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12 Wholesome packaged meals for on-the-go eating

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Nutritious meals for busy families

Between rushing to work in the morning and taking the kids to baseball practice after school, we don’t always have time to whip up a homemade meal from scratch. Luckily, there are many packaged meals that help you eat well when you are on-the-go for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Woman having breakfast
Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/360/Getty images

You can still eat right when you are on-the-go if you plan ahead. "Read the labels carefully and choose those that have the least amount of preservatives, food coloring, trans-fats and flavor enhancers [like] MSG," says Karen Diggs, certified nutritionist and therapeutic chef.

"The basic rule is that if there's anything you can't pronounce, don't get it."

On-the-go breakfast options

Many of us have a hard time finding the time to drink our coffee in the morning, much less whip up a homemade breakfast for the family. Look for breakfast options that have a mix of whole grains and proteins to keep you feeling full all morning long.

Instant oatmeal comes in a variety of flavors and, when mixed with milk, only takes about a minute to heat up in the microwave. You can also sprinkle in raisins, walnuts or flaxseed to up the nutrition and flavor.

Cereal is always an easy go-to in the morning. Look for those that have plenty of protein and fiber to keep your stomach from rumbling before lunchtime. We love the almonds and crunchy texture of the Kashi Go Lean Crunch Honey Almond Flax cereal.

Don’t overlook the frozen section when looking for breakfast options. Organic waffles are full of nutritious ingredients and taste great with a pat of peanut butter and honey. The pancake and sausage on a stick options are a kid favorite — and they can be eaten on the way to school without making a huge mess.

Packaged lunch options

Head over to your local deli and pick up packaged sandwiches or sushi. Some good options include egg salad sandwich (on whole grain or sprouted bread) or chicken sandwich, says Rosalie Moscoe, author of Frazzled Hurried Woman: Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving... Not Merely Surviving.

Head over to the frozen food section and look for single-serve meals, for example, pumpkin squash ravioli or Asian pot stickers that have a variety of protein, veggies and whole grains.

Canned soups are another packaged lunch option, as they are surprisingly filling and chock full of protein and vegetables. Look for the low-sodium options so you can control the amount of salt that is added.

Look for pre-packaged canned tuna with crackers for a healthy dose of brain-boosting omega-3s.

Delightful packaged dinner options

Make sure you are choosing quality foods, says Lindsay Smith, author and founder of FoodMoodGirl.com. "If you are in a pinch and want to get a frozen meal, choose an organic meal because you can ensure the ingredients and quality will be good. Sure, it's still a processed food, but you can at least know it has quality ingredients," she says.

Frozen meals such as spinach lasagna, as well as pre-packaged and frozen one-skillet meals, such as pasta with asparagus and tomatoes or garlic chicken with pasta, do not take long to warm up and you have a nutritious meal on the table in no time.

For another option, look for frozen salmon that is already seasoned and ready to be popped in the oven and pair it with broccoli and cheese, which can also be found in the frozen food aisle.

Organic canned chili can be eaten by itself or poured over a baked potato for an easy and nutritious meal.

For kids, look for chicken tenders in the frozen food aisle that are made of all-natural ingredients (without fillers like soy) and have a whole-wheat breading.

Looking for healthy snack options between meals?

For snack options, check out this video on healthy snacks for on-the-go.

This post was sponsored by Kashi.

More nutritious eating tips

Fresh cooking tips from food-loving chefs
10 Natural foods that calm the body
Packing outdoor-friendly snacks

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