Signs of summer have arrived: Birds are tweeting, beaches are opening and the calendar is filling up with days-long sports tournaments for the kids. While trucking the kids back and forth from home to the baseball diamond (or soccer field, lacrosse field, etc.), it’s easy to fall into bad eating habits. Stopping at those golden arches or tossing chips and prepackaged cupcakes in the car can be tempting, but we’ve got some tips and recipes to give the fast food lane a break.
We talked with our friends over at the blog With Two Spoons, Holly Berg and Lane Patten, who shared some dos and don’ts. Patten, an Eden Prairie resident, says one snack (that involves zero kitchen time) is yogurt tubes. “Freeze [them] beforehand—they will usually thaw by the time you need them,” she says. And there are several brands out there now that have lower added sugar contents and no preservatives or artificial colors.
“We always pack a small cooler for dips and drinks,” Patten says. But she recommends avoiding things that will spoil easily, since you’re likely to end up with a shade-less seat at the game. “Sandwiches like pitas with hummus and vegetables or peanut butter will hold up in the heat,” she says. “I avoid lunch meat unless I have room in the cooler.”
When you’ve got one kid on the field and two sitting next to you saying they’re bored and/or hungry, it’s nice to have a couple snack options to offer. With Two Spoons shared some kid-approved offerings with us: One, a salty snack that isn’t a bag of chips, and a veggie dip recipe that might just convince your kids broccoli isn’t so bad after all.
Chanhassen’s Julie Lizak, mother of three kids, ranging from grade school to high school, understands the importance of providing healthy meals on the run. Her Purple Sandwiches are legendary in her circle. “A friend coined the name because the bread looks a bit purple,” Lizak explains. “According to many friends, it isn’t a boat picnic without purple sandwiches. These sandwiches are great on the go because they don’t get soggy, and the bread can stand up to anything that may otherwise crush your average sandwich. The fact that it is just a little different makes them special, too.”
Besides being delicious, Lizak’s recipes are easy to pull together, which is critical when packing up the cooler and car for an early-morning trek to a kid event. She even looks for inspiration from a Food Network culinary doyenne. “The Salami with Balsamic Greens Sandwich is a variation with inspiration from my all-time favorite, Ina Garten,” she says. “Everything is better with balsamic, especially these little sandwiches. Any sandwich that doesn’t require mustard and mayo to be edible is one that I want.”
Cranberry walnut bread from Byerlys (sliced thin)
Honey Maple turkey (Boar’s Head)
Chive and onion cream cheese
Fresh basil (Optional)
Assemble and enjoy! Serve cold. These can be made the night before.
Roasted Chickpeas with a Hint of Lime
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lime zest
Juice of ½ a lime
1 pinch kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the rinsed chickpeas onto a lined pan of paper towels and allow to dry while the oven preheats. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Transfer the oiled chickpeas to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until crunchy and golden brown; approximately 30–35 minutes. Toss the warm chickpeas with lime zest, a generous pinch of kosher salt and the juice of half a lime. These will keep in an airtight container for up to two days, but keep in mind they’ll soften as they sit.
The Only Dill Dip You’ll Ever Need
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
¾ tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayo and Greek yogurt until smooth and combined. Add the chopped scallions, dill and salt. Mix gently. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste. Allow to chill 3–4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve with your favorite veggies (or, thin it with a bit more buttermilk and use as salad dressing).
Salami with Balsamic Greens
Mixed greens tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little salt/pepper
Slice the baguette lengthwise, and assemble before slicing again into sandwich size. When adding the mixed greens, be generous. If taking them on the go, use a toothpick to keep them together. They travel well and can be made in the morning for an afternoon outing. If you are having them at home, pop them in the oven to melt, and add the greens before enjoying.
Cucumber. Watermelon. When we hear “hydrating foods” those are the first ones that come to mind. But on hot summer days, those might not always be on hand, and the kids might not want them. So consider celery (topped with peanut butter maybe?), radishes, bell peppers, strawberries,
citrus fruits or cantaloupe.
If getting the all-stars to drink water is part of the problem, Patten recommends tossing fruit into the water to give it some flavor without handing them a sugar-filled juice. “It’s a great way to get anti-water people to drink water,” she says.
And if your picky eater is one who thinks fruit (like cantaloupe) is too “blah,” try it with this dip from With Two Spoons. And if the kids are extra good, this dip is also delicious with graham crackers.
Vanilla Fruit Dip
8 oz. cream cheese (softened). Use Neufchatel for a healthier version.
6 oz. Greek yogurt
1 ½ Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Whip cream cheese, Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla paste in an electric mixer or food processor. Serve with your favorite (hydrating) fruits!
- Cleanliness is next to … food safety. Be sure to clean out your cooler with a disinfectant spray after or before each use.
- Start with a cold cooler. If you store your cooler in the garage (or left it sitting in the sun), bring it inside the day before needing it, and even toss ice inside to bring down the core temperature.
- Everything going in the cooler should already be cold. Adding room-temperature food will raise the temperature of everything inside.
- Use reusable freezer packs or block ice. They take longer to melt and make stacking food containers easier since they have flat surfaces. If you don’t have packs, freeze water bottles (minus ¼ of the liquid).
- If you can’t keep the cooler in the shade, consider covering it with reflective paneling to prevent it heating up in direct sunlight.
Source: Fresh Off the Grid