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Good eating on the go


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True to my vow on the "athletic training" thread, I'd like to start a thread asking parents to post their favorite recipes for good, healthy eating during those long drives to and from the studio.


I've had very good luck with grilled chicken as the basis for many car meals. Grill some skinless, boneless breasts up and they're good to use for a few days (with proper refrigeration, of course!).


One of our first recipes was borne of desperation -- a neighborhood kid showed up one evening around dinnertime, hungry and bereft of family (that's a whole other story). So we had to stretch the planned meal to include him (and he had a hefty appetite). So we took the grilled chicken we had, boiled up all the rotini pasta we had, chopped up every vegetable in the bin (green peppers, carrots, green onions) and emptied a can of sweet corn into the mix. Then we doused it all with a red wine vinaigrette, grated a ton of parmesan over the top, and voila! A balanced meal!


We have since found that this meal travels very well, except for the grated cheese, but if you want to be fancy, you can pack that separately and add it at the last minute. I find that little touches like these make the dancer feel more inclined to eat and less inclined to resent eating on the go.

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I'll be over tonight, chauffeur! :angry: But it really does sound marvelous.


Since our evening return is way past the dinner hour, I finally figured out that the best thing to do was to bring a meal, often very similar to yours, when I was picking up my child as well.


A variation on this theme can be substituting pesto sauce in lieu of red wine...changing the chicken to shrimp, etc. The great thing about pasta with protein is that the diner gets both short and longer term energy...at least that's my hope!


Rice and beans can also be eaten cold, as a change of pace. Sadly, I can't give you a great recipe on this one - as this genre is more of my husband's bailiwick. :devil:

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Soup and a roll/bread have long been favorites for us....the soup is less filling and sometimes goes down better before/after class. I have multiple recipes for a variety of soups, including the cream of vegetable du jour or vegetable du jour with cheese that have become favorites here. A wide mouthed thermos with spoon does the trick. For snacks, peanut butter with bananas or crackers, vegetables with salad dressing, pretzels and cheese....For fluid, something with a little potassium (Gatorade, Propel, Vitamin Water) and sugar to help muscle recovery is good after class.

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Pita bread is great for meals on the go, and you can stuff almost anything inside. I buy the whole wheat pitas - they're a staple around our house.


For breakfast you can toss in nut butter - almond or cashew has less saturated fat than peanut, and a little goes a long way - and some raisins or chopped dried apricots. With nut butter the mini-pitas are better because it's hard to go overboard. It's not the lowest-calorie breakfast, but it's a healthy one and a great energy-builder.


For a lunch or dinner you can stuff a pita with the ubiquitous chicken breast and lo-cal dressing with almost any veggies. I coupon a lot, and I find that the Lawry's marinades that I get for 50 cents every few weeks are good for things like this. 10 calories/tsp and they make whatever you put it on stick together better than a plain vinaigrette. You can add cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, etc.


If you want a vegetarian option, hummus is another great pita-filler and again, it makes the insides stick together a little better. Add whatever veggies you have, and voila, you have a meal. I can't always get the hummus from the deli case, but it isn't hard to make and I also get (sounds icky, but tastes good) the "hummus mix" from a local health food store. It mixes in the blender with a little olive oil, water, lemon juice, and I add some spices. You can make your own with garbanzo beans and a good blender, but I'm not to that point yet :D Hummus is also a great dip for veggies, chips, rolls, etc.


My daughter likes the premade yogurt smoothies and sometimes she will have one of those. Yogurt is always good.


And if you have a Trader Joe's nearby and haven't visited yet, they have different "bowls" and meals on the go already made up. I'm cheap, so I make my own.


Now dd is notoriously picky eating-wise, but she likes the grilled chicken breast cut into strips (finger food, she's still kind of young) and V8 juice and yogurt and fruit; these things are fortunately still portable. But I've found via other family members that the preceding choices are good for back-seat diners.

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My daughter also eats her dinner in the car since we only leave the studio at about 7:30 or 8 p.m. and have an hour commute. She doesn't eat meat, so I'm always concerned about protein.


She eats alot of cold salads consisting of some sort of pasta, rice or barley combined with beans and vegetables such as peppers, broccoli, corn or peas. She'd rather have it dressed with balsamic vinegar and spices than bottles dressing.


I also sometimes pack hard boiled eggs, cheese and crackers.

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Guest Cruella Patella

My daughter enjoys tuna fish on a tortilla with lettuce and tomato! I much prefer Burger King where I get to see my 15 year old son MOPPING!! :o


Seriously, she eats almost anything on a tortilla because it rolls up and stays put and doesn't take up much space in her dance bag. Also, she eats cheese on crackers and granola bars.

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Cruella, you crack me up with that comment about watching your son mopping at Burger King. Did you know that, years ago, Jacques D'Amboise's mother made a savvy deal with George Balanchine, having one or her sons mop the floor for Mr. B in exchange for lessons for Jacques? I've done a bit of studio mopping myself -- that's how our company got rehearsal space -- we cleaned the mirrors and mopped the floors after rehearsals, which actually was pretty much fun with the right music.

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  • 3 months later...

Thought I'd bring this up because there are a few good ideas about "eating on the go" and recipes - I always thought it was a good thread that just didn't get enough input. (Hint, Hint!) :)

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I have a vegetarian dd that love the new Campbell's Soup at Hand. She like the Cream of Broccoli best, but they have lots of choices. I just microwave it at the studio before we hop in the car for the drive home. I also pack cheese, crackers and fruit to round out her meal. She loves the Nouriche yogurt drinks for on the way to ballet.


Maine Ballet

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Guest Watermill

Nice suggestions, but I want to post a reminder that foods (especially poultry) are safe at room temp for aprox two hours before inviting rapid bacteria growth. If the temp is 90 degrees it's only one hour. Here's another fun fact: refrigeration does not prevent bacteria growth, it only slows it. So be sure to use those insulated food containers with ice packs!


Gee, that felt good...see, I'm married to a food service worker and get these lectures all the time!


Sal Monella



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Thank you Sal - very important points... I think I'll show the part about the refrigerator not stopping the bacteria growth but only slowing it to my spouse AKA the King of Leftovers! :wink:

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I just sent my daughter off with a plastic container of mashed potatoes and black beans. Perfect for the car -- once it's all mixed together it doesn't slop around! Add a couple of carrots, and it's almost like a meal.

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You've lost me, Watermill :shrug: You mean all whipped? Another puree, as the foodies like to call it?


Just for clarity, the black beans weren't mashed. Just ladled over the potatoes and then mixed in by my daughter. Not a pretty image, eh?


Come to think of it, though, refried black beans is another favorite quick dinner of hers...put a mound of that together with your mashed yams, and you've got Halloween!

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If you're in a closed car facing a long commute, refried beans and egg salad washed down with Pepsi is not a great idea. In a convertible, anything goes.

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