31 answers

Breakfast on the Go and Lunch Packing Ideas Please...

I'm a single mom and it doesn't seem like I get a second to relax. We are always on the go and we do eat in the car a-lot (sorry, but that's just how it is).

I am looking for on-the-go healthy/nutritious breakfast suggestions that can be eaten in the car. Are there any great breakfast products you use? I'm hoping there are better solutions than cherrios in a sandwich baggie. I've seen the oatmeal cookies looking things that you warm for 10 seconds and the packs of oatmeal bites - are these any good? What do you recommend (please don't tell me that we need to sit and eat breakfast, I know we should, but that isn't going to happen).

My daughter doesn't like sandwiches, but loves butter bread. She likes ham (turkey is a second choice) and regular yellow American cheese so I'm thinking about giving her a ham & cheese wrap and a piece of butter bread. I bought baby carrots, mixed berry applesauce and fruit cocktail in natural fruit juice. I'll get 100% juice for her to drink, but what else? What healthy food do you pack for your kids? My daughter would love it if I'd buy her chips, gummies and junk, but I don't want to buy "junk" just to fill her lunch box. I want the food I send for her to be good for her, but I have to make sure she'll really eat it too. She won't eat broccoli, celery or apple slices. Are there any healthy crunchy snacks for in her lunch?

Also, I have acquired all of my mothers belongings after her passing and we are preparing to move this winter so it's not easy to work in the kitchen with all the boxes and stuff in there. I'm looking for minimal to no prep items for both breakfast and lunch.

My daughter does go to daycare and has (until now) eaten breakfast & lunch there. However, she will no longer go to daycare in the morning, I will be taking her directly to school.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all very much! We've had a rough year, but I live by the saying "What doesn't kill you WILL make you stronger!"

You've ALL given great ideas and suggestions! I can wait to try so of these ideas out! THANKS!!

Featured Answers

I always try to pack healthy. Although my daughter is not in school yet, I have always tried to pack my own food or snacks if applicable. For breakfast, Quaker makes a Blueberry muffin bar - it seems to be a little healthier than some of the other breakfast on the go items. Also, there is now a new bagel product that is round and the cream cheese is in the middle. I think they are by Kraft. This is not the healthiest either but they do make whole grain ones. Other ideas - fresh fruit in a to go container she could eat with a plastic fork. Also, for afternoon snack idea - I make my own trail mix. I put mixed nuts (without peanuts since my daughter is allergic), sunflower seeds, small pretzels, craisins, banana chips (whatever - be creative) Always - fresh fruit - grapes, bananas, canelope, apples. Apple chips are another good idea.

What about making a big batch of healthy muffins for breakfast and freezing them in individual baggies? Maybe the night before you can pop them out of the freezer and in the morning they are thawed! Also, Whole Foods has a LOT of healthy "junk" food. My sons cousins always yummy fruit snacks and other junk food like that so I go to whole foods to get him products that look and taste the same (often better) but don't have the hydrogenated oils, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.

Good Luck!

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I am really just responding to the loss of your mother. My mother had reoccurences of breast cancerfrom the time she was 39 for 25 years and this past January passed away from it in her spine.I was lucky enough to have my mother for so long but had a hard time losing her.She would have been 72.I finally went to visit my father in Florida and being around all of her stuff I felt her presence.I know my mother is not suffering and is in a better place .I sense she is always near me and for the first time in 8 months I stopped crying and longing for her.If you need to talk about it and also to be more up on your own checkups ,I have gone through genetic testing.It is a very emotional road that changes your life drastically when a mother battles breast cancer.Sorry I am not responding to the snack issue.
Goodluck! L.

1 mom found this helpful

It looks like you have some good advice. One other thing I have done is make cheese quesadillas and sometimes slip in a little meat. You can freeze the qesadilla shells and then stick them in a toaster oven or quesadilla maker. Then, just slice it up with a pizza cutter and go.

On a side note...we used to feed our child in the back seat until we had a big scare. He choked on a chicken nugget bite and he couldn't even lean forward to cough it out since he was strapped in. Luckily there was a berm and we pulled right over and got him out of the seat. It seemed to take forever. He was turning colors and was only able to cough it out with gravity on his side. So, from then on we've limited the things we allow in the car to things that would be difficult to choke on...drinks, cheerios, and even "first foods" like Gerber freeze dried fruit pieces.


So sorry about your mom. Please get yearly mammograms for yourself, with that kind of history.

BREAKFAST: make these fabulous muffins, filled with sausage,eggs & cheese. I use Morningstar veggie sausage patties, just microwave, then cut up. If you need someone to order the Tastefully Simple Bountiful Beer Bread Mix from, let me know. It is fabulous in these breakfast muffins, and just as directed on the box!

Breakfast on the Go!
8 eggs, or equivalent egg substitute
Black pepper to taste
Bountiful Beer Bread Mix®
1 lb. browned, drained ground breakfast sausage
12 oz. beer (lemon lime seltzer is great, too)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Mix eggs and pepper; scramble in skillet. Combine bread mix and beer (or seltzer); add well drained sausage, eggs and cheese. Bake in greased muffin tins at 375° for about 35 minutes or until done. Makes 14-18 servings that freeze great! Just take out of freezer the night before, thaw in fridge, and microwave to eat “on the go!”

LUNCH: My 9 y.o. son's picky, too.
1. Try a whole wheat wrap with peanut butter and a small sliced banana (that'd be good for breakfast, too!)
2. Reduced-sodium soup or
3. the 'least bad for you' spaghettios/raviolis you can find, in a thermos bowl
4. Salsa (veggie loaded, if she'll eat it- again, Tastefully Simple's Corn, Black Bean Salsa is mild, kid-friendly, and loaded with corn, beans and tomatoes) with pita chips, her baby carrots, or just cut your whole wheat wraps into triangles or strips with a pizza cutter, and bake them to crispiness the next time your oven's on for something else. Kids love to dip, and that way, you can cut down the sodium.

Best of luck to you ~ I actually got some great ideas to try on my son here, too, so thanks for the post!

If you need someone to get the Tastefully Simple item(s) from:
I did have a mamasource listing with offer here, but if it's no longer showing, please tell me you found me here, and I'll be sure to give you a gift!

Hi R....I have a daughter that hates sandwiches too! There is nothing wrong with a baggy with meats & cheese and a baggy with crackers to eat with or layer onto. salami, ham, turkey, chedder, provolne, mozzarella, colby-jack, even baby swiss or american works well with it all. String cheese is great in the morning or at lunch. Nutra-grain ceral bars are great and come in different fruits. The milk and ceral bars are good, but really hard. How about regular old-fashioned granola bars? My girls just re-discovered how much they loved those this summer. Those go great in lunches and for breakfast. Depending on your school most of the schools offer breakfast and lunches at reasonalble prices (almost cheaper than packing) and are healthy in "sneaky" ways because of the mandated standards. So don't count them out completely. Don't forget it's always cool to buy lunch on pizza day! LOL Good luck and best wishes!

I would invest in some healthy natural bars-not the gorcery store kind with High fructose corn syrup and chemicals, but the ones you find at health food stores. I feed these to my daughter in the car and would send them to school. They are expensive in stores, but you can get them for much cheaper by the case at Vitacost.com. The Organic Food Bar Kids Oohmega! Food Bar Cherry Pie is $9.00 for a box of 10, but each one is like a meal (they're like$3 a piece in health food stores. Nothing's easier than unwrapping a bar. Bananas are easy too. I always pass back(to the car seat) slices of cheese with healthy bars or natural crackers or whole grain toast etc. There are lots of good healthy chip options now for her lunch. My daughter loves the organic blue corn baked chips. Utz has a brand at Weiss that is cheaper than the others. My daughter likes baggies of sandwiches-whole grain toast and almond butter-cut into small squares. They stick together, are filling and very nutritious. Good luck!

Wow! Best of luck! I am so impressed with you ... it sounds like you are just an amazing woman and mom!

Breakfast - cereal bars, bananas, granola with yogurt (although yogurt may be tough in the car) and milk to drink. They actually make milk in single servings now. I buy them for my son to pack in his lunch. I find them either in the breakfast isle or the juice isle.

Lunch - Your ideas sound great already! I love the ham and cheese roll up idea. I don't know what your daughter likes, but hard boiled eggs are easy to make ahead and send to school. Granola is a good crunchy item. My son really likes veggie chips. If she likes baby carrots they are nice and crunchy too. If she likes nuts sending a small baggie of cashews, almonds or pistachios might be good. Graham crackers or animal crackers might be good too. I find yogurt or applesauce is an easy lunch item,too.

I'm with you ... I don't want to send the junk either. I honestly have found some really delicious items in the organic section of the store. That way when I do send a cookie or something like that it doesn't have all of the high fructose stuff in it.

Best of luck!

I always try to pack healthy. Although my daughter is not in school yet, I have always tried to pack my own food or snacks if applicable. For breakfast, Quaker makes a Blueberry muffin bar - it seems to be a little healthier than some of the other breakfast on the go items. Also, there is now a new bagel product that is round and the cream cheese is in the middle. I think they are by Kraft. This is not the healthiest either but they do make whole grain ones. Other ideas - fresh fruit in a to go container she could eat with a plastic fork. Also, for afternoon snack idea - I make my own trail mix. I put mixed nuts (without peanuts since my daughter is allergic), sunflower seeds, small pretzels, craisins, banana chips (whatever - be creative) Always - fresh fruit - grapes, bananas, canelope, apples. Apple chips are another good idea.

Nutrigrain cereal bars come in a few different flavors and types (some with yogurt) and they also have other different kinds of breakfast bars/cookies. That is usually what I grab if I have to feed my kids on the run.
Does she like cheese? My kids eat string cheese, cubes, Mickey Mouse cheese, Scooby snack cheese. How about raisins? Gogurt? Does she like any kind of raw veggie or fruit that you can pack?

For breakfast you can try cut up fruit, and also cereal bars, they are good for children. you can find them in the cereal isle, if not try asking someone. Bagles with cream cheese and/or jelly.

For lunch, they have Lunchables, where they have ham and cheese mix where they make their own stuff. Another is you can take ham and roll it, put it in a square cantainer and give her cut up fruit in another container. Cut up veggies along with veggie dip is a good ideal.Since your child doesn't like sandwhiches, how about crackers, did you ever try lunch meat, and crackers. They are really good, and they love to make it themselves.

I am so sorry about your Mom. i hope she does not give up the fight. Big change in her diet could help a lot, juicing, organic, no meat, no dairy etc...

About your breakfast: cereal bars and piece of fruits are a good choice for breakfast, or smoothies and shakes with added protein in them. You can eat/drink those on the go.
Lunch: wholewheat wraps with nut butters, rice mellow (kind of like marshmellow but not junky). Wrap with avocado spread and a slice of turkey (tofurky for veggie option - we do not eat meat) on it. Lots of raw veggies in her lunchbox, carrot sticks, bell pepper slices with a dip, fruits. Mini pita bread with some kind of spread you like, cream cheese, grilled cheese wrap. Soup in a thermos etc...
Good luck for you and your Mom!!

I have 4 kids so i have learned to be creative with the breakfast and lunches :-) They love nutrigrain bars for breakfast. I just got a huge box with 48 at costco and they keep begging me to open it before school starts!! They also love granola bars...you can do them for breakfast or a lunch snack. The other thing that costco had was welch's fruit snacks covered in yogurt. Some of the grocery stores have prepacked fruit in the produce aisle. I forget who makes it but you can get apple slices, orange slices or grapes and it comes with 6 little packs i think. Hope i helped! It is not worth stressing over and don't feel judged for eating on the go...you are trying to do it healthy and that is all that counts!

I'm in the same boat as you. There just isn't time in the morning to sit down, but I want my kids to get a good breakfast. I'm assuming that your daughter goes to daycare. Can she eat breakfast there? My kids eat at their daycare, so I'll pack oatmeal, pancakes, toaster struddel, yogurt, fruit. If she can only eat in the car, I would maybe get some grapes, oranges, go-gurt (if she'll eat yogurt). Try the oatmeal bites, they do make mini pancakes too.

For lunch, I usually pack my kids a sandwich. Sometimes they'll want something else, like soup or chef boyardee. Then I pack either applesauce, yogurt, grapes, watermelon or a fruit cup. Then I'll also pack either fruit snacks or pudding, sometimes chips.

R.- I just recently found a secret weapon when it comes to veggies. My son is 2 1/2 and eats no (and I mean 0) veggies. Going on a tip from a friend, I found something in the freezer section of the grocery store called Edamame beans. They take about 7 mins to make and they come in little pods. when they are done cooking you just pop them out of the pods and I put a little salt on them. you can eat them hot or cold, so you could make them the night before and put them in a little baggie in her lunchbox. I told my son it was green popcorn to get him to try it (hey whatever works right?) and now he loves them and asks for them everyday. They really are delicious. They are high in fiber and protein and low in calories. My husband and I eat them after dinner as a snack or whenever we're craving a salty snack. Hope this works!

I have picky eaters, as well.
How about a cereal bar for breakfast? (One of the low-fat strawberry ones.) Trader Joe's has organic ones that are a good price. She could take that and a carton of milk or O.J. in the car in the morning.
For lunch, your wrap idea is good. How about a granola bar for some crunch (look for low-sugar). Or some grapes or a banana?
Good luck and I'm sorry to hear about your mother.
All the best to you,

Hi R.,
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. It's hard to lose a parent.

Some of my ideas for lunch: Fruitabu (they make fruit leather), trail mix (if your school will allow nuts- I make my son a mix of dried cherries, raisins, peanuts, and a couple marshmallows- lots of protein & fiber. Cheese & crackers. I use a lunchbox from laptop lunches that is like a little bento box with 4 compartments and it kind of makes anything you put in there look more appealing.

best of luck to you & your daughter.

Hello, I also just wanted to send my condolences to you; loosing a loved one can be such an isolating experience. It sounds like you are a caring, hard working, wonderful mother to your daughter.

My daughter and I split organic pop tarts in the car in the morning. And, yes, it would be lovely to sit around a table and eat like civilized individuals, but who has time for that? We certainly don't! I also think Eating Well magazine is a great resource for real meals that are healthy and edible. Here is a link to their savory breakfast muffins: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/savory_breakfast_muffin...

I am going to make up a batch this weekend and then all I will have to do is reheat for a few seconds in the microwave in the morning -- veggies and protein and whole grains! This may also work well for lunches, plus you can change up the veggies and meats that you put in the muffins. Use it as a base for experimenting. Best wishes!

Wow, you have a lot on your plate (no pun intended). Try Nutrigrain bars and milk in a plastic jug with a screw top lid (Rubbermaid makes different ones and they're available in lots of retail and grocery stores). For lunch, how about homeade "Lunchables"? You could pack crackers, slices of cheese and slices of ham or turkey, a healthy juice box (or that plastic jug I mentioned filled with water or juice) and grapes or some other fruit she likes. Occasionally you could add a cookie or pudding cup as a treat.

Many of the pre-packaged breakfast bites and such have a lot of sugar. The Kashi brand is much healthier. Check out their products. Sometimes they are in the organic sections of markets. I've found them pricey at the health food stores, but often on sale in regular supermarket or even Wal-mart. I've also seen some packaged granola and dried fruit at Wal-mart. Not sure the brand. Just be careful about the sugar content.

Breakfast ideas not prepackaged--pita or wrap with cheese or scrambled egg, mini-bagel with cream cheese, fruit muffins, egg cups. I've seen many recipes for making egg cups. A quick search found the following--http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=50085. A quick search found this breakfast burrito recipe--http://www.taylorlipman.com/breakfast_burrito.html. Some of these items can be prepared on the weekend and put in fridge or freezer. I bake batches of muffins and freeze. 10-15 seconds in microwave and they're ready to eat. I also buy mini-bagels when on sale and freeze. They also quickly defrost in microwave.

Lunch ideas--my daughter likes variety. We got a gift of two 3-section dishes from Tupperware when she was two and in full-time day care. She has used the same dishes for 8 years! She opens the lid and has 3 things to choose from at once. One section holds 1/2 sandwich, 1 section a crunchy snack, and 1 section some veggies. If no sandwich, 1 section might have tuna or egg salad with chips in the larger section. We like Sun Chips. One section might hold slices of cheddar cheese with crackers in another section. (When cheese and crackers paired together, the crackers get soggy). Crunchy snacks might be popcorn, goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks, cheese crackers, or a few Pringles. Favorite veggies include mini carrots, cucumber slices, red pepper slices, and grape tomatoes. Then separately, I usually pack a yogurt or string cheese and a fruit.

Hi R.,

I hope I am not repeating things others have suggested...I did not read all of the many responses.

My kids LOVE the granola bites, they are delicious, but not filling at all. I would suggest Carnation Instant Breakfast. It tastes like chocolate Milk (or strawberry) and is filled with nutrition and tons of protein to keep them feeling full.
For lunch, I would suggest cheese and crackers, and ham too. My son is not a big sandwich eater either, but he lives to eat the sandwich "fixins" on crackers.


Hi R.,

We often eat breakfast in the car. I put grapes or cut up peaches/plums/pears/apples into a baggie for my son to eat. He also loves breakfast bars - so I try to buy the organic ones for him. We also eat vitalicious muffins - they are a little messy for the car, but as long as you don't mind crumbs, they are a healthy snack. They are all natural and taste yummy. My son loves them. You can buy them in the all natural section at Giant Eagle or order online at www.vitalicious.com. You can get a 10% off coupon at www.dwlz.com.

For lunch - my son doesn't eat sandwiches either. For his school, I pack chicken nuggets that I heat in the AM and wrap in aluminum foil - so they are still luke warm by lunch time. I also send him with yogurt and fruit and sometimes a grilled cheese which he just eats cold at lunch.


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My ds LOVES Morningstar Valley Eggs Florentine - http://www.seeveggiesdifferently.com/products.aspx?coid=2...

they are typically in the freezer section near the alernative food section - i know that Giant carriers them. The are full of protien which is great. I know that he is getting both green veggies and eggs at the same time. I put them (3) in the mirco for 50 seconds - usually heats them up enough. He also likes the broc & cheese.

They are a bit expensive but i find them worth it for the nutrition he is receiving.

Best of Luck!

I would look toward adding in dairy, protein and fruit. My daughter, 13, is not a big one for breakfast, but I make her eat something, even if it's a large piece of canteloupe and a slice of cheese. When she was little she ate steamed brocolli for breakfast! My son takes yogurt for lunch almost every day. Some mornings my daughter ust wants some crackers, so I let her...as long as she has some cheese with the crackers, and I make sure to have some healthier crackers for breakfast...whole wheat, etc. Good luck! When my daughter was 5, she ate everything I gave her! She's still a good eater, but I have to be more creative now sometimes than when she was little! :)

Try mixing yogurt with a favorite cereal. I teach middle school and I don't have time nor the appetite to eat at 6:30 in the morning so I pack a light yogurt and a baggie of fiber one cereal. In between classes I eat a few bites of yogurt (to make room) then add in the baggie of cereal. This is also very good with dried fruits, particularly berries. If eating in the car I'd mix the ingredients together in a tupperware container and throw one of my own old shirts over my child's school clothes before getting into the car (like an old art smock).

What a brave woman you are! I hope your daughter's transition to kindergarten goes smoothly as well as your upcoming move.

Can your daughter eat eggs? If so, try hardboiling a few and keeping them in the frig for a quick breakfast option. So many of the prepared "breakfast bars" have all the same bad ingredients as junk food (high fructose corn syrup, etc.), so read the labels carefully. They're OK for an occasional option, though. The cheerios in a baggie may be the best option after all!

Also, the mini rice cakes come in a variety of flavors - can be used as snacks. I send them instead of chips in my older son's lunch.

Good luck!

My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you and your family. For breakfasts, try to keep something on hand with protein, this will help hold the little ones bellies over so they can make it to lunch. Drinkable yogurt, cheese, peanut butter crackers, hard boiled eggs are all great on the go foods. It sounds like you already have great ideas for their lunches. Mine are not in school yet. But thought I'd throw in the whole protein idea. Good Luck on the house hunting.

If you have a Sam's membership, they have great breakfast sandwitches made with turkey sausage, a whole grain bun, and egg white. They take 2 min. to heat up, and you can eat them on the run.For lunch, how about trying hummus and "good" chips or whole grain crackers to dip?If you've never tried it, it's made from chickpeas, and has protein and fiber
( plus it's yummy)You can by it prepared. My kids love anything that they can dip stuff into like hummus, salsa, bean dip etc...
If all that sounds to exotic for her taste, maybe let her have her bread and butter, but make it whole grain bread and a trans fat free spread like smart balance?
Good luck!

My 2 1/2 yr old daughter is a picky am eater she likes only toast. Like your daughter she likes ham so I scramble eggs and put in pieces of ham & american cheese. And if we are going to have a busy morning I cook it up the night before and put it in the fridge that way I can warm it up and she can take it with her. Breakfast bars are a favorite also, chewy ones with chocolate chips, even fruit filled ones for dessert after lunch. Raisins and yogurt are favorites and can be used for breakfast or lunch. For lunch my daughter likes ranch dressing - she will eat a salad w/spinach leaves and croutons as long as she can have ranch dressing. She likes boiled eggs sliced and chicken or turkey on the side. All of which can be kept cold with an ice pack if we are on the go.

I think feeding our kids healthy is a constant struggle (but a very important one), especially with our busy lives. Focus on her favorites and try to incorporate those things into healty dishes, and make sure she tries new things and she will come around. Her taste buds will be constantly changing as she grows. My 16 yr old now likes just about everything I make, except tomatoes.

What about making a big batch of healthy muffins for breakfast and freezing them in individual baggies? Maybe the night before you can pop them out of the freezer and in the morning they are thawed! Also, Whole Foods has a LOT of healthy "junk" food. My sons cousins always yummy fruit snacks and other junk food like that so I go to whole foods to get him products that look and taste the same (often better) but don't have the hydrogenated oils, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.

Good Luck!

I also am on the road by 6:30 am with two children. It is hard enough to have them up and ready let alone fed. I have found that the frozen breakfast sandwiches you microwave wrapped in a paper towel (we like Jimmy Dean's) work well as do the Bagelfulls. It is a hotdog shaped bagel with flavored or plain cream cheese inside. We also like the Fiber one bars for a healty snack/breakfast with fruit. One other thing I have done (does require prep on mom's part) is to scramble eggs, add ricotta cheese and anything your kids like.ex. crumbled bacon, chopped ham, cheese, onion etc mix it together and bake in a muffin pan till cooked thru. Cool and put in the fridge and then pull out 1 or 2 and microwave as a in hand omelet.

I'm so sorry you lost your mother. It must have been a tough year for you. As far as eating on the go is concerned, I have some suggestions. The breakfast cookies are okay (some of my kids like them and some don't). Here are some of my suggestions: bagel and cream cheese, scrambed egges with cheese on an english muffin, drinkable yogurt and don't knock the cereal in a ziploc bag...sometimes I'll mix a couple different cereals for variety (serve with a container of milk and it's pretty nutritious). For lunches, I make my own "lunchables" with lowfat cheddar cheese, small pieces of diced ham or turkey, fruit and a couple cookies. I bought a neat divided container that keeps everything separate (Target?). Instead of tastycakes I try to make a batch of either blueberry or banana muffins and put one in lunch as a snack (they freeze well). Here's another tip: my kids will eat almost anything if I cut it up and let them use a toothpick instead of utensils! Of course, this is more for eating at home. I hope this helps and good luck with your upcoming move!

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