Weekday evenings are crazy when 3 kids are going in 3 different directions and everyone needs to get fed including the dog. I hear many parents saying the same thing. We may not be busy with toddlers and potty training anymore, but when your kids start getting interested in dance, gymnastics, soccer, or hockey, we turn into a fast food cook and after school chauffeur.
Racing from work or school to activities leaves little time for creating healthy meals. Take out may seem like the best solution given the time restrictions to get everyone fed, but sending kids off for a 2 hour hockey practice or 3 hour session of gymnastics fuelled with fries and a soda is not a healthy choice for kids, especially active ones. Not to mention the cost! Active kids need proper meals to sustain them for hours of after school activities. A granola bar and an apple is a great snack, but not enough for a 4 hour gymnastics class or for the kid who's going from swimming lessons straight to Tap class.
The suggestions to meal plan and spend Sundays cooking so you have meals all week are great if you actually have time to meal plan or spend all day Sunday making meals. I rarely do. Instead I created a rotation of super fast, super easy, filling, and healthy meals that I can prep in less than 15 minutes and even serve in the car if I need to (which I often do!).
I have become a professional at getting 3 kids fed and back out the door to dance, gymnastics, swimming, rock climbing, music and girl guides in under 20 minutes. The key to a balanced meal for active kids is first ensuring it is something they will eat it and second that it has protein, complex carbs in the form of whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables and a big glass of milk on the side.
Test out some of these on your active kids and then stock your pantry and freezer with ingredients you can use to throw together an easy balalnced meal to get everyone out the door and ready for after school fun.
Tuna Melt with Green Peas
Meatball Sub with Carrots and Hummus
Egg Noodles, Shrimp and Green Beans
Eggs, Toast and Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Chicken Quesadilla with Corn