Guest post from Jamie of Medium Sized Family
When you have five children like my Hubby and I do, you can expect to be busy a lot of the time. For our family, baseball season is especially hectic. We have kids playing on four different teams, so we are running to practice or games more often than not.
In the past, this has meant hitting a lot of fast food places for a quick meal.
But this year, that isn’t an option. Our family is in the middle of paying off a big debt, and we are spending every penny carefully. We are calling it the #YearofNo; and that means no fast food.
Last year during baseball season, we spent hundreds of dollars on fast food. So far this year we have spent $5! Here’s how we are avoiding fast food in our busy season:
Whether you call it supper or dinner, this meal can be stressful. You are often trying to scarf down food and get out the door. Often, that stress is what makes me want to give up on the thought of putting together a meal and just join the drive thru line instead.
Here are a few simple meals that lessen the stress:
1 Burritos in the Freezer
I printed out Crystal’s Brown Bag Burrito recipe years ago. Our family loves the taste of them. I love the fact that I can put together a batch of them without taking up too much time. They wait in our freezer, ready to warm up at a moment’s notice.
Not only that, but you can easily take them along with you if you have to be extra fast.
I have also made burritos out of leftover chicken I had made for a different meal. This can be a great way to use up leftovers, especially if you made a meal with a bit of a Mexican flair. Just be sure to label your bags so you know which ingredients are inside!
2. Slow Cooker Meals
Collect as many simple but great Crock Pot ideas as you can handle. Keep them simple, so that you can throw them together whenever you have the time.
You can deal with a different Crock Pot meal each morning. Or you can take one day to compile seven meals into bags that you can just drop into the pot on the morning you need them. Do what fits your schedule best.
The great part about the Crock Pot is that you don’t have to be in the kitchen when you really need to be finding cleats. You can also eat the moment everyone is ready to sit down instead of waiting for something to finish cooking.
Hot or cold, sandwiches are a great option for on the go eating.
Pair it with a crock pot recipe for sandwich fillings and you’re in great shape! Add variety by using buns, sandwich bread, tortillas or wraps, french bread loaves cut into individual portions, pretzel bread, or whatever you can find in your local grocery store.
4. Mac & Cheese in a Cup
Whether you make homemade mac & cheese or use the blue box (you’ll get no judgement from me!), take it along in a cup for a little variety.
Plan Ahead for School Lunches
Buying a school lunch always costs more than one we can pack from home. Here’s how we make packing a lunch easier.
Make It Easy to Pack Lunches the Night Before
Our family prefers to pack lunches the night before. We place cold things in a basket in the fridge. Room temperature items wait in the lunch boxes for the next morning.
But getting home late from sporting events makes it tough to keep up with school lunches.
I try to prepare for that by having easy to grab foods close at hand. Making a sandwich can take more time than you want to spend after being at a ball game all night. Hard boiled eggs, muffins, or cold pizza slices are all great choices.
Bring Snacks and Drinks On the Go
If your kids are like mine, they probably spend a lot of time begging for things from the concession stand. I try to anticipate this and head it off as much as possible.
I do that by bringing our own snacks and drinks along to the games. Water coolers or even a pack of juice boxes are cheaper at the grocery store. I bring along cut up fruit (grapes, melons, and berries keep pretty well), raisins, trail mix, breakfast bars, and even some fun candy.
You can avoid pricey convenience food and make great strides in paying off debt with a plan.
Following these tips will make your life a little easier and a lot less stressful. Not to mention the money you’ll save by planning ahead!
What are your favorite recipes and tips for avoiding fast food on busy nights?
Jamie Jeffers can be found on a baseball field almost daily. But you might find it easier to visit her via her blog, Medium Sized Family. That’s where she gives her best money saving tips. Follow along as her family continues their BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) of paying off a big debt this year.