Grab & Go Meals for the Busy Allergy Family

Grab & Go Meals for the Busy Allergy Family

Work. School. Sports. Meetings. Rehearsals. Scouts. Classes. If you’re like most parents today, your calendar is loaded with activities for you and your family. You’re either coming or going and somewhere in between maybe you’re grabbing a bite to eat. It’s hard for any family to juggle it all, but add food allergies to the mix and the ‘quick on the run meal’ becomes more challenging. Whether you want to avoid drive-thru and other fast-food options by choice or necessity, these recipes can be helpful.  

Get the Right Gear

Finding healthy, balanced, affordable meals for the whole family is easier when you’re making the meal yourself versus stopping at a restaurant or take-out place. Sometimes, however, cooking and eating at home doesn’t mesh well with your schedule. 

If you plan to prep and eat on the go, well, that may be a different story as long as you’ve got the right gear. Invest in quality containers including a thermos to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Get an insulated bag – either lunch box sized or bigger for the full family. 

Prep Ahead

Some meals (or at least parts of meals) may take longer to prep than you’ve got time in your day to deal with. Take some time on a day you’ve got a more open schedule to pre-prep those components. 

Grill up chicken extra chicken breasts on the weekend and use the already cooked meat during the week for quick tacos, soups, and more. Pull together soups, stews, and other thermos-friendly meals ahead of time. Easy dinners for busy weeknights don’t need to be made on those busy nights.

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad has two primary benefits: 

  1. It can be customized to meet your specific needs and tastes.
  2. It can be eaten warm, cold, or room temperature, making it highly portable.

Start with a pasta that meets your family's specific dietary needs. Avoiding wheat? Grab a chickpea pasta or similar sub. Add in your favorite veggies. For example, diced tomato, zucchini, carrots, red onion, squash, eggplant, pepper, and so on. You can also add in cheese or a comparable dairy-free substitute for a little pizazz. A simple balsamic vinaigrette can pull the dish together. Fill individual containers or a thermos with a serving of the pasta salad and store the rest in the fridge for another meal. 

Chicken Bowls

Remember that chicken we suggested you prep ahead of time? Time to put it to work. Steam some brown rice as a base. Layer in sliced or diced chicken, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or other veggies you’d enjoy. Dress the dish with a good olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, and sea salt.

Quinoa Bowls

Prep your quinoa ahead of time. When you’re ready to prep your on-the-go dishes, scoop out a portion of the cooked quinoa into a meal container. Add sliced pear, pomegranate seeds, chives or other seasonings. For a quick dressing on this dish, whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Lentil Ragu

This recipe from Vegetarian Mamma offers a hearty ragu that can be eaten with a safe pasta, rice, or other grain of your choice. The dish swaps out meat most ragu recipes use for lentils. It’s portable in the right container. It’s also a good make ahead and eat later option if you have a few minutes to sit down at home to eat before you dash. 

30 Minutes and One Pan

Chicken, veggies, and one pan. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? This recipe from Allergy Awesomeness offers a great balanced meal that can be prepped and ready in a half-hour. You can eat before you run or you can fill your containers and go with it. Either way, you’ve got the option to tweak the recipe to meet your specific tastes and needs. 


Grab that chicken you made ahead of time for another dish. This recipe for Taquitos from FARE’s own Kid Cuisine Remix offers a neat dish that’s also free of the top-9 allergens. Not only is this recipe quick, but it’s hand-held, making it a great “just take it with you!” option if you’re on the run.

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