I like:
Paleo Pigs in a Blanket
This kid-favorite recipe is also gluten-free.
16. Skinny Pigs in a Blanket
This is a slightly different twist to the traditional and convenient recipe that’s made a little healthier.
17. Pizza Braid
We are walking the line here on healthy, but you can choose a dough that meets your dietary preferences and sneak in veggies. We love this recipe because it looks cool, therefore always a kid with the kids.
Has your family tried a cauliflower pizza? Cauliflower is surprisingly tasty!
18. Spaghetti and Meatball Muffin Bites
These are spaghetti and meatballs in a handheld muffin! Kids love these, and you won’t have to clean pasta sauce stains off their clothes.
19. Chicken Parmesan Roll Ups
This recipe might take a little more time, but it would be great to make on the weekend and have leftovers during the week!
20. Turkey Gyros
This is a good recipe to make on the weekend and save/freeze leftovers for during the week.
Bonus: Conversation Starters With Your Family
Here’re some conversation starters when you’re having meals with your family:
- What made you laugh today?
- If you could be any character, who would you be and why?
- Would you change any decisions you made today?
- If you opened a store, what kind of store would it be?
- If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
- What superpower would you want and why?
- As an adult, what is one rule you would have in your house?
- If you were President and could make one law, what would it be?
- If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
- What is something kind we can do for someone else this week?
- What do you like most about yourself?
- What is your favorite thing to do alone?
- If you could be an animal, which one would you be?
You don’t have to be destined for the drive-thru or have your kids give up their hobbies to have healthy, kid-friendly meals. With a little planning and creativity, you can have it all!
Our mindset goes a long way in creating our reality. What mindset shift can you make to make your week less stressful and more fun?
Featured photo credit: Hillshire Farm via unsplash.com
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Author: Stephanie Cantu: https://www.lifehack.org/feed