Easy Family Meals for Busy Nights


I like to cook mostly from scratch whenever I can, and feeding my family healthy meals is a high priority. Eating together as a family is a high value for us too, but when you’re in a busy season, you need easy family meals! Whatever is keeping you from your typical family dinners – sports practices or school events or work obligations – you can still feed your family healthy food in the midst of the busyness! I’m going to share some easy meals to make at home, to take on the go, or some healthy meal substitutes and snacks for those nights when you don’t even have time for a full meal.

easy family meals for busy nights

Easy family meals at home

You can make easy family meals that you can eat before you leave or set them up in the crockpot or InstantPot to eat when you get home.

Whole chicken in the crockpot or instant pot – this also works great with a beef roast.

You can add raw or quickly steamed veggies on the side for a quick and easy meal.

Soup – prepare the soup earlier in the day to put in the crock pot or you can prepare it right before you go to a sports practice if you use the Instant Pot. Some of our family’s favorite soups are:

easy family meals for busy nights

Baked potatoes in instant pot or crockpot – this one is so simple and quick, and you can easily pop the potatoes in the Instant Pot after you get home from an event or a practice. This can be the whole meal (add veggies and sour cream on top) or serve with smoothies to keep it super simple.

Cilantro lime rice – this is a great side dish to have alongside your chicken or beef, and you can make it really quickly in the Instant Pot.

Snack dinner – think charcuterie board, but don’t make it fancy. ;) Beef sticks or sausage slices, cheese, raw veggies, fruit, dips, crackers, etc.

Easy family meals on the go

  • Sandwiches
  • Scrambled eggs in a wrap
  • Chili in a thermos
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Oatmeal in a thermos or in a covered dish that travels easily

Meal substitutes/snacks

Since our family has started doing organized sports, I’ve noticed that practices or games and meets are always right smack dab in the middle of meal time. I’ll admit that this is one of my least favorite things about sports! So when our kids are in the middle of track or cross country season, we rely on a lot of healthy snacks that can fill bellies like a meal, but have less junk than the pre-packaged snacks. I do still buy some pre-packaged snacks, but I prefer when I make my own.

  • Oatmeal bars
  • Beef sticks or jerky
  • Dried fruit – I dehydrate some of my own or buy in bulk from Azure Standard
  • Cheese sticks
  • Trail mix
  • Raw veggies/fruit (with a yogurt dip or hummus)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Crackers with dip like hummus, spinach and artichoke dip, or this easy avocado spread
  • Applesauce pouches (we don’t eat these at home, we only eat them when we travel or on sports days)

This YouTube video has some great healthy snack ideas:

What are your favorite easy family meals for busy nights?

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