Do you suffer from Dinner-on-the-Go?!?
Thanks to Stella’s soccer schedule, there are 1-2 nights a week when we are at the soccer field for dinner. Stella usually eats in the car on the way there…
But I make the other two wait until we arrive at the field. Eating dinner keeps them occupied for at least half of the practice!
Why Do I Pack Our Dinners?
For one thing, I don’t even have time to get to a drive-thru. On Thursdays we go straight from swim lessons to the soccer field. With rush-hour traffic we don’t have a minute to spare. And ever since I watched Supersize Me years ago, I still can’t stomach McDonald’s myself. I think I’ve eaten a full meal there maybe once in the past decade. I am guilty of stealing a couple of the kids French fries when they are nice and hot and who doesn’t love their sweet tea? But a burger or nuggets? No thanks. My kids get a happy meal from there about once a month, but otherwise, we are just not a fast food family in that sense. Do we love to go out to eat? YES. And do we always go somewhere healthy? NO. Our typical fast food stops are Skyline, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, etc. I basically pack dinners to save time, save money and to limit the number of times we eat out each week. In our house going out to eat is more of a weekend treat than a weeknight routine.
What kind of containers do I use to pack our dinners?
I recently upgraded our plastic containers to the ones that Ziploc sells in the storage container aisle. I like it because it is a 3-divided rectangle. My old containers only had 2 sections. These new ones came in 2-packs so I got enough for everyone.
Why not just a PB&J and some chips?
I personally prefer variety and so do my kids! We are snackers/grazers in this house. So a lot of times our dinners-to-go look more like snack boxes than the sandwich/chip variety. But don’t get me wrong, sandwiches are still a staple for us, but everyone packs sandwiches and those photos would be boring! I also found that if I pack something they don’t love, there’s a better chance they’ll eat it on a picnic where nothing else is available. There are no substitutions they can ask for when we are out of the kitchen.
Presentation Does Matter!
Just doing something simple like rolling up the salami and cheese seems to make it a brand new item for my kids even though they’ve had salami and cheese on bread numerous times. Toothpicks are cool, but cocktail forks? Major hit in our house. I recently found these in the back of my silverware drawer. They were the perfect size to pack in Stella’s lunch with a fruit salad. I added them to our dinner one night and the kids went crazy.
How do I keep it cold?
Sometimes the dinner stays in the car for awhile. Especially the night we have swim lessons first. These Ziploc containers fit perfectly in the same cooler I used at the pool all summer. So I stack them in there with some ice packs and it’s worked well so far. Even on a very hot day.
Would I do this if I worked?
Some of you are thinking…awww…this is really sweet of you since you are a stay-at-home-mom now. Honestly, I did this when I worked. It CAN be done. I was that mom who picked her kids up from daycare, fed them turkey sandwiches and carrot sticks out of a cooler in the car on the way to swim lessons after work. So you can’t use that excuse. If it’s just not your thing, that’s fine. I don’t judge. I just hate hearing people say it’s impossible. So if you need someone to tell you it CAN be done…listen up…it CAN be done. I did it then and I’m still doing it now.
The kids’ meals are #1 priority. Often (usually when Andy is in town) Andy and I don’t eat a picnic dinner with them. We can wait longer and will either grab something on the way home from soccer from a restaurant only we like or we’ll make something at home once the kids are in bed.