Spring is in the air. This means rain, flowers and track. Our children love to play sports. We have four kids so we are constantly in a sport during the whole school year. Volleyball and basketball keep us busy, but nothing interrupts our eating schedule more than track. Half of the disruption is the timing of practice. The 5:30-7:30 practice makes our normal supper time unavailable. Then you have the track meets that last 4-6 hours, making supper complicated and snacks a necessity!
If you noticed back in January, budgets are important to us. In our budget, restaurants are an area with a strict budget cap. So while I would love to have hot pretzels and nachos at each meet, we do not allow ourselves that yummy treat. At least not every time. So over the years I have created my go-to meals for when we are on the go. We often do these meals at volleyball and basketball tournaments, and sometimes when we have games in another city and we can’t get home in time for supper. I have found that if we are purposeful, we can eat meals that are delicious and handy, without breaking the budget! During our super busy seasons I also fall back on these quick options when we only have a few short minutes to get everyone fed before going out the door.
Today I am going to share some of our food favorites for these types of days in hopes you share some of yours. Click on the comments below to share your go to “on the go” meals and snacks.
This is what I pack in a bag and leave it stocked during the whole season.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Sun Screen
- Bag of Napkins
- Bag of Silverware
- Paper plates/bowls
- Trash bags and Walmart sacks
- Bleacher chairs/bag chairs
I use these to make it easier for me.
- Instant Pot*- I use this to make a lot of my main dishes at home. See recipes below. (A quick alternative for chicken meals-use rotisserie chicken instead)
- Camp Crock**- I use this to take my main dishes on the go and keep them warm. Fill with hot water beforehand to get it warm. This is $50, which is an investment. For us it has saved us money over the years by allowing us to bring a variety of foods and has saved us from eating meat, cheese and crackers every day. (Plus we asked for it for Christmas!)
These are great for the runners in between races when there isn’t enough time to digest a meal. I rotate around these options and have a couple to choose from each time.
- Trail Mix
- Dried Fruit
- Beef Jerky
- Peanut Butter and Ritz Crackers
- Energy Bites: Rebekah’s friends call these “Jesus Bites” because they are heavenly! I don’t know if that is sacrilegious or not, but they are yummy! Monster Cookie is our favorite.
- Granola Bars and Protein Bars
- Extra Water
I try to take enough food for one complete meal. The non-runners eat it whenever. The runners typically will eat a light meal a few hours before the meet and then after their races are done. If we are gone for more hours, we either just snack throughout the day or stop and get some food on our way home.
- Fruit: I pack 1-2 options. Grapes, oranges and apples are our favorite
- Veggies: Hummus and cut up veggies are our go to. Pita bread is an added treat!
- Main dish: I always take peanut butter and tortillas to have as a snack or meal option. For the track meets I try to take an additional main dish. Here are my favorites:
Chicken Parmesan Sliders: I make the meat ahead of time and place the warm meat in the camp crock. Then I assemble the sandwiches when needed.
CopyCat Panera Baja Grain Bowl: I make the chicken in the Instant Pot. I also cheat and buy microwavable brown rice and quinoa packets. I put the rice and chicken in the camp crock. Then I prepare all the toppings I want to take in Tupperware containers and place them in a cooler. I use some prepackaged items and leave out others.
Chicken Burrito Bowls: I cook the chicken in the Instant Pot with taco seasoning and water or chicken broth. I make Cilantro rice and place it in the camp crock with the chicken. Then I prepare all the toppings I want to take in Tupperware containers and place them in a cooler. I use some prepackaged items and leave out others.
Chicken and Bacon Sandwiches: I cook the chicken in the Instant Pot unless I am thinking ahead and grilled extra chicken breasts. I place the chicken in the camp crock if I want it hot and in the cooler if I want it cold. We don’t have to have sauce at our house, so we keep it simple. Slice of tomato, piece of lettuce, piece of already cooked bacon, slice of cheese and call it yummy. A slightly different version is here Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps (we often leave off the ranch sauce).
Walking Tacos: I prepare the meat/rice mixture ahead of time and place it warm in the camp crock. We serve it with Fritos and taco toppings. Recipe below.
Thai Chicken Wraps: We leave off the peanut sauce-again not huge sauce fans over here. We use tortillas or pita bread.
Greek Wraps: We switch this one up quite a bit but it will give you an idea of where we are going. We use our own hummus recipe. I cook the chicken as breasts either on the grill or in the Instant Pot. Instead of making the Greek salad I slice up the veggies and leave off the cheese and olives. We eat this as a wrap on tortillas or pita bread.
You can use your own family recipes for are:
- Sloppy Joes
- Chicken or Tuna Salad
- Meat, cheese and Crackers
*If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries. Use a rotisserie chicken or cook the chicken how you normally do.
**What if I don’t have a Camp Crock, or something similar? Put it on your Christmas list! If you don’t have something to keep the meat warm now, you can still make it ahead of time. Then you can either assemble it into serving bowls and have the family eat it on the way to the event. Or you can have it all ready to warm up as soon as you get home from the event.
***Is this necessary?? Of course not! To some this will be too much work to be worth it. I get that. Others can fit eating out into their budget. This is the easier option!! Still others don’t need as much food as my hungry crew of 6- what a blessing! This is one of those opportunities to assess if this will work for your family or if you can toss it aside because it won’t. These could also be used when traveling or camping.
1 lb hamburger (or turkey)
1 can tomato soup
1- 6oz tomato paste
2 ½ cups water
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Couple dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional)
¾ cup minute rice
Brown hamburger and onion in a pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the minute rice. Bring to boil, then add minute rice. Turn the head down and simmer. Simmer for 30-60 minutes until the rice is cooked. You may need to add water to keep it from drying out. Serve over Fritos and top with your favorite taco toppings.