Guest Post From Jessa of The Homegrown Heart
Even though we try to eat at home as much as possible, there are those times when it is just convenient to drive through and get fast food or pick up a Lunchable ® on the way home. While these sources of nutrition might not be the best, I’ve picked up a couple of tricks that not only make these quick meals healthier, but they make me feel a little less guilty.
Here are some ways to help you refresh those on-the-go meals that will add some nutrition and fill those hungry bellies.
1. Remove sugary drinks
My kids know that when they get the opportunity to pick a Lunchable ® or other pre-packaged meal that they aren’t allowed to choose the ones that come with Kool-Aid or a squeezy juice pouch. But if you’re looking for a solution to not having a drink for your child’s meal, then try grabbing a bottle of water from those little refrigerators at the front of the grocery store. I usually find them two for a dollar, which is a great money saver and helps my kids avoid unnecessary calories.
If you’re worried about your little ones handling a water bottle by themselves, then try a spill-proof water bottle adapter that will keep your kids’ thirst quench and their clothes dry.
2. Replace cookies with fruit
Many of the pre-packaged meals come with cookies or some sort of dessert. These are often full of sugar and calories. We often bring these meals home (on grocery shopping day) and while I’m preparing lunch I’ll just take out the cookies and fill the place in the container with fresh fruit.
I occasionally hear grumbling at the end of the meal when they have finished their meals and are looking for a treat, but most of the time they forget there were ever cookies in the meal.
If you’re on the go, try grabbing some of those pre-packaged fruit cups they usually keep in the produce section of the grocery store. I’ve found grapes, apple slices and watermelon in ready-made cups that would fit easily in a car’s cup holder.
3. Add veggies
Even the healthier ready-made meals don’t offer vegetable options. To fix this problem, I usually pop in some carrots or cut up broccoli next to their entrée. Baby carrots are my favorite because they are easy to just throw on a plate and they are often well-received. Bags of these tiny treasures can be found in a variety of sizes, including lunchbox-sized bags that would be great for grabbing before you head out the door.
4. Ditch the fries
The fast food restaurants have really come a long way in their selection of healthy options for kids. When I was little, the only option was fries with your hamburger. Nowadays you can get fruit slices, yogurt and apple sauce in your kids’ meal without having to pay more.
While fries might be more popular, they really are unnecessary. We usually opt for the applesauce or fruit slices, but my daughter has recently become infatuated with salads and likes to feel like older by ordering one with her meal.
5. Opt for milk instead of soda
While soda goes with a hamburger and French fries like a cowboy goes with a horse (I’m planning a western-themed party right now), it’s full of sugar and does a number on a child’s metabolism and glucose levels. Opting for a healthier option like milk will give them a little flavor without giving them all of the extra calories. Plus it is important nutrients like Vitamin D that are important for growth.
6. Don’t stick to the kids’ menu
If you feel confined by what restaurants offer your child for meal time, then try ordering from the adult menu or sharing your entrée. We will sometimes order a grilled chicken sandwich and split it between the kids or order a large salad and share (with my daughter).
Hopefully, with these tips and tricks, you will be able to make your next meal-on-the-go a healthier experience.
How do you make healthier choices when you have to eat on-the-go meals?
Meet Jessa! She blogs over at The Homegrown Heart where she inspire you in your journey as a mother, wife or child of God, makes you laugh, and helps you instill Christian values through everyday experiences and Christ-centered educational activities.
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