I find it more difficult to get dinner on the table when fall sports practices start compared to spring sport practices. I think it’s a combination of getting back into the swing of school and homework along with the days getting shorter. In the spring, our routine is set, homework is actually winding down, and the days get longer and it doesn’t seem as strange to eat dinner at 8:30.
When my boys were younger, we went through many a drive-thru after soccer practice to grab a quick bite. My drive-thru trips are few and far between these days. I still try to have dinner at home on the nights the boys have sports practice, which is just about every night at this point.
If we’re not going to eat dinner until after practice, I make sure they have a healthy snack an hour or so before practice. When we get home, I’ll frequently whip up one of these dinners. These dinners aren’t intended to introduce the kids to any new foods or expand their palates. They’re simply intended to get a healthy meal on the table in a short amount of time. The family can eat together and also get things like homework or a quick family board game in before bedtime.
Scrambled eggs, whole grain toast and cut up fruit. This can be thrown together in 10 minutes while the boys are changing out of their dirty clothes. I’ll add whatever is handy to the eggs — cheese, leftover ham, chives from the garden, toast up some fiber-rich bread, and cut up apples, peaches, melon or whatever is in the fridge.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup with carrot slices. Again, this is quick to throw together. My favorite store-bought tomato soup is Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato. I pair that with gooey grilled cheese sandwiches on whole-grain bread, and I add a bowl of sliced carrots on the table. The boys eat it up.
Baked potato and salad. Microwave baked potatoes (or if you’re leery of microwave ovens, you can put baked potatoes in the slow cooker hours beforehand), and top with broccoli and cheddar cheese. Add a salad of mixed greens and whatever else your kids like on top of the salad.
Quesadillas. Brown ground beef or turkey and taco seasonings together earlier in the day and store in the fridge. When you get home from practice, it will only take a few minutes to throw the meat on a tortilla, top with cheese, tomatoes, onions, and other fillings, and then add a second tortilla on top. Cook on the stovetop on a lightly greased pan. When one side is browned, flip and cook until the other side is browned and fillings are heated. Serve with fresh salsa on the side.
Pizza. You may think I’m cheating with this one, but sometimes, even for an eco-friendly food blogger’s family, pizza happens. Even if I have the 15 minutes to make a meal when the boys get home from practice, I don’t have the food in the house. I’d much rather order a pizza from a local pizzeria that uses fresh, wholesome ingredients than hit the fast-food restaurant and get burgers made from who-knows-what and greasy fries. So in a pinch, I’ll order from the field and pick up a pizza on the way home.