Survival meal kits: Suggestions needed!

February 3rd, 2018

I just posted this on Facebook then copied and pasted here:

“I need some recommendations. I’ve been in a high-stress, low-sleep season of overwhelming numbers of appointments, sometimes 7-8 each week. When I’m home, I’m homeschooling, working on household tasks, and trying to fit items on my to-do list in between addressing urgent parenting situations. I often don’t have time to eat even when I think about it, and it’s always been difficult for me to eat when under stress.

Next week, I deliberately left Monday through Thursday free of appointments, and hope to use some of that breathing room to set some strategies in place for the long-term, as it appears that this is our new normal for the foreseeable future.

How it’s been: Before he goes to work, Joe makes breakfast for the toddler and me to share; I end up eating just enough in the morning to be able to handle a large quantity of strong coffee, then grabbing a bite of something here or there until suppertime. Increasingly, due to running out of other time slot options for needed appointments, I’m still on the run at suppertime, and end up grabbing another KIND bar to stave off the aching head and stomach and shakiness that inevitably hits. Joe always buys all the KIND bars he finds at our local bent and dent, much cheaper than the grocery store.

I’m thinking about keeping survival kits in our vehicles, stocked with food items that 1. Aren’t too expensive, 2. Aren’t perishable/won’t be hurt by temperature changes, 3. Don’t require prep time, 4. Can be eaten while driving without making a mess (sometimes by a hungry kid or two or three), and 5. Don’t contain dairy. We keep bottled water in our vehicles, but they’re frozen at this time of the year, and I’m at the point where I’m happy IF I remember to fill my own water bottle and take it along, so I really do mean no-prep food.

All I’ve thought of so far is KIND bars and applesauce cups with plastic spoons. Help! I need some ideas!”


And here are a few photos to show you that our kids are happy and being very well taken care of!  It’s only the mama who’s suffering at this point!  Haha!


Verity was home from school due to having to be picked up from school with a fever the day before.  By the next day, she was fine, but the school has a 24-hour policy about fevers and a few other conditions.  This was taken during the couple of weeks our dishwasher was out of commission.  Verity was in heaven!  This is one of her favorite things to do, and she does a great job!




Here’s a photo of her cute lil face.  I am still planning my next real blog post to be about Verity’s experience with school!  Maybe next week?





Peter helping Josie with her weekly computer turn with some brothers and cousins gathered around.




It’s unusual to see Nathaniel at the piano, but this is one of Katie’s favorite activities; she has a distinctive style that we all recognize!





Katie’s attachment with me is coming along well over this past year.  Very slow, but definitely progress!




After putting Verity on the bus one morning recently, I found Ben doing this.  One of our washing machines was leaking badly (it was finally replaced yesterday!), and we had to keep pumping out the drip pan underneath in order to use it, a long and slow job.  Way to take initiative, Ben!




Here’s another one of Ben.  I found him writing out math problems and working them on his own.  He’s a quick and motivated learner, for which I’m thankful at this point in our family’s journey.  He could read the first chapter of Genesis for you.  Time to order A Beka math for that boy.




Can’t leave out Josie’s beautiful smile!  She was beaming at having completed a flannel pillowcase for Jane’s 16th birthday!



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22 Responses to “Survival meal kits: Suggestions needed!”

  1. Lisa says:
    Eat from the pouch with a plastic fork?

  2. Aurelia Dalek says:

    Boxes of crackers are easy to transport and kids like them. I’d add a jar of peanut butter and a spoon/knife, but that might get too messy. Some types of crackers are less crumbly or messy than others; I find that Wheat Thins hold up pretty well.

    Also, are bananas a good option? They’re cheap and easy but do spoil.

  3. CANDY SMITH says:

    Nuts are my go to snack. I also like Harvest Snaps, baked veggies, the peas are addictive. Apples last forever. Beef jerky is a good protein but expensive, you could make some homemade in the oven. Flavored tuna in foil packs, I like the Sunkist lemon pepper. The Cruchmaster multi seed crackers are really good with tuna. Dried fruit. Homemade oatmeal cookies with pecans. Cheese sticks will keep if it’s cold. I always snag a handful of individually wrapped spoons and forks from restaurants and keep them in my car.

  4. DANA says:

    Jerky, small cans of fruit, trail mix. Maybe a can or 2 of Boost, although they’d freeze as well. Maybe you can keep your snacks in a bag hanging on a hook by the back door and just grab and take. :-)

  5. Mandie says:

    Pre-pack little bags with nuts, raisens or cranberries and chocolate or yoghurt drops. I’m from South Africa, we love biltong (beef jerky) and dried sausage as snacks too.

  6. Bri says:

    Meals would be hard, but it sounds like maybe you just want small “tide me overs” for in the car? Nuts (almond, pecan, walnut, hazelnut, etc) , crackers (fish crackers, saltines, ritz, peanut butter, etc) packaged cookies, fruit rollups/fruit snacks, granola bars, energy bars, dried fruit, and the beef jerky someone suggested was a great idea, too!

  7. Juliana says:

    Fruit and veggie squeezes work well! They have plain applesauce ones or veggie and fruit mixes. Sometimes they are in the baby dept. but they work for all ages. My sister gets them from Big Lots or Grocery Outlet (we live on the West Coast) so that they are cheaper. Also Costco has Veggie sticks (they look like French fries in a chip bag).

  8. Juliana says:

    The fruit squeezes are called Gogo squeeZ and they are non-perishable. You can get them from Target or other laces online for about 5.99 for a 12 pack.
    Another idea- Peanut Butter pretzels (Costco and Trader Joe’s usually have them).
    Also, we don’t deal with extreme cold but I was wondering if an Ice box in the car would work to keep the water bottles from Freezing?

  9. JJ says:

    Ben’s boots are the best!

  10. L. Stoltz says:

    If you have an accessible Aldi grocery store, they also have the fruit squeeze pouches. 4 in a box. I just bought some, but I don’t recall how much I paid for them.

  11. Sarah says:

    I recommend finding keto snacks. When under a lot of stress, your body needs a LOT of healthy fats. You can’t over-do healthy fats. Your nerves need it! Try MCT oil in your coffee. Chocolate coconut butter is easy to keep in the car and eat with a spoon. You could have someone, Joe perhaps, make a quart-sized smoothie for you every morning, and set an alarm at lunch time to remind you to drink it. Another thing I do is keep “So Delicious culinary coconut milk lite” in the car. I usually mix it with water and protein powder in a cup with a lid, but it can be drunk right from the carton.
    I also want to encourage you to keep your needs as a top priority. You are just as important as every other member of your precious family.

  12. Kris says:

    I was also going to suggest high protein snacks (that have been mentioned by others)

    Tuna pouches
    High protein bars – unless you really only like KIND
    Trail Mix or just plain nuts if you like (almonds, walnuts)

    Also, high protein in the fridge to grab-n-go:

    Hard boiled eggs
    Cooked chicken/turkey

    All of these could be prepped in individual bags ready for you to grab

    I hope this helps

  13. KMT says:

    I’m wondering if a cooler in the car to hold the food would keep it from freezing if you brought it in at night. Processed foods are going to do you in. You need real food and that’s hard. That said, survival mode is survival mode: nuts and “hiking” food, throw some apples in there along with a paring knife or one of those round things that cut the apple into several pieces with one push. Have a supply of paper plates, cups and bowls in the car. This saved me so we can divide something we grab on the road whether it’s from a restaurant or a grocery store. Buying a large package of something is less expensive than several smaller packages so being able to quickly and cleanly dish it out is important. We also have the silicone collapsible bowls in the car when I think I can possibly wash them afterward.

    A slice of plain good quality bread is better than crackers. In China, I found Skippy Peanut Butter in little packages like we have ketchup in here. I wonder if you could find them online. Instant noodle cups are more satisfying in the cold weather, but aren’t necessarily clean unless you dump the broth and take some scissors and cut up the noodles so the kids can eat them easily. I sometimes bring our electric kettle and plug it in wherever I am to get near instant boiling water.

    Think “portable kitchen.” What would you need on the road to whip something out in a jiffy. Like I said, I have a knife, paper plates, napkins, my kettle and several sized coolers plus individual lunch boxes. Don’t discount drive thru fast food either. Supplementing what you have in the car with one or two small hot items can actually add up to decent meal. Wendy’s has great salads and baked potatoes. If you find healthy chicken or meat nuggets, add a piece of whole grain bread and some apples slices or fruit in a packet can work quite well.

    Don’t forget rice. Hot or cold with a little butter and salt, it’s very satisfying. In America rice is often considered a bad white starch, but any Asian person will dispute that.

    If you can, while in this time of survival eating, see if you can arrange at least one really nice meal to be brought in 2-3 times a week.

    Oh, you can also heat cans of food up on the engine of your car while you are driving, but there are some safety considerations that you need to learn, like don’t open a super hot can or it will explode! I use a baby bottle warmer that plugs into my lighter socket for some things.

    If you are at clinics in hospitals, remember that most cafeterias (at least here) have microwaves for free use.

    Remember raw veggies, too, do our bodies good.

  14. Michelle W. says:

    How about…….
    – Add a superfood smoothie (spinach, a fruit or two, etc) to your breakfast. Include protein mix in it. Sip it throughout your morning. Possibly make 2 per day, one for inbetween and one for lunch. Keep one in your freezer to grab as you head out the door. Smoothies freeze well. Shake to enjoy when thawed or scrape with a spoon while frozen.
    – Protein balls. Peanut butter, raw oats, flax, raisins, sunflower seeds or nuts. You create a combination that includes your top favorites. Keep extras in ziploc bags in freezer. Keep a bag or two always in the van.
    – Breakfast sandwhich. Premake with fried egg, cheese, whole grain bread. Cool. Wrap. Place in ziploc, then freeze. Easily reheated in microwave. Works great on the go or when at home but you don’t have enough time to enjoy an entire sit down meal.
    – Muffins. Make a huge batch of your favorite, but add a hefty dose of protein mix. Make extra large, regular or minis. Will keep well in ziplocs in van.
    – Mom bag. As important as your wallet and daily planner! Keep it where you can grab it on the run. Stocked with water, and a solid snack, napkins, spoons, wipes, bag for trash.
    – A mug of broth.
    Blessings on the journey!!!!

  15. AmyLynn says:

    Premake and store in the freezer smoothie kits.
    At our Dollar Tree there have been some really nice gluten/dairy free snacking items. I don’t buy anything not made in the USA, so it isn’t the Dollar Tree brand. I don’t know what yours has, but maybe you could check there?
    While my circumstances are different, I understand a little what you are going through. But I do want to encourage you to do what you are doing(asking for ideas–and carry through). You are invaluable to your famil. I personally know three people that lived kind of like you are doing and physically eventually broke down. One lady has been that way for over a year and still isn’t well enough to drive. So please, do take care of yourself!!!
    I don’t know if you have someone that could make you protein bites/balls in bulk and be frozen to grab on the way out the door?
    If you were asking about stuff for the children too, maybe the applesauce type pouches and a granola bar?
    I keep for myself a kind of panko breaded chicken from Costco that goes in the oven for 20-25 mins and is done and just place on salad(premade) with dressing.
    I’ve been enjoying sprouts as a quick healthy snack. But that’d require some work. Maybe one of the gardening loving boys would like to grow you some in the windowsill! 😊

  16. vivienne says:

    Great ideas Amylynn! I know a friend who would love to make some powerballs for you, Susanna! I will be in Mechanicsburg the 8th to 11th of March. Let me know if there is a good time during those days for me to drop by or meet up.

  17. Susanna says:

    Oh, you’re coming up here, Vivienne! Hurray! I’ll text you!

  18. KMT says:

    I did some research and realized that this is pretty impossible if you want to eat healthily. Dairy, meat and processed foods just aren’t healthy. I think there needs to be some sacrifice in your schedule. I know this is super hard but is everything you are doing going to make that big a difference in the end? Is it worth your health? Is it worth your sanity?

    The girls and I took a day road trip yesterday. We ate lunch at a produce market that’s mostly outdoors. We bought a loaf of vegan whole grain bread, avocados and pears. I’d brought cutie oranges and some pea crisps and fig bars. The cuties and fig bars were eaten on the road and the rest eaten from the back of the car at the produce market.

  19. Christine says:

    Burritos might be a good thing to have in the freezer to grab for trips- egg, potato, bean and cheese, etc.

    Or you could keep cans of refried beans in the car, with a can opener and spoon and eat it straight from the can. The cans don’t have to be refridgerated until they’re opened.

  20. Emily Henwood says:

    I am someone who struggles to maintain my weight at the best of times, and it is not ususual for my weight to get dangerously low when I am stressed or busy. I have recently started carrying dried beans everywhere and keeping them next to the bed at night. Not sure what varieties you have in the US but they ate usually with the nuts, chips, pretzels etc. they are not greasy or fatty like nuts and come plain or covered in spices.

    There are also lots of recipes for preparing your own dried fava/broad or cannelini and chickpeas. You can then dust them with curry powder or any combination of spices you desire. If you google ‘dried broad beans snack’ a variety of brands are shown in the image results.

    Dried beans are comparable in taste, texture, lifespan and satiety as nuts but no greasy fingers, little fat, high in protein.

  21. Lika says:

    God bless you! I ran into a website of the charity organization recently. It is I believe this may be interesting for you

  22. Rachel says:

    There are many good suggestions here, but I had a few things to add. Some of these are processed foods, so potentially not ideal due to cost and health concerns, but there are better-for-you options out there and the bent and dent may help. Once you find something that works for you, you can buy it again and again.

    Someone mentioned canned foods and keeping a can opener in the car. This could open up a lot of possibilities like soups, chili, vegetables, fruits, chicken, tuna, beans. Could help it feel more like a complete meal rather than a snack and provide some nutrition/variety.

    Nut butters don’t actually have to be refrigerated after opening unless it says so on the package. You can eat them with healthy crackers, or even just a spoon if that’s your thing.

    According to my research, apples can last up to three months if kept cool and dry. Citrus fruits will keep for a few weeks in such conditions also.

    Dry cereal can be nutritious, it’s easy to snack on and it will keep for a long time.

    Praying for you and your family, as ever. Hope you find some good solutions that keep you going so you can keep providing so much love and care.

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