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Get out of the kitchen fast

Easy, budget-friendly meal ideas

Most of us don’t want to spend too much time warming pre-cooked chicken nuggets in the oven, or boiling spaghetti on the stove. These simple ideas, courtesy of Amy Palanjian of External Site, will help you get in and out of the kitchen, and on to better things, without a lot of fuss. They have the added benefit of being budget friendly, nutritious and delicious enough for parents to enjoy.

Fuss-free recipes to make (or pack) for kids

Snack box lunches

Think of this simple lunch like a kid-friendly cheese plate and add and customize according to what’s fresh and in season — and what your kids like!

  • Sliced cheese
  • Rolled up deli meat or salami
  • Whole-grain crackers, snap pea crisps, whole-grain mini muffins, or granola bars
  • Fresh veggies like snap peas, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper strips, thawed frozen peas or edamame
  • Fresh fruit like grapes, berries, clementines, mini apples, dried apricots, dried cherries

Assemble at least one option from each category for balance, and serve.

Packing easy snacks for the road

"Always have a nutritious snack or two in your bag," says Palanjian. "It just might save the day when hunger strikes or you're stuck somewhere without healthy food options."

Whether you’re headed to the pool for the afternoon, or going on vacation for a week, here are some of Palanjian’s go-to snacks for travel:

  • Lara® bars, or any other bar that’s low in added sugars
  • Plain Cheerios®, Kix® and Rice Chex®
  • Trail mix (think low-salt added almonds, raisins, roasted pumpkin seeds, sliced cashews, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips)
  • Blueberries, bananas, apples or any other fresh fruit

For more practical tips for road-tripping with young children, visit: External Site.