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Ten Guilt-Free Non-Suppers

On most days, dinner comes together quite pleasantly around here. We have a weekly menu plan, I buy just what we need for a few meals (and no more) at the market, and a well-rounded supper comes together with ease. Then…there are other days.

Occasionally, dinner just doesn’t happen for whatever reason – a delayed appointment, a webinar gone into overtime, or just plain lack of motivation (if we’re being honest here) – and we eat what I’ve come to call ‘The Non-Supper’. It’s usually something fast, requires no cooking and generates minimal dishes.

I’m generally not proud of our non-suppers, but sometimes at the end of another long strenuous day (no nanny, cleaning lady or mother’s helper around here!), insufficiently powered due to lack of sleep and fear of a coffee overdose (if there is such a thing), a non-supper takes some pressure off and frees up time for something more important, like playing with the kids.

Why my kids are making summer lunches  and ideas for easy lunches | SImple Bites banana bites

The Non-Supper: It’s more popular than you think

I have a sneaking suspicion some of you know what I am talking about when I refer to these ‘non-suppers’, and after chatting with other women whom I respect for their ability to put nourishing food on the table, I know I am not alone.

Here’s what a few moms had to say when I asked them to ‘fess up about non-suppers in their homes:

“Well, make-your-own-PBJ comes to mind,” says Jessica, mother of six, “as well as the ‘snacky dinner’, similar to the snacky lunch, but usually has sliced baguette, deli meats, and cheeses.”

Julie agrees:

“I know all too well what you mean! W (Julie’s son) very often asks for oatmeal for dinner. Easy. Five minutes, a shake of ground flax and a handful of raisins!”

“People would probably be surprised to learn that there are many nights that I don’t cook dinner,” declares Jennifer, mom-of-four. “By ‘dinner’ I mean a cohesive (and that’s the key word, I think) main dish and side vegetable. Either I’m experimenting and tossing out a weird conglomeration of foods, or I just don’t feel like cooking.”

Jaime shared wise words.

“I believe I must be the Queen of the Non-Dinners.  If you’re not trying to impress anyone, just make sure the child has 1 vegetable or fruit, 1 protein, and 1 starch. That’s balanced enough for a little person.”

Another mom who openly admits to feeding her kids plenty of non-suppers is Jan, although her reasons may be different from most:

“Sometimes I’ve done this out of necessity from an overwhelmingly hectic day and other times I do it so that Rob and I can enjoy an adults-only dinner date, at home, once the boys are in bed.”

Ahem, Jan, I’m taking this as a recommendation! In fact, all of these ladies had great ideas.

Here’s where it gets interesting, though, non-suppers don’t have to mean junk, fast-food, take-out or microwave popcorn. Sure back in my single days a non-supper could mean a bowl of ice cream, but with children factoring in to the equation, it needs to be something better, whether I feel up to it or not.

rhubarb muffins

Ten Non-Suppers You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty About

Here are suggestions for decidedly non-suppers, but that are not altogether empty calories. They come together in minutes, require little to no cooking, and even border on comfort food. The best part? No marshmallow fluff is consumed in the process.

There’s even bonus points for extra nutrition.

1. Cheese & Crackers

Bonus Points:

  • 1 fruit or vegetable
  • cold chicken or roast beef

fruit bottom yogurt

2.Yogurt & Applesauce

Bonus points:

3. Peanut Butter Toast & Banana

Bonus Points:

4. Granola & Milk

Bonus Points:

  • fresh berries
  • dried fruit

5. Egg “McMuffin” (recipe to follow)

Bonus Points:

  • fresh fruit
  • slice of tomato or lettuce
  • A slice of turkey breast or low-salt ham

Two smoothie recipes: Meyer Lemon Blueberry Buzz and Green Pina Colada | Simple Bites  #recipe #smoothies

6. Fruit Smoothie

Bonus points:

7. Veggies & Dip

Bonus Points:

zucchini apple muffins-2583 blog

8. Homemade Muffins & Hot Cocoa

Bonus Points:

9. Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese

Bonus Points:

soft honey wheat sandwich bread 34

10. Tuna Salad on Whole Wheat Bread/Bun

Bonus Points:

  • Low-fat mayo
  • diced celery and apple in the mix

Homemade Egg-McMuffins-

Recipe: Homemade Egg “McMuffin”

  • 1 egg
  • 1 bun, English muffin, or bread of choice
  • butter
  • cheese, sliced
  1. Butter a small, microwave-safe baking dish or ramekin and crack an egg into the middle.
  2. With a fork, pierce the yolk and whisk the egg about three times. You want the yolk to stay mainly intact, but not explode in the microwave! Season, if desired.
  3. Microwave on Medium-High for two minutes (or less if you want a soft-set yolk). In the meantime, toast your bun and butter it.
  4. Carefully remove ramekin from microwave and add a slice of cheese on top of the egg. Loosen around the edges of the egg with a knife and slide onto the bun.
  5. Top with the other half of the bun and enjoy! Caution! The egg will be very hot.

Note: Yes, the egg can be fried in a pan, but the microwave is faster and dirties a smaller dish.

Let’s discuss the non-dinner subject. The ladies in this post and myself have already divulged all. Who wants to go next ?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Looks wonderful! What happens if you use light coconut milk?

  2. Whoops! I thought I was on the ginger coconut chicken! Sorry!

  3. When we lived in England, my mom used to call it “tea supper.” It meant putting all the snacky stuff on the table and digging in. I can go for just an apple and almond butter. My husband breaks out his convenience foods that he can cook. He always has these if he gets too hungry, and the game is for me to stay ahead of him so they don’t get used too much. My daughter is 15, and sometimes cooks for herself, or even (rarely) for all of us! It’s definitely harder without wheat or dairy. Often it’s just leftover soup.

  4. When my children were younger they used to enjoy something that we called “bits on a plate” . Very self explanatory really. It consists of cut up bits of any fruit or salad vegetables we had in the house with chunks of cheese, sliced meat and sultanas. Each child got to select which bits they got on their plate so everyone was happy.

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