When I was younger, my best-friend's mom would often be our chauffeur from school to our many extra curricular activities. She drove a huge outdated mustard-coloured car that my friend was super embarrassed by, but I always looked forward to jumping into that car after school because the driver was a very special and kind woman and there were always SNACKS!
Mrs. Furfaro absolutely knew that as children and teenagers, we needed a decent snack before we moved on to our next activities, whether it was a dance class, basketball game, or even studying for exams. From grade two until the time my friend and I both went off to University, I ate a lot of snacks in the back of the Furfaros' car that were always full of the protein and nutrients we needed to fuel us for whatever was coming up next.
It was my first lesson in how to feed busy kids on the go without enough time to stop at home for a meal. Of course, I do not apologize for the fact that sometimes you just need to hit your closest drive-thru but as a hockey mom, taekwondo mom, competitive dance mom, cheer mom, soccer mom, and soon-to-be baseball mom, I've learned a few tricks to feeding myself and my kids on our busiest days.
One of my tricks has been to pack a few "snack" containers when I'm making lunches in the morning then take those containers to work with me and leave them in the fridge until after-school pick-up. I always make sure these containers are filled with food from all of the food-groups with a good amount of protein-rich foods to help fuel them and keep them feeling full. When the kids pile into the car and we're heading to their respective activities I can easily toss each one a container. Sometimes I'm even on the ball enough in the morning to remember to pack myself one too!
Some of our favourite "Car Picnic" and "On-The-Go" menu items include:
Sliced Chicken and Fruit
My kids love chicken cut into bite-sized pieces and fruit to snack on. While I very rarely have time to cook a full chicken I often rely on a convenience product like Prime Fully Cooked Chicken Strips
or the new Maple Leaf Protinis
which are super easy because the chicken AND the fruit come in their very own container. Just keep a few in your fridge and grab and go whenever you need a protein-packed snack.
A favourite snack for my girls is a protein-rich dip like hummus or homemade tzatziki with Greek yogurt. I toss in a few veggies, some crackers, and a few "meat roll-ups" using our favourite deli meat
and the girls will happily snack over the lunch hour on the weekends while their brother plays hockey.
Speaking of meat roll-ups, my kids love anything that you can roll and eat with one hand. Meat roll-ups are of course the easiest (simply choose your favourite sliced deli meat, roll and serve!) but you can roll so many yummy things using wraps or rice paper. Some of my family's favourites are banana rolled in a whole wheat wrap spread with peanut butter then sliced or turkey and cheese with a little bit of salsa wrapped in a tortilla wrap. I often use the Prime Fully Cooked Chicken Strips
already in my fridge and wrap them in rice paper with cucumbers, lettuce, and avocado to make kid- and mom-friendly fresh spring rolls.
Believe it or not, my kids are not huge sandwich fans in their school lunches but they will gladly eat them when we're rushing from one activity to the next. The trick is to keep them fun and still fast to make! I cut traditional bread and deli meat sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or slice pepperettes
and stuff them into mini pitas with pizza sauce and cheese for pizzas on the go. You also don't need any bread at all — my kids love "cracker sandwiches" with sliced deli meat and cheese between their two favourite crackers (best of all they can assemble these themselves)!
These are just a few of our favourite on-the-go meals that hopefully give you some ideas how to feed your busy family without relying too heavily on the drive-thru and ensuring everyone is getting the protein and nutrients they need to help fuel the busy after-school schedule — including Mom!