The Kids are Home, Now What?

The Kids are Home, Now What?

The Kids are Home, Now What?

By Mary Lou Block RDN, LMNT

The long-awaited summer break is in full swing!  Woohoo! 

Usher in the “not a care in the world” mentality, unless you are the one in charge of food for growing appetites.  Suddenly, cooking responsibility, rises to a new level and best nutrition intentions fly out the drive through window.  “Welcome to the kitchen, may I take your order, please?”

Not that I am opposed to drive through dining, but honestly, let’s ask some serious questions.

  1. Can I really afford frequent fast food meals in 2022?
  • Prices are going up everywhere.  Add up the dollars spent at the drive through window for 1 meal.  Now multiply this by the anticipated number of fast food stops this summer.  Does that number scare you? 

2. Is there a healthier way to do meals on-the-go?  You maximize nutrients when you invest your fast food budget in real food from the grocery store, farmer’s market or garden.

  • Fill zip-lock bags with these foods for ready-to-go meals, right from your frig or freezer.
    • Cheese chunks or slices.
    • Left over hamburger, sausage patties, meatballs, chicken, tuna patties.
    • Boiled eggs, deviled eggs, or left over quiche.
    • Olives, dill pickles (whole or sliced).
    • Prepped fresh vegetables and fruit.  Think:
      • In-season vegetables
      • Whole fruit, grape clusters or fruit wedges (dipped in salt water to prevent browning).
    • Nuts and seeds.
    • Peanut butter jar and a box of crackers or bread.
    • Prepared salad fillings: tuna, egg, canned chicken.

3. How can you use meal time to maximize family togetherness and health?

  • Summer activities are great for kids, but not at expense of family time.  What kind of family time is it for your child if he has to eat while looking at the back of your head as you drive down the road? 
  • Instead, try a family picnic on the way to your activity:
    • Involve kids in meal prep: parents prep food, kids bag it.
    • Keep an old blanket, paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware in the car.
    • Spread blanket on the grass and hand out dinnerware and bottles of water.
    • Set zip lock bags in the middle.
    • Make everyone wait until grace is said, or the host begins the meal.
    • Everyone has to try 3 vegetables, only one can be left uneaten.                  

Practical Ideas for living this out:                           

Potato, corn & tuna patties

Chicken Salad

            -2 cans (12.5 oz.) chicken breast

            -2 boiled egg, diced

            -Diced fresh vegetables (green onions, celery, carrots, radishes, zucchini, etc.)


 -1 cup red grapes, halved

            -2/3 cup mayonnaise

            -1-2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)

            -1-2 T lemon juice (optional)

            -salt and pepper to taste

Watermelon cake

Cut small melon in half.

Place ½ melon face down in a large Tupperware container.

Without lifting melon, slice it in 12 slices, like a layer cake.

Cover with lid. It is ready for your on-the-go meal, and for little fingers to grab their piece of cake!)

Remember…Simple, Quick, Fresh, Outside, and Healthy!

You can find me at both Gothenburg Health and in private practice.  Email me to find out if real food nutrition might help you with your health journey.  My email is

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