If nothing else remains the same, I know this: I always need to have a list of on the go dinners for the nights when hockey practice is at five o’clock and the boys get off the bus at 4:30. I need the back up plans to my meal plans for when things go sideways.
There is one thing about me that is consistent (other than the fact that I will always buy a book if I’m in a bookstore. Always). I need to plan. At the very most basic core of my being, I need to have a rough idea of what is happening on any given day so that I can plan accordingly.
This need is not conducive to hockey or parenting as a whole. But I give it a damned good try.
With hockey season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to plan out a list of a few quick, easy and transportable on the go dinners that I can throw at my children on the way out the door to the rink. I’m sharing with you to save you all a similar conundrum and hoping that if you have one or two ideas, you can drop a comment at the bottom and I can add them to the running list I keep on my phone. Because hockey practice at 5 o’clock happens. And no one needs to deal with the hangry on top of the get-to-the-rink madness.
The criteria for these meals?
1- They have to be make and take (as in I make them and we take them to the rink. Whoever has practice at the dreaded 5pm slot can opt to eat theirs in the vehicle on the way to practice, or immediately after practice).
2- The meal takes less than 15 minutes to pull together for all five of us. In general, all five of us go to every practice or game we can. It makes for a lot of rink time, but it also makes for a lot of family time. Given that we don’t get a lot of family dinner times thanks to the hockey schedule, I figure travelling to and from the rink is a reasonable alternative. And Lord knows there are plenty of schedule conflicts that ensure we aren’t all at the rink together all that often. So, the meal needs to feed 5 in 15 minutes. 20 minutes maximum. Eating together on the way to the rink counts as a family meal, doesn’t it?
Unlike the freezer meals discussion we had two weeks ago, these are the on the go dinners that I can throw together knowing that we are going to eat them elsewhere. They are pack and go, if you will, in the hopes that we can avoid the drive thru once in a while.
This does not always work out.
Given that we typically only have one weeknight practice a week, we don’t need too many options. What I have listed below can be mixed and match and changed up enough that food boredom doesn’t send us to those golden arches.
Option 1: Snack plate. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before and I am sure I will mention this again. The gratitude I have to the person who posted this on their Facebook wall years ago will never be measured. Leftover meat, a fruit, a vegetable and a cheese string and I have a crew of happy hockey players. Ham works exceptionally well here, but leftover chicken will also do the trick for them. Or any lunch meat, really. I throw in a yogurt for each and a cookie or muffin, and everyone has a full belly while we’re at the rink.
Option 2: Bagels & cream cheese with meat sticks and fruit. The more protein I can get into these kids, the better. Especially in the middle of hockey season. They prefer the more mild turkey sticks but I can occasionally get them to eat other kinds. Again, full bellies, most of the food groups and we all eat at the rink so when we get home there is time for homework or hobbies.
Option 3: Grilled cheese. I use this recipe but at 375 degrees rather than 425. We like golden brown rather than the darker versions. And it doesn’t sound like a lot of food but the boys love it, they eat it without complaint and I bulk it up with some fruit on the side. And I don’t actually grill the sandwich. I bake them in the oven. This way I can make six at a time and be out the door faster. Important. Also, this meal often requires a follow up snack post-practice once we arrive home. I’m ok with it. Cereal never fails me when it comes to supplementing.
Option 4: Taco or pizza wraps. This one is a new one I’m going to try this season. HockeyDad had something along this line when he was away at his annual Man Canoeing Adventure and I thought it would be a good option for hockey nights. He put pizza fillings in a wrap and warmed it up over the fire until the cheese was melted. I can replicate it by putting a few wraps on a sheet pan and throwing them into the oven to heat. Also, in doing it this way, the boys can customize with the protein and veggie of their choice. Win.
Thankfully, I only need to pull these on the go dinner options out once a week, maximum all season. So four options should be enough to get us through this hockey season. No one in my house really minds repetition, so we can work with what we have there.
What are your favorite on the go dinners? Share it in the comments section because we can all use a new idea or two.
See you at the rink,