Here’s the one thing I have struggled with since we started hockey. Meal times. And here’s what I’ve learned: easy meals for sports nights are absolute life savers.
A friend of mine (hi Meg!) coined the term “Fright Night” and I adopted it because it totally describes my current existence. You know those nights that you get home from work and have about 60 seconds to throw something in front of the kids before you all have to take off again?
Those are Fright Nights.
Fright Nights are where meal plans go to die. They are the nights that you have the best of intentions to have put something in the crockpot for that night, but didn’t. Or you planned on something but the kids had a major snack attack and ate all of the one crucial ingredient you needed for the recipe. They are the nights that you need an easy meal because without them, you have hangry children. And they are the nights where you need an easy meal for sports nights. That is my life right now. Because a few nights a week (and most weekends), we need to eat and run.
Doesn’t matter, really, if you are going to sports, or there are school events or what have you. A Fright Night is one that you feel like your hair is on fire and everything has to fall exactly into place at the exact right time in order for people to get to where they need to be, when they need to be. They are the nights you fly home, bark orders like a military veteran and generally end up looking like a crazy person to your children and possibly your spouse.
Also, you might not, but I usually end up at wherever it is we need to be sweaty and exhausted but successful. Usually.
The goal, when it comes to dinner time, for these nights its easy, somewhat healthy, and garners as few arguments as possible. Because arguments take time. And there is no time for arguments on these nights.
I like to keep a list of these easy meals on the fridge so I don’t have to think too hard when Fright Nights descend.
- Oatmeal, yogurt and fruit- No one argues. I usually buy the plain oatmeal packets (yes, I know I can make them myself. Baby steps here people) and sweeten it with a little maple syrup. Add in the yogurt and fruit and I’ve hit three out of the four food groups. Score.
- Snack plates- Cheese, crackers, veggie and some fruit. It takes about 2 seconds to throw together, and the boys eat.it.up. Done.
- Pasta- This one isn’t as balanced as the others, but you know what? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. If it gets something in their bellies, I can always pack some fruit and yogurt to bring to the rink with us for them to have. The goal with this meal is to fill the hole in the belly until we get to where we need to go.
- Bagels, cream cheese & banana- Again, few arguments, most of the food groups. Solid win.
- Drive thru- Desperate times, desperate measures, my friends. The drive thru isn’t your enemy when the goal is to get something in their bellies. It might not be the healthiest choice, but again, that’s not always the goal. Sometimes you just get something in their tummies to tide them over. I try not to stress about it too much. I do try to make sure that it isn’t a weekly event though. Balance.
Right now, I am hoping for the day that the boys learn to love soup. I could throw some stuff in the Crock Pot and voila, meal time. But they don’t right now. And Fright Nights are not the time to tackle their palates.