Thrifty Thursday: Five Inexpensive, Healthy, Quick Meals for Soccer Practice Nights

grilled cheese and tomato soupThese 5:45 – 7:00pm soccer (and fall baseball) practices kill my dinner time. For my family it’s too early to eat before hand. We’re too hungry to take the time to cook a big meal after practice.

In the past, I went through many fast food drive-thru’s and orderd a lot of take-out on the nights the boys practiced sports. But I stopped doing that last spring. The food is unhealthy for my family and for the environment. And, it’s really expensive. We’re all looking to find ways to stretch our food budget nowadays, and staying away from fast food is a big help.

So what do you do when you’re looking for an inexpensive, healthy, quick meal for your family when you get home from one of those hurried practice nights? Try one of these family friendly ideas:

  1. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup –Β  Here’s a quick, classic combination that costs little but pleases everyone. Make a grilled cheese with your favorite cheeses and heat up some creamy tomato soup (or sandwich dip as my 6 year old calls it). My favorite tomato soup is Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato. I love to make my own soups, but this soup is so good I don’t imagine I’ll ever bother trying to make my own tomato.
  2. Scrambled Eggs, Toast with Preserves, and Fresh Fruit – If your kids had a hearty snack before practice and just need a light meal when they get home, this one fits the bill.
  3. A Cheese, Veggie and Fruit Tray – My kids love this as a meal. On a platter I place chunks of cheese, whole grain crackers, cut up carrots, cut up apples, some grapes, and perhaps some peperoni slices. They can gobble it up and do their homework at the same time. Add a drink yogurt to the mix and the kids have a great meal.
  4. Slow Cooker Chili – Coming home to a meal that’s already prepared is fabulous. Here’s a highly rated recipe for slow cooker chili from allrecipes.com. It can be thrown together earlier in the day and it’s ready when you get home from practice. Serve with a side of store bought corn bread.
  5. Pizza – This one isn’t homemade and technically it is take-out, but compared to fast food burgers or chicken nuggets and fries, this is more healthy and a lot less expensive. And sometimes, there just isn’t anything in the cupboards to put together quickly. So if you must let someone else cook your dinner, let it be the local pizzeria instead of a national fast food chain.

Image courtesy of Flickr

Read more meal ideas

Dad Does Breakfast: Easy Recipes for Healthy Eating

Kid Friendly Recipes: Vegetarian Corn Chowder

Grilled Gnochi with Red Pepper Recipe

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