Tips for Handling Summer Snacks and Meals

As summer kicks off, I asked on Instagram what the biggest summer pain points are and one of the MOST common responses was food!

From dinners that don’t heat up the whole house to the constant snacking, food in the summer is a tricky thing!

I asked for suggestions and they came pouring in – here are some of the best suggestions for summer snacks and meals!

summer snacks and meals

Tips for Handling Summer Snacks and Meals

  • Set specific times to eat. For us, this has changed our lunch time issues (so much so that I wrote a whole post about it last summer). Having everyone know what time to expect lunch cut back on snacking so much or doing lunch dishes all day long.
  • Keep cut fruit and veggies in a tray in the fridge. This was BY FAR the most popular suggestion! I asked on Instagram for recommendations for a veggie tray to keep in the fridge and this one was recommended over and over again! I just ordered one for our fridge!
  • Use a visual chart so everyone knows what meals to expect. One mom said, “I get a big white board out and write out the lunch/dinner menu every week. It helps to see it BIG.”
  • Plan 1 dinner for the BBQ and 1 dinner in crockpot/instant pot. Both of these keep your house cooler and usually have an easy clean up!
  • Set lunch and/or breakfast menu with different food each week day. 
  • Let your kids make the meal plan. This was a popular suggestion (and works for meals or summer snacks!). One parent said, “They keep it simple and are more likely to eat it.”
  • Heat. the oven once! One smart suggestion from Instagram, “If you must turn the oven on, make a bunch of things in the oven so it’s only once a week.”
  • Keep up your school-year lunch packing during the summer. If you had a good routine for making lunches the night before or in the morning, keep that going. Then it’s ready if you decide to go out on an adventure or if you stay home!
  • Order a tray of croissant sandwiches from Costco. I didn’t even know this was an option until I asked for suggestions – the commenter said they stay fresh all week and they’re so easy to grab and go!
  • Embrace popcorn! One mom said, “It’s messy but I pop lots of popcorn when friends are over. It’s whole grain, filling and very cost-effective.”
  • Use AI. Now this is a use of AI I can get behind – this mom said, “To alleviate the exhaustion of thinking about this I ask ChatGPT for ideas.” Genius!
  • Try a 2 week meal plan. We did this a few summers ago and it worked SO WELL for our family! I planned out two weeks of meals and then we just repeated the whole summer long (I have a whole blog post about it here!)
  • Try grocery delivery or grocery pickup. You know I LOVE grocery delivery and one mom said, “Grocery pick up has changed my life.” Especially when you have everyone around, it’s a lifesaver to not have to drag a million children through the grocery store!
  • Prep overnight oats. This is an easy filling breakfast that kids can help make the night before!
  • Streamline breakfast and lunch. Choose a few options for each meal and then make sure to have the supplies on hand so everyone knows what they can choose from and quickly make them.
  • Charcuterie plate lunches. This has been a staple in our house for more than a decade. One mom said, “Lunch is just a charcuterie plate essentially. Just keep those stocked up. Instant lunch.”
  • Muffins! These are so easy to make ahead and freeze – one mom said, “Muffin quiches (my kid hates eggs but loves these) and muffins (stash both in the freezer)!”
  • Protein breakfasts that don’t include eggs. If you have kids who don’t love eggs, try cottage cheese pancakes or greek yogurt parfaits with honey and fruit.
  • Prep lunch while kids eat breakfast. One parent said, “still a pain but lunch seems less stressful.” And wouldn’t we all take a little less stress at lunch?
  • Eat like you’re at a diner. One mom said, ” I just bought the trays with the wax liners to cut back on dishes and so far I’m thrilled.” I love that it’s less waste than paper plates but doesn’t require so many dishes to be washed!
  • Have a set snack time. It is easy in the summer for snack time to turn into ALL DAY LONG. Picking a specific snack time and sticking to it makes it easier for everyone to know what to expect. One parent said, “We honestly have set times for snacks and meals. If not they would want to eat all day.”
  • Cook chicken breasts in the crockpot. They’ll come out tender without heating up your whole kitchen, then you can shred them for easy use in salads, wraps, tacos, sandwiches and pizza!
  • Don’t be a short order chef! One mom said, “I will make one thing for lunch, if they don’t want it they make their own.” All the clapping hands emoji for this!
  • Have your kids help. So many parents suggested giving each child a meal to be in charge of each week or assigning an older and younger kid to work together to prep a lunch or dinner.
  • Give your kids total responsibility for meals. One mom said, “I haven’t fixed summer lunches for kids since they were about 8/10. Food is here. Find it.”
  • Make a list to choose from. One parent said, “I made a list of things like veggies/protein/fruit and they pick to make balanced lunches themselves.” (If you need some ideas, I have a printable list here!)
  • Smoothies! This was a very popular response for both summers snacks and even for dinner!
  • Have a lunch schedule or dinner schedule. This can be as simple or specific as you want, like Monday – sandwiches, Tuesday – pizza, Wednesday – crockpot.
  • Have a breakfast schedule! Same ideas but just for breakfast. One mom said, “Oatmeal on Mondays, eggs on Tuesdays, yogurt and toast on Wednesday, etc.”
  • Choose a go-to snack bar. One mom said her summer snack hack was “Having a go-to snack bar I just keep around. No decisions about what to buy!” In our family, our three picks are Skout Bars (my code is EVERYDAYREADING) or Yes Bars or G2G Bars (my code is READ).
  • Prep the week’s breakfast on Sunday. If you don’t want to make breakfast every day, this is a great way to make it so they can help themselves to breakfast in the morning.
  • Freezer Sandwiches. If you haven’t seen these viral freezer sandwiches, this is for you! Brittany Hanks saves the day again!
  • Use a meal kit. We used a meal kit last summer and it was SO NICE to streamline planning and prep!
  • Create two snack bins. One mom said, “one more “fun” and one more “protein”. They can take one from each in the afternoon.” So smart!
  • Try rice bowls.  This is an easy go-to lunch or dinner because you can cook the rice and meat in the instant pot and then just add toppings (and every child can choose what they want on top!).
  • Our best bites summer dinner simplified cookbook saved me last summer. 30 minutes preplanned meals!

Any other suggestions for making summer snacks and meals easier? I’d love to hear!

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