Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grab-n-Go Nibbles

Much of the last few years of my nanny career has been spent in the car on our way . . . somewhere. We're either on our way to school, an activity, to parent's office, an appointment or heading home. This "on the go" lifestyle is very familiar to a lot of you. The children and I have become experts in prepping some Grab-n-Go foods that can work as a breakfast or snack until their regular lunch or dinner. Here are a few of our favorites and some tips to try.

Anytime Gorp
This is perfect one since each child can have their own version or recipe.
You'll need:
- A few types of cereal like Rice Chex or Oat Bran Squares or Cheerios, alternatively you could opt for popcorn or snack crackers like goldfish as the base or even mix several of these together
- Dried fruits like cranberries, cherries, raisins, apples, bananas, etc.
- Optional Additions: nuts, chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, m&ms, pretzel sticks, etc.
Each child can scoop up some cereal or cereals, add several scoops of dried fruits and a spoonful of one of the optional items we might have. We scoop right into our zip top plastic bag or plastic airtight container.
When time permits we'll make a few smaller bags ahead of time or make a larger batch to use all week. Because this has so many options and variations they can make up all kinds of combinations . . . AND . . . they'll eat it!

Mini Pizzas
This is another on the go meal that can be individualized for each child or their particular preference that day or, more often, what ingredients you have available.
You'll need:
- Your Crust: this can be made from flat tortilla chips, crackers, english muffins, tortillas or anything else that will act as the base for your pizza. We've also used zucchini as our crust - delicious!
- Sauce: always an option, sauce can be traditional pizza sauce (there are some in squeeze bottles for ease of use and convenience), salsa, bbq sauce, some salad dressings, or come up with a great alternative.
- Cheese: I like having several cheeses ready to shred. It only takes a moment to shred enough to top a couple of these mini delights.
- Meat: leftovers work great here. We usually have some pepperoni on hand for these little bites.
- Veggies: having some chopped veggies on hand makes this topping their pizza a breeze. When they get to pick they don't have any issues loving their pizza.
Children top their "crust" and pop into the toaster oven or microwave until the cheese is melted. Place finished pizza in a plastic container and head out the door.

Dip It
Simple and delicious, children love to dip! You'll love it too.
You'll want to have:
- Dip Options: Yogurt, Applesauce, Nut Butter,  Ranch Dressing, Hummus, Salsa, Bean Dip, Pizza Sauce, etc. You can find dip mixes available to prepare or that are ready to serve as well.
- Dipper Options: Fresh fruits, Veggies, Graham Crackers, Tortillas, Whole-grain Crackers, etc.
To pack them up to go we use plastic bento box style containers that have a space for the dip(s) and place for the dippers. Keeps each part separated and ready to go!

Have wipes at the ready. I also have paper towels at hand - spills happen, it's good to be prepared.
I use a bath size towel on the lap and to cover school clothes.
Use reusable containers whenever possible.
Have drinks ready. Each child has their own drink bottle but juice boxes work well too.

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