I am tired. The kind of weariness that only a mom with a few kids and a few fall sports and a beginning-of-the-year school schedule can know. Evidence: it’s not yet noon and I’ve had a diet coke and a latte and I’m sitting here having nap fantasies. Not that you can blame me, yesterday evening unfolded as follows:
I rushed out of the office at 5:00 to meet the nanny and all three children at a swim meet. I watched my little fish cut four fast-paced laps of freestyle through the water, and then…
I drove her two sisters to a volleyball game. I watched a handful of rotations, and then…
I drove back to the swim meet to catch the last relay, retrieved my spawn (get it?) and then…
We went back to the volleyball court to watch the last serve. At this point in time it was close to 7:30.
We left the gym, I pulled the car into the garage, and then I managed to get three kids plus their backpacks plus all of their towels, knee pads, and assorted gear into the house. I immediately ushered some children into showers and others into homework. At this point I was going to take a breath (and maybe pour myself a small glass of wine) when I got hit mid states-and-capitals-practice with, “I’m starrrrrving. What’s for dinner?”
Ummm….dinner? “XXXX” (insert four letter word of your choice, said silently in my head, not out loud). I know that some of you are out there thinking, “Duh. Why didn’t she just hit the drive-thru on her way home?” and I hear you, I do. It’s just that I hate fast food. Not because I’m a calorie freak or a prophet for good nutrition, but because where I live, the lines at the drive-thru seem to take forever, and all I want to do after a full day of work followed by two simultaneous sporting events and at least 45 minutes in the car is GET HOME.
And so today I turned to the internet for ideas on how to solve this “feed the kids on the run” dilemma, and the consensus seems to be that there are lots of healthy, hearty snacks that you can take on the road to stave off hunger, allowing you time when you get home to either throw something together quickly or even order a pizza. Some of my favorites came from ChefMom:
Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies
32 oz. plain kefir
2 cups fresh fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges and bananas
Milk or juice, if necessary
Let your kids add kefir and fruit to a blender or food processor.
Secure the lid and purée until smooth (consider the sip opening of their bottle and make sure that no chunks of fruit will get stuck).
If you need to thin smoothie, add your choice of milk or juice.
Transfer smoothie to drinking containers and refrigerate until ready to go.
Honey Glazed Almonds and Dried Fruit
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup honey
2 cups raw almonds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Generous pinch of salt
2 cups dried fruit
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in honey and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble. (If your children are old enough, let them stir the mixture.)
Add almonds, coriander and salt to the honey mixture. Stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned.
Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and spread nuts out in a single layer. Allow nuts to cool completely.
Let your kids transfer almonds to a large bowl and toss with dried fruit.
Teach your kids how to package nuts in 1/4- to 1/2-cup portions for a healthy grab and go snack.
Bagel Thin Almond Butter and Fruit Sandwiches
4 whole-wheat thin bagels, split, toasted
4 to 6 tablespoons almond butter
Bananas, strawberries, grapes, apricots or other soft fruit
Have your kids spread almond butter on 4 bagel thin halves then smash fruit on the other 4 halves with the back of a fork.
Let your kids assemble the sandwiches then place in lunch bags. If making ahead, keep sandwiches in the refrigerator until ready to go.
Cook’s note: If sandwiches will be at room temperature for more than 2 hours, pack them with a lunchbox ice pack.
Hummus and Crackers
2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
Crackers of your choice
Have your kids combine beans, lemon juice, parsley and garlic in a blender or food processor.
Secure the lid and blend. With the machine running, let your kids slowly drizzle olive oil into the hummus until a dip consistency is reached.
Transfer hummus to individual serving lunch containers. Portion 1 ounce or less of crackers into snack bags or containers. Keep hummus refrigerated until ready to pack.
And just in case you need a stylish, insulated tote in which to store your homemade goodies, grab that Bed, Bath & Beyond discount postcard you get in the mail every month and check out these totes! Attractive and roomy…just like a Birkin, only insulated!
I’m hanging in there Moms, you do the same. We’re all in this together!