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What to Feed Kids and Adults Enroute to After-School Activities

One of our members sent me this email. I have some suggestions, and I am putting it out to the group for your comments. Cheryl, I have 2 daughters age 7 and 9. They are on the swim team here in Lawrence and practice 5 nights per week from 5:45 till 7. We get home around 7:30. They get out of school at 3 then attend the After School Program till 5:15 when I pick them up to go to swim practice. They get a snack in the After School Program (not much). I’m wondering what I can feed them in the car from school to swim practice that will be nutritious (rather than drive-up food). Then, when we get home at 7:30 that seems too late for dinner especially in winter. I guess I’m just after some ideas… Thanks. —————————- My Comments and Suggestions Wow, 5 nights a week. I would guess that juggling this schedule could be a little hard on you. Having healthy convenient foods made up ahead of time will help you manage this busy schedule. In fact the recommendations I’m making are true for anybody who needs a healthy snack – kids or adults. I’m glad that you’re looking for healthy options. Healthy options can be just as convenient as junk food, if you prepare them a little ahead. Since your girls be swimming, I’m assuming you’re wanting ideas for light snacks. You can think of their snacks as mini meals. In other words, snacks can contain foods that might be eaten at regular meal times but are just packaged in snack-size packages. Here are some ideas:

  • Pre-portioned baggies of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
  • Baggies of fruit (grapes, cut up apples, pineapple, etc)
  • Baggies of cut up veggies with or without dressing
  • Baggies of dry breakfast cereals with nuts and seeds added
  • String Cheese (individually wrapped) or cubed cheese with whole grain crackers like Triscuits
  • Cottage cheese (with optional chopped raw vegetables or fruit in it)
  • Cup of yogurt
  • Hard pretzels – the large ones
  • Half a sandwich
  • Mix up a sandwich spread like tuna or egg salad that is always at-the-ready and fill pita pockets for quick, on-the-go snacks

The dinner meal can fill out the rest of the nutrients they may have missed during the day. Thinking back on the day you might ask: Did they get their fruits and veggies in? Did they eat some whole grain foods like oatmeal or breakfast cereals? Cereal can make a quick nutritious evening meal too. As a matter of fact, any breakfast meal can can make a quick evening meal – especially if it adds nutrients missing from the day’s meals and mini meals. I like to make these kinds of snack kits on Sunday so I’m ready for the week ahead. That might work for you too. To streamline the process you can designate one spot in the refrigerator as snacks and foods for these two little athletes. You might put their things in a pull out container so it’s easy to assemble their mini meals and snacks. And…here’s a thought – have them assemble their own snack packs. That would be fun, and it would make them more likely to eat them. They’ll also be learning healthy habits that will serve them well in the future. To streamline your meal and snack processes even more, you can make up a weekly lists of snacks and meals you plan to have. These lists can be used again and again saving you precious time and struggle over thinking about what to have to eat. Keep them in a kitchen folder with your favorite recipes, meal plans, and snack ideas. Comments Please I know that a lot of our readers have great suggestions to add to these. Please go to the comment link below and tell us about your suggestions. You can feel free to include any identifying information you are willing to share like your name, city. Or you can choose to remain anonymous. Thanks! Cheryl

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