I can’t speak for all mothers, but when it comes to finding summertime recipes for my own brood, I always have three questions:
- Is it quick?
- Is it easy?
- Will it convince my kids to eat something good for them?
It seems we’re constantly on the go during summer, so getting in healthy meals is a balance of finding tasty, adaptable recipes that don’t take hours upon hours of prep and cook time. Although tempting new recipes pop up on my Pinterest feed every day, these are the five kid-friendly recipes I come back to again and again.
- Sensational Smoothies
Smoothies are our go-to “treat” of choice when it comes to summer meals. Cool, sweet and refreshing, a homemade fruit and veggie smoothie is a nutritional powerhouse in dessert’s clothing.
The best thing about smoothies? You don’t even really need a recipe.
Oh, sure, you can find amazing recipes and guides for every smoothie color and flavor under the sun. You can even make rainbow smoothies, if you have the time and inclination. Or you can do what I do and add whatever fruit you desire to a few base ingredients.
I like to start each smoothie with:
- Healthy greens such as kale, spinach or broccoli
- Low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- A splash of milk
- A banana
I’ve found that adding a banana to the mix guarantees that even the pickiest eater will gulp it down. From there I add in whatever fruit is in season or on sale. Blueberries and peaches are always a hit.
These tasty smoothies are an easy way to ensure the kids are getting their daily fruits and veggies in, even if we barely have time to sit down. They’re a great option for snack time but we also like to pair them with a simple dinner like grilled chicken and corn on the cob.
- Playful Pasta
Eye-catching zucchini ribbons, colorful tomatoes and deliciously creamy goat cheese — this is a pasta dish not to be missed.
Don’t think twice before ditching a difficult-to-twirl pasta, like this recipe’s recommended linguini, for a kid-friendly alternative. Bow-ties and wagon wheels are easier for young kids to eat on their own. They’re also pretty fun to look at.
Simple pasta recipes are endlessly adaptable. Add or substitute veggies according to seasonal or regional availability, or to suit your personal taste.
- Egg-ceptional Eggs
Perhaps it’s just me, but deviled eggs always screamed summer and fun to me as a kid. Maybe it’s because they were a staple at every family picnic. Or you could just chalk it up to the delicious sensory-memory of biting into a cool, creamy egg. Whatever the case, no summer goes by without a few batches of these babies.
While plain ol’ deviled eggs will always have a warm place in my heart, it can be fun to spice things up a bit. Literally! A familiar dish can be an easy way to get kids to try something new. Whether or not you tell them they’re eating something new before the first bite, well, that’s up to you.
My new favorite involves a little seafood indulgence — lobster. That’s right, Old Bay and lobster deviled eggs. That combination may not be anyone’s first thought when it comes to deviled eggs, but boy does it work.
- Clever Kabobs
What’s more grab-and-go than a meal on a stick? When the schedule is filling up and the kids can’t seem to sit still, that’s the time to break out the kabob recipes.
A simple Asian-inspired chicken kabob makes a great base for any summertime meal. You can throw together the chicken and marinade in the morning, then grill to perfection in the evening.
Of course, there are endless kabob possibilities. Combine basil leaves, mozzarella cubes and cherry tomatoes for an antipasta kabob. Deconstruct your favorite sub onto a skewer. Or try putting your dessert on a stick. Fruit skewers with yogurt dipping sauce are a cool and tasty treat.
- Slow Cooker Slam Dunk
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a slow cooker recipe.
When it comes to this Thai chicken wing recipe, it really ticks all the boxes:
- Finger food? Check.
- Dipping sauce? Check.
- Quick prep? Check.
- Hours in the slow cooker? Check.
- Delicious, peanutty flavor that both kids and adults will love? Check, check and double check.
Get a theme going by whipping up an Asian-style coleslaw or keep it simple by pairing with summer fruit or a simple salad.
There’s nothing wrong with a summer filled with burgers and ‘dogs. But if you’re looking for a quick, delicious, nutritious change up, each recipe on this list is a surefire, all-ages crowd-pleaser.