Are you a busy family in the evenings?? If so, I have a game-changing idea for you: Sideline suppers!
For many people, when the kids are involved in after-school activities it means fast food dinners or eating at restaurants. For some, it may mean buying more “easy to cook” convenience dinners that are overpriced and often not very healthy. For my family, since those options are not in our budget we end up eating a lot of PBJ picnics in the van or eating dinner crazy early or late.
There is SO MUCH research that shows how beneficial it is for kids to be involved in after-school activities, eat a healthy dinner, and for families to eat together at the table. Here’s a few benefits I found:
Afterschool activities help your kids with:
- Time Management and Prioritizing
- Exploring Diverse Interests
- Making a Contribution
- Building Self-Esteem
- College Applications
- Setting Goals
Some of the specific benefits of family dinners are (according to thefamilydinnerproject.org):
- Better academic performance.
- Higher self-esteem.
- A greater sense of resilience.
- Lower risk of substance abuse.
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy.
- Lower risk of depression.
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders.
- Lower rates of obesity.
Who doesn’t want that for their kids?? But how can you have a family meal AND participate in activities when just about every activity happens during the time you should be cooking or eating dinner?!?!
WELL, a mom I know figured out a super simple way! Take your dinner with you! This does require more planning and prep time BUT if staying on budget, eating together and being involved is important to you- You will find a way to make it work.
This awesome mom shared with me that she does most of her prep on Sunday nights. She’ll cook meats like bacon, chicken, ground beef etc. to be used throughout the week, and she cuts up fruits and veggies into little containers. She shared with me a few of her meal ideas and I’ve thought of a few of my own. Below is a big list of ideas!
- Chicken, Bacon & ranch roll ups
- Chicken salad sandwiches
- Salads: Top with veggies, cheese, meat, sunflower seeds etc. (put into individual containers and each person can have theirs the way they like!)
- Ham and Cheese crackers
- Pasta salad
Hot Meals- You can buy fancy gel packs to keep food hot, or just wrap food in foil and kitchen towels.
- Hamburgers (wrap the burgers and toppings separately)
- Hot Dogs
- Fried Chicken
- Chicken Strips
- Any kind of soup or chili
- Taco Salad
- Soft Tacos
- Pork BBQ sandwiches
- Pot Pies
- Meatloaf muffins
- Bacon, Egg and Cheese biscuits
- Meatball subs
- Steak and Cheese Sandwiches
The possibilities are endless!!! Thank you, Tiffany, for your amazing idea….I can’t take ANY credit for this!