Feeding kids is a monumental tasks, especially when they’re little. Make your life a little bit easier by stealing my kid’s lunch and snack prep schedule for an easier summer!
“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM, can I please have a SSSNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCKKKK?”
It was only day 2 of summer, and I knew I had to come up with some kind of solution, because this whiny request an impressive number of times only mere minutes after the last snack would ultimately send me to my grave I was sure of it.
I remember the summers of my childhood being beautiful and stress-free, wandering around the neighborhood without a care.
Now that I’m a mom, I still LOVE summer, the late nights, BBQs, camping trips, but having the kids home 24/7….that’s an adjustment.
So, to help me cope and actually enjoy my summer like I want to, I came up with a kid’s lunch and snack prep routine that is literally saving my sanity right now.
(Now if anyone has any tips to keep my kids from murdering each other…that’ll be the next step 😉
Let’s jump into how you can make meals and snacks less stressful this summer in your family.
How to have a stress-free summer with a kid’s lunch and snack prep menu (with meal prep)
Reducing stress by using a weekly lunch menu
I’m a big-time meal planner, but I usually don’t do much planning for lunch. I usually just play it by ear eating leftovers, or a quick salad/sandwich and veggies and I’m good to go.
But with the kids home full-time AND an on-the-go routine (another key for keeping mom’s sanity during the summer is lots of outtings. The easiest way to keep your house clean is to get your kids out of it) a menu is super helpful for all of our sanity!
I think when I say I plan a menu for the summer, some of you more laissez faire moms start to get stressed about the rigidity of a menu, but I promise it’s not hard and it’s not really rigid either. It simply helps me take the decision making out of the day by making the mundane decisions ahead of time.
Another thing people get afraid of when they hear “menu” is they assume it’s going to be full of complicated recipes.
Let me assure you, I’m keeping it super easy for lunches in summer and we’re probably eating the same sort of stuff you are, I just choose to plan it and make it a routine.
In fact, let’s go over our summer lunch menu just so you can see what it looks like (and see that it’s not stressful or complicated)
Monday: PB&J, Carrots, Sliced Apples
Tuesday: Mac & Cheese, Frozen Peas, Canned Pears
Wednesday: Bagel Pizzas, Broccoli, Sliced Oranges
Thursday: Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Cucumbers, Canned Peaches
Friday: Pancakes, Hashbrown and Egg Cups, Strawberries
I’ve put all of this info together into a printable guide that will contain the menus for meals and snacks for summer, as well as a meal prep guide so you know how you can meal prep this to make it even simpler so if you want the easy printable version with the extras so you can steal my routine, go ahead and enter your email below!
Create a routine by repeating snacks
Okay. So you’ve made a lunch schedule (based on your summer lifestyle) but what about the endless snacks?
I find doing a snack “menu” a little too rigid for us, but I also feel constantly overwhelmed with purchasing and feeding my kids all the snacks.
So here are three things we do that keep the snacking manageable (for mom).
- We have two scheduled snacks a day (1 mid-morning, 1 mid-afternoon). I know the kids are eating every 2-3 hours and if they ask for snacks at other times I remind them when the next scheduled snack is. I know this causes some of you major anxiety and those kids can sure be convincing that they absolutely WILL starve if they don’t eat right now. It works for me, because it’s something I can handle as a mom. The key here, however, is boundaries. If you want to teach your kids more of an intuitive eating approach you can designate a drawer in the fridge as snacks they are free to eat when they want as an alternative, or other alternatives. The key is to set boundaries that work for you as the mom, and keep your kids fed.
- We have a snack “menu” through the whole summer of snacks that we always have available. It’s not a menu in the same sense as there are no assigned days, just a simple menu of 4-6 snacks that are always available to choose from. The kids know what’s available and I know what’s available so there’s no fighting.
Kid’s Snack Ideas:
Apples/Celery and PB
Fruit and Yogurt Dip
Carrots + Cucumbers and ranch/hummus
Fruit leather and string cheese
Lunch Meat and Veggies
If you want to steal my freebie I’ll include recipes and prep tips for 4 of these snacks, but you can always come up with your own snacks and figure out a prep schedule that works for them!
Using meal prep to make everything come together
Using menus alone to help with feeding your kids this summer will DEFINITELY help, but meal prep will help this system really come together.
Generally, I meal prep more when it comes to dinner than I do lunches and snacks, but summer is a different beast so I switch up my routine a little bit.
In order for your summer lunch menu to be the most simple and effective, meal prep will be the best option.
Meal prep pb&js? Yes. Absolutely.
You may be thinking, but doesn’t it take like 5 minutes to make pb&js…and the answer would be yes. However, this isn’t really a matter of time but of convenience.
So when you make pb&js you’re going to make a month’s worth of pb&js for your kids (assuming they eat 1/week on your schedule)
I love doing this in the summer because like I said earlier, we like to be out and about. When I have frozen pb&js I can pack a lunch in a hurry from the freezer! The pb&js will be thaw by lunchtime if we pack them by 10:00 in the morning.
The other reason I love meal prepping even simple things in summer, is because let’s be honest, having all of the children home is sheer chaos.
So even if it only takes me 5 minutes to make pb&js for the kids, it will be another 5 minutes to get everything cleaned up and put away, and most importantly during that 10 minutes of time that mom is occupied and not super closely supervising her children they can wreak way more than 10 minutes of havoc on your house.
I love that meal prep allows me to be present and aware with my kids and not focused on those mundane and sometimes stressful tasks!
I have a meal prep system for the entire menu that I outlined, and I’ll outline that whole system in the FREE handout you can get by signing up in the show notes!
I can’t promise you that these tips will stop the endless “but MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM I’m so HUUUUUUUUUUUNGRY can I PUUUUUUUUUUUHLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE have a SNNNNNNAAAAAAAAACK??” but hopefully it can at least help you feel like you’ve got it all under control with the perfect kid’s lunch and snack plan when the kids do ask 😉
On the next episode of the podcast I’ll be walking you through how I meal prep for the week in an hour. This will coincide with the launch of my NEW course, meal prep in minutes where you’ll get to watch me meal prep and prepare a week’s worth of meals!
You won’t want to miss it! Thanks for tuning in!
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