One of the most important things I have learned as an at home dad is that children are hungry. Always. You need to be prepared. No, seriously I mean prepared. Like you are preparing for war or you get melt down city and cranky tantrums that threaten to expose your parenting deficiencies post haste. You do not want those stern looks from the mothers at the swim practice because you weren't prepared. Failing all of "man"kind once again!
Nor do you want to drive into another fast food joint and unload your wallet on food that will only last about 20 minutes until the next emotional outburst. I have come to believe that these hungry, emotional responses from kids are what has driven the explosion in fast food, prepackaged sugar snacks and "nutrition bars". None of which is really good for our kids.
What I do is overcook and carry. Make more food than your family can eat in one meal and carry extra with you whenever possible. (Get a good portable cooler...sort of a food security blanket.)
The first step is to have extra basic ingredients. One of my favorite quick foods is fried rice, but the important part is that you need cold precooked rice. So, always make extra rice and store it covered in the refrigerator. And I am not talking about keeping extra Chinese take out rice in those nasty card board boxes. You only end up with rock hard, flavorless construction material if you do that. Put that rice in a different sealed container.
Once the kids are hungry, you can have a pretty nutritious meal within a few minutes. Here's my basic recipe.
1 1/2 cups cooked and refrigerated rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tsp soy sauce
2-3 drops fish sauce
1/8 cup precooked diced chicken
1/8 cup precooked vegetables (scallions, carrots, broccoli, celery, onion, peppers are all good options)
1/4 cup finely diced lettuce
Approximately 250 calories per 3/4 cup.
Reduce calorie count if vegetables are added.
The trophy wife hates the lettuce added at the end. I learned that trick from an old Chinese home style cook book. I love the flavor and the texture. So I only add it to mine!
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