Spring planting on Midwestern farms means long days, often stretching from the early dawn to the stroke of midnight. It’s a busy time when anyone in charge of meals might wish for a food truck to magically appear in the fields, delivering fresh subs to the hardworking crew. However, often, it’s up to the multitasking hero at home — usually Mom — to whip up something quick and satisfying.

When feeding a group that might border on ‘hangry,’ some days, having simple, tasty, and filling meal options is crucial. Here’s a guide to easy, farmer-approved meals that promise minimal kitchen time and maximum satisfaction.

1. Smart prep and packaging

  • Eco-friendly Containers: Opt for compostable or disposable containers for easy cleanup. These are perfect for meals on the move.
  • Supply Kit: Equip your vehicle with a supply box containing essentials like hand wipes, paper towels, pre-packaged condiments, plastic cutlery, and trash bags.
  • Hand-Held Foods: Does your crew want “no knife” food? Many crewmembers prefer hand-held foods so they can keep driving while they eat. Box lunches can include a sandwich, chips, fruit or veggie sticks, pickles, cookies and drink.
  • Cooling Tips: Freeze water bottles to use as ice packs in your coolers and lunch bags. They’ll thaw by lunchtime for a refreshing drink.
  • A Personal Touch: Involve the kids by letting them add a daily joke or quote to each lunch box. Stuck for ideas? A quote-of-the-day calendar is your friend.

2. Hearty hot sandwiches

Wrap these in foil to keep them warm:

  • Classic Comforts: Meatloaf, steak, burgers, slow-cooked chicken, pulled pork or Italian beef.
  • Handy Eats: Hot Pockets®, calzones, burritos or empanadas — make ahead, freeze, and reheat as needed.

3. Crisp cold hand-helds

  • Variety is Key: Use buns, wraps or pita. Try a BLT wrap pack or a sub for a satisfying crunch.
  • Surprise your crew with a fried chicken box with all the chicken they can eat.

4. Adult bento box

Jump on the trend with no-cook, easy-to-assemble meals in compartmentalized boxes. For a balanced meal, include hard-boiled eggs, deli meats like salami, various cheeses, crackers, fresh fruits and veggies.

5. Snacks for an energy boost

Keep spirits and energy high come mid-morning and late afternoon with these snacks:

  • Sweet and Savory Picks: Fruit and cheese kabobs, veggie sticks with dip or peanut butter, granola bars or nuts, trail mix, beef sticks, muffins and fruit.
  • Tractor Cab Treats: Stock the cabs with jars of peanut butter pretzel nuggets for a quick energy boost.

Meal prep during planting season doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With clever planning and farmer-friendly meals, you can nourish the crew and keep everyone’s spirits high. Remember, the best meal plan feeds both body and soul, supporting your team through the most demanding days of spring. Keep it fun, keep it fresh, and keep those tractors running!