“Car Picnics”- How To Eat On The Go: The Plea

Raise your hand if you are running kids to after-school activities or sports. Put you hand down. Raise your hand if these activities take place on the weekend as well. Put you hand down. Raise your hand if these activities and sports are interfering with family meal times, children’s snack times, or causing you to go through the Drive-Thru too often, eating quick and unhealthy foods, or not eating at all. Everyone put your hands down. I need to put my hands down too so I can type.

One BRK reader writes:

I have a very selfish suggestion for some ideas to blog about.

Since we started into a very busy spring sports time, and very busy academic schedule— we end up eating on the run a lot. I hate to do fast food and I am trying to figure out some things to either make on the weekend that just need a quick reheating— but in particular we need food that not only can be ready fast, but can be eaten fast or on the go— we call them our “car picnics”.

I do chicken tenders a lot with a baggie of carrots and small cup of applesauce—but I can’t do that every night.

Maybe you have some ideas for some “hot pocket” sandwiches, or wraps on the go—something that would be fun and nutritious and keep me from feeling so guilty that we have no time to stop and eat. (Lacrosse practice is from 5:30-7:30) 2 nights a week- we have to leave the house by 5:10— so there are times when I am running by the house to pick up the lacrosse gear and then getting them from school and taking them right to practice. The kids are starving- protein bars help, but they aren’t dinner.

I am assuming that we are not the only family struggling with how to do dinner on sports nights.


Car Picnic Momma

Dear Car Picnic Momma,

No you are not alone! I, like everyone else struggle with snacks, meal planning, too late dinners, or lousy dinners. I too am tempted by processed snacks, Drive-Thru’s, and the ball park snack bar but “No More” I say. I too am looking for healthier alternatives, no more Drive-Thru’s (which are more dangerous than drive-by’s!), and saving MY money during these economic tough times.

In my “Car Picnics”- How To Eat On The Go series, I will share helpful food-packing tips, meal and snack ideas, favorite Crock Pot recipes, discuss the best types of food coolers to use and more. So stay tuned for the next several posts titled “The GOOD, the BAD, the UGLY, the UH-OH’s, and the UNBELIEVABLE.”


Robin Sue

Homework- For this week, make a “Loaf of Sandwiches” and freeze or refrigerate. Go ahead and pre-bag some chips, popcorn, fruit, and veggies. Bake a batch of Snack Cake, cut and bag it up too. Then keep everyone away from them by making it a rule that no one is to eat any pre-bagged snacks as they are only for “Car Picnics!”

Tomorrow in BRK: The GOOD– My suggestions for food and beverage vessels, packing lists, how to keep food hot or cold, and more!

Related Posts:
“Car Picnics”- How To Eat On The Go: The GOOD
“Car Picnics”- How To Eat On The Go: The BAD- The Chicken and The Egg
“Car Picnics”- How To Eat On The Go: The BAD- Noodles and Dough
“Car Picnics”- The UGLY: Ballpark Food- Nachos
“Car Picnics” The UH OH’s: Pop Pop Pop Popcorn
Loaves of Sandwiches
Tips For Packing Better Lunches
Snack Cake Mix
Lunch Lady


  1. EAT!
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Great ideas. I will only have trouble keeping “them” away from the individually wrapped snacks. It seems that as soon as I wrap anything in a mini snack bag, they want it more.

    I may use your suggestions and start selling car picnics to all the other parents waiting to pick their kids up from baseball/softball/lacrosse/soccer/etc.

  2. Joan Nova
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    I’m past relating to that experience but you’re so clever, I’m sure this series will be a big hit!

  3. Jennifer Wilson
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    I can’t wait for this series. I’ve got 2 ball players in my house – my husband and my stepson. If all goes as it has in years past – we’ll be out 4-5 nights a week for practice or games.

  4. Parker
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Great practical series on car picnics, you may want to consider a foodies round up – there are probably lots of soccer moms with great ideas out there.

    You are right though, plan your meals on Sunday for the busy days and will reduce the rush on game day.

  5. Karen
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Robin Sue, you’re a genius for doing this! I had only one daughter and she wasn’t a joiner, so I can’t relate to the soccer mom stories, but I well remember my sister with her 4 boys and how often they ate boiled hot dogs for dinner on the way to the ball game/practice! All grown now, they joke about it… it was always hot dogs for dinner!

  6. Lisa
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    My hand is in the air!We have PB &J's in the car. I am looking forward to all your ideas.

  7. noble pig
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    And this is why you are so awesomely awesome! You have such great ideas and feeding kids on the run is so hard! Great Post!

  8. Joie de vivre
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    I love this idea! You also make a great “Dear Robin Sue” by the way.

  9. biz319
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    I am past this time in my life too – now my daughter plays softball on my adult work league!

    Great idea though – I can’t tell you how many times we’ve settled for Subway during softball.

    Although my husband perfected Friday night Football food. He would take a wide mouth thermos, heat beef broth until almost boiling and pour that in. Then he would add cooked cheddar brats.

    I was in charge of packing buns, chips, veggies, dessert and plenty of mustard and napkins. You should have seen the look on peoples faces when they started smelling the brats!

    Sadly, those days are over too – my step-son is 19 now! 😀

  10. Sheila
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately we have breakfast in the car, snacks in the car and sometimes dinner in the car. I need so many car picnic meals! You always have great tips.

  11. GFE--gluten free easily
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    Since we only had one son, we didn’t have it so bad, but I knew one family who had four kids in soccer at the same time. Luckily, the practices and games were all at the same fiedl. They would actually bring a small grill to the field and cook dinner for them all, letting the kids come to eat as their team agenda allowed. This was also a park that allowed grilling, so it worked in that situation.

    Wonderful ideas! It’s such a problem for so many.


  12. Cottonpickinfarm
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    I put a link from my blog to yours! (www.cottonpickinfarm.blogspot.com) I love the series and the comments. Great job!

  13. redforever
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    I am past this stage too, I have a daughter and a son.

    I would just like to throw a little not of “been there, done that” advice out.

    Do not get caught up in the hoopla that if your child/children is not in every afterschool activity that interests them, they will end up unprepared for the world.

    Depending on the age of my children, they were allowed 1 or 2 activities. Less when younger, more when older. And the activities could not interfere with our supper hour. That was SACRED in our house, to eat as a family. Their activities had to be before or after the evening meal. And I lived in the country, so I probably had more driving that many who live within the confines of a city.

    My advice….. make priorities, based on the wants of your children, the ability of you as parents to fulfill the wants of your children and what you as a parent actually see feasible for both you and the children to achieve.

    I just see too many children these days over enrolled in extra curricular activities.

    Presuming of course that most of you are already doing that, then Robin’s ideas of co-ordinating ideas how to better serve the needs of your children is an excellent idea.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Each of my sons is involved in one activity. That doesn't save us from insanity. All games are at the same time on opposite ends of town. It's all well & good to say that you as a parent should take more responsibility but frequently it is out of your hands. One boy plays high school soccer; the other plays baseball. Our youngest gets to be the team mascot because I don't have enough time to get him to anything else.

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