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How To Summer Meal Prep with Kids

Created June 10, 2021
PB_Meal planning_ARTICLE_HERO
As the summer heats up, so does the kitchen. Little hands and hungry tummies are constantly checking in and inquiring about snacks and meals, so we've made this quick guide full of useful tips to help you plan your summer meal prep like a pro.

Stock the Pantry

If you're wondering how to summer meal prep, start with the pantry. A well-stocked pantry can help make the question, "What's for dinner?" less stressful. When considering a pantry stock-up, look for items that have long shelf lives and can be used in a variety of ways. Consider your family's favorite flavors and food preferences or recruit them to help and have them write out a list of pantry items to pick up from the store.

Need some ideas to get your list going?

  • Oatmeal and/or rolled oats are a great staple as they can become a quick and healthy breakfast, or they can be used as an ingredient in several healthy snacks.
  • Onions and potatoes are essential root veggies that last a long time and make delicious, versatile side dishes.
  • Nut butters, like peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter, are handy to have for lunches, and can be used in breakfast and snack recipes.
  • You'll want to stock up on grains, including rice, quinoa, and pasta.
  • Stock up on canned goods, like diced tomatoes, beans, mangos, and diced pineapple. Check out these Recipes to Make with Canned Food.
  • Finish off your list with some cooking stock or broth.

Fridge Essentials

You can get a ton of inspiration for kids' summer meal prep ideas from must-have items you store in your fridge. Fruits and veggies like tomatoes, bell peppers, avocados, lemons, carrots, and celery are great for snack packs, smoothies, and salads.

When it comes to dairy, the basics are best. Milk, butter, and cheese are staples you'll always want to have on hand. Eggs are a versatile ingredient for a weekday breakfast, family brunch, or impromptu baked treats. If you're in need of a breakfast dish, make this Overnight Sausage-Egg Bake ahead of time, then pop it in the oven come morning when you're ready to eat.

Biscuits and crescent rolls are quick and easy sides to compliment any meal, so have a few stashed in your fridge.

Make Shopping a Breeze

If you're still not sure how to meal prep for the kids, start with your grocery list. Before you go to the store, think of your family's favorite meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When you start planning your list, add the ingredients for several of your go-to recipes. This helps ensure you always have what you need to throw together a meal that everyone around the table will love.

Another useful trick? Keep a running grocery list. Whether it's hanging on the fridge, on your phone, or jotted on the family dry erase board, this tip will help you remember items you've run out of, special requests, or new meal ideas you've been wanting to try.

If you're shopping in person, try to go alone to cut down on distractions, and choose a store you know well. Knowing the layout of a store can minimize browsing time and reduce impulse buys you happen to come across. Want to save more time? Try grocery delivery!

Be Efficient in the Kitchen

Before you start cooking, set up a cooking station with everything you need, including recipe ingredients and supplies to clean up. This will help you prep, cook, and clean as swiftly as possible.

We also suggest finding make-ahead meal recipes that let you prep the day before and using recipes that make enough for leftovers so you can fill dinner gaps later in the week. This will be a lifesaver for busy weeknights. If you're able, consider using alternative cooking methods, like slow cookers, instant pots, and air fryers to help you create meals you can set and forget.

Easy Meal Ideas

Enjoy the benefits of meal prep and serve up one of these quick-prep meal ideas. Busy weeknight? This One-Pan Meatball and Pepperoni Pasta Bake takes 10 minutes to prep or you can serve up this Instant Pot Easy Pot Roast with the help of your slow cooker.

Pillsbury.com has more meal ideas for you, like and Make-Ahead Dinners That Will Save You Time and Money. The options for easy and delicious dinners are endless!