The Monday Menu: Kid-Friendly Summer Lunch Series

Summer is just about here, and so as part of Eat Well, Spend Less, we’re looking at ways to get your kids involved in the summer menu and kitchen play. From shopping to fun recipes, this Monday menu features lunch and snack ideas for the summer.

This conversation could go one of two ways: 1) Summer is a great time for getting the kids in the kitchen because you’re free from all the school activities, homework, and summer sports, OR 2) Summer is a hectic time filled with inconsistent schedules, vacations, and summer camp and programs that make it hard to get in the kitchen with the kids.

I personally think that summer is a mix of both. I have some weeks that fly by and other weeks that drag on forever during the summer months, and so this post is specifically dedicated to the dragging weeks. The ones where somehow no one is involved in summer camp, the kids are home, the weather is warm, and you’re sitting there staring at each other and wondering what to do.

The following are ideas of what to do and what to make with your kids to kill the boredom and make lunchtime or snacktime a treat for those long, languid days of summer. It doesn’t have to be this week or next week or even the week after. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a full week at all, if you just don’t have a full week available. Split the days up, make a point of it, and try spending a few hours here and there this summer getting your kids involved.

Monday – Lunch: Ranch Chicken Salad in a Jar
Snack: Red, White and Blue Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Tuesday – Lunch: Arugula and Chive Baked Egg Cups
Snack: Frozen Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip

Wednesday – Lunch: Buttermilk Chicken Strips
Snack: Freezer Bag Ice Cream

Thursday – Lunch: Easy Macaroni and Cheese
Snack: No-Sugar Popsicles

Friday – Lunch: Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Snack: Apple Chips and Sun Butter Bites

If you’re looking for more kid-friendly recipes, Aimee has lots of Easy Recipes Kids Can Cook. There’s a little something for everyone in this post. Be sure to check out Katie’s tips for getting the kids involved, too, when you’re there for the no-sugar popsicles listed above. Carrie’s lessons start at the supermarket, and she shares all the fun things she does to make grocery shopping a learning experience.

If the thought of having the kids in your space stresses you out, Mandi has a few tricks to help you overcome the stress of having little ones underfoot in the kitchen. Tammy has lists and tips to help you get everything done and keep them all fed, while Jessica is starting to give up control to include her kids. Amy’s points on managing a gaggle of kids are also important when there’s more than one helper in the kitchen.

For more menu plans:


  1. My kids love putting stuff on skewers, I love the raspberry grape ones, gave me an idea for them to put them together while the rest of lunch is coming together (I’m not good at getting them to help me in the kitchen so it’s the little things 😉 )

    Love all the meal ideas in this post, summer can be a little of both I agree. I love the laid backness of it, but then there are the weeks full of activities. Great post!

  2. Thank you for this post! I LOVE a good menu – makes my life so much easier, and these meals look perfect for the kids!

  3. Great ideas! My older boys are out working on the ranch every day but my little guy is home with me and often feels pretty left out. I will put him to work on some of these meals.

  4. This post has so many great ideas! There will be several weeks this summer when my boys are activity-less, and I know they’d love to spend some time making those adorable skewers!

  5. I love the idea of including the kids in cooking. Hopefully it will create a great love of cooking that will last a lifetime!

  6. I love this list! That Freezer Bag Ice Cream is SO happening!

  7. Wonderful tips Shaina! And what a CUTE bunch you’ve got!

  8. Love your ideas. It’s nice to have some tips to change things up when we’re always just turning to the ease of PB&J!

  9. Awww…look at your sweet monkeys, they are growing up so fast! Love the lunch ideas. I’ll be passing these on to the boys 😀 xo

  10. Your kids are gorgeous 🙂

    I LOVE the recipes. I am going to bookmark them.

  11. Love this plan, Shaina – the fruit skewers are just darling.

  12. Great menu!

  13. I love those fruit skewers! Such a cute idea.

  14. Having kids engage in helping in the kitchen is a brilliant idea. Instead of playing around, they can learn something on it. I know by just helping skewed food will make them enjoy the day!

  15. Kids really love making the freezer bag ice cream.

  16. I love that last photo with all the thumbs up!

    It was great to finally meet you this weekend girl! 🙂

  17. OK!!! Love the five day menu!!! I need more!!

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