Healthy Takeout Dinner Ideas for Busy Families

Wondering how to feed your family a nutritious meal when you’re always on the go? From my favorite takeout meals to best uses for leftovers, these ideas will give you the confidence you need to serve healthy takeout dinners to your busy family.

Tazikis Chicken Salad with pita healthy takeout dinner
Thank you to Taziki’s for sponsoring this post! Image courtesy of Taziki’s

Baseball practices, guitar lessons, dance classes, tennis matches, volleyball games, tutoring sessions…the list goes on and on. And as parents, we keep the pavement hot bringing our children back and forth to each of their respective activities. Trust me, I’m right there with you! I think we have at least one activity each day (and often more than one). However, as the after school activities add up, so do the number of missed opportunities to share a family meal together. Not to worry, I have strategies to help.

What are the Benefits of Family Meals?

A few years ago, I began researching the importance of family meals for a talk I was doing at a national meeting. The number one finding was that shared family mealtimes are beneficial for the long term health of children and teens. In fact, according to research cited in Pediatrics, children and teens who eat a meal with the family 3 or more times per week are:

  1. More likely to be at a healthy weight 
  2. Make healthier food choices
  3. Are less likely to develop some type of disordered eating

The great news is that you have 24 opportunities per week to hit just 3 meals. Sure, if you count lunch at school then you may need to subtract down to 19 but still, the point is that there are more chances to make an impact than you think.


Image courtesy of Taziki’s

Strategies for Achieving Family Meal Time

Time, work, picky eaters, the family schedule and stress are all barriers to eating meals together. However, these meal planning strategies are sure to help achieve at least 3 meals together each week.

1. Keep Key Ingredients Stocked: Keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with the basics is the key to being able to prepare food fast. This may mean having essential pantry items stocked or purchasing a healthy takeout meal from your favorite quick serve restaurant. For example, I love purchasing Taziki’s Fresh Take Home Dinner for 4 Grilled Chicken Breast for dinner and then freezing any leftover chicken for easy defrosting at a later date. Your schedule is always going to throw you a curve ball. Have the essentials on-hand helps when you don’t have time to grocery shop or meal plan.

2. Set New Ground Rules: Set a goal at the beginning of each week and plan which 3 family meals will be eaten together. This can be liberating for many well-meaning parents that feel stressed when they can’t make mealtimes work. Plan around those meals by selecting which recipes to prepare (or takeout to pick up) and remember that weekends, breakfast and lunch count.

3. Cut Yourself and Your Meals Some Slack: Family meals don’t have to be fancy or even the exact picture of health every time. Even leftovers eaten together around the table work (and are usually just as delicious). Realize that eating together with the majority of your family members is better than no one eating together at all. 


Holley Grainger - Taziki's Dinner for 4 healthy takeout dinners

My Favorite Healthy Takeout Dinner Shortcut

Want to get a nutritious dinner on the table quickly that will please the whole family? 
So what does this mean for parents like me that spend a large majority of their time working or in the car toting their little friends from point A to point B? A hefty serving of guilt and stress.

That’s why I decided to find and accept shortcuts when it comes to mealtime. My #1 – Taziki’s Fresh Take Home Dinner for 4. This “shortcut” is one that as a mom and dietitian I feel good about. I know that my family is being nourished with delicious food. Ordering a dinner-to-go from Taziki’s saves me time in the kitchen. Plus, it cuts back on the stress of not knowing what we’re going to eat that night and makes clean up a cinch. I love how I can call in or order online and in no time at all, our Mediterranean-style meal is ready for pickup. Plus, Taziki’s always has generous portions so if leftovers aren’t reserved for dinner the next night, they find their way to a lunchbox.

If you haven’t tried a healthy takeout dinner from Taziki’s like their Dinner for 4, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. Each meal comes with the choice of a Greek or Mediterranean salad, roasted new potatoes or basmati rice and fresh pita triangles or pita chips. Oh, and don’t forget to add on a serving of grilled vegetables – they’re the best!

Do you have a Taziki’s in your town? What’s your favorite dish to order?

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Healthy Takeout Dinner Shortcuts from Holley Grainger