Are you sick of sandwiches and chips all summer long? I know that we are busy-busy in the summer, so we eat a lot of meals on the go. But boy do I get sick of the traditional on-the-go fare. Whose with me?
Most of us like to stay busy and active in the summer. And we want to look great and have energy all summer long. A big part of doing this is eating right. The best way to accomplish this is to plan out your summer eating on the go. Fail to plan, and plan to fail.
If you want to stay healthy, not spend a fortune on fast-food, and still be able to have a summer on the go, a good plan is worth a million bucks.
Our family loves to go to Lagoon all summer long. It is our local theme park, and it comes with theme-park price tags for food. I know that my kids would love a summer diet of churros and soft drinks, but that is not a good idea for our budget or our health.
So how do we enjoy our summers at the theme parks, swimming pools, and parks and still eat healthy?
Here are the five things I have found work for our family of six:
1. Buy the right supplies.
A few years back I was shopping at Ross and found this soft-sided cooler with built in ice packs. You just put the whole cooler in the freezer, and you don’t have to take up valuable cooler space with ice packs.
I have loved this cooler and use it almost daily in the summer. When we get home, I do a quick clean out, then tuck it back into the freezer so it is ready for the next day.
This FlexiFreeze Re-Freezable Cooler is very similar to what I have. I think it is worth every penny! And at about $20, you can’t go wrong.
I load the cooler up each morning, and that way no matter where we are or what we are doing, I have snacks and healthy options on hand.
The other thing I make sure we all have is a full water bottle. Buying beverages can be costly, and an outing to the park or pool can turn bad fast without proper hydration. Read about staying hydrated here.Take along the disposable water bottles, or get the refillable kind. Each of my kids has their own water bottle, and it is their responsibility to fill it before we head out for the day.
These are my favorite, and they are a great price:
Contigo Autoseal Kids Trekker Cup, 14-Ounce, Citron/Cobalt, Set of 2
The next thing I always make sure I have are little containers. They are great for dips, cut fruits and cheese cubes, etc. My kids love Bento Box lunches with lots of variety and small portions. They eat better, and get the rainbow.
There are great for that:
Sunsella Buddy Box’s – 4 High Quality BPA Free Bento Lunch Boxes – Not Leakproof – Durable Plastic Lunch & Food Storage Containers – Microwave, Freezer & Dishwasher Safe – Meets FDA Standards – Keeps Food Separated, Perfectly Sized Portions, Child Friendly Colorful Lids, Great for School or Office Lunches
2. Plan ahead.
Even on days I do not intend to be gone during meal time I like to pack some snacks.
We planned early on in the summer that we would not buy food when out. This is great for the budget and health. The kids know they get one day a week where we go out for treats or meals. And the rest of the summer, no matter how much the kids want it, they aren’t going to get concessions or foods at the park, pool, or theme park.
By setting the standard early we avoid a lot of the tantrums associated with wanting treats when out, and save lots of money. My kids know that they can’t ask because the answer will be “no”. But to be able to enforce this, I have to have options for them when they are hungry and thirsty. Thus the planning and preparation before heading out. Always having water bottles, and at a bare minimum keeping dry snacks in the purse/diaper bag/car helps eliminate problems.
3. Shop and Prepare
One of the things that are life savers for us in the summer is that I shop with on-the-go eating in mind, and I take a few minutes when I get home from grocery shopping to prepare food so that it is easy to use. I buy things like Gogo SqueeZ Applesauce, Larabar Mini Bars, and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies that are good for on-the-go eating.
I do what I can to prepare them too. For example, I wash berries, grapes, etc. and do a vinegar soak so they stay good longer. I peel and cut carrot sticks, and put them in a little water. I cube melons and pineapple, and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. I don’t fully prepare the food, but I make sure if I only have a few minutes to get ready to go a lot of the leg work is already done.
In addition, I implemented a bin system (which you can see in above photo) that has ready to go foods in small containers sorted by bins (fruit, veggies, snack/treat, meat and cheese). You can read more about it on my food blog Eazy Peazy Mealz.
It takes only a few minutes a week to fill the little containers and it means we always have something ready to go. The kids can pack their own lunch and choose what they want to eat, and I know they are getting foods that are good for them.
4. Involve the Whole Family
The kids are a big part of making eating on-the-go possible. We often do assembly lines for sandwich making, and the kids help pack their “snack boxes” for the day. This really helps them take some responsibility for their stomachs, and lighten my load. And they are great little reminders, as they don’t love being at the park with growling tummies.
5. Think Outside the Lunch Box
One thing that really helps our eating on the go during the summer is not restricting ourselves to typical fare. While sandwiches are well and good, I have taken wings and potato skins, stir fry, brat wursts, salads, and several other meals with us to the ball park, the theme park, or the normal park with out batting an eye. And when we do go for the more traditional fare, I try to spice it up a bit with things like green olives, artichoke hearts, and lovely soft spreadable cheeses so that it does not feel like everyday is PB & J!
As you can see from the photo above, I often bring prepared tacos and toppings, and we eat those wherever we are!
Hope this helps you eat right and save money all summer long. What do you do to make eating on the go in the summer easier?
linked at savvysouthernstyle.net