Summer is upon us! Which means, it’s time to get out of the kitchen! I don’t know about you, but during the heat of summer, I prefer to spend as little time as possible in my kitchen. However, my family still has to eat. Which is why I’ve devised this master list of super simple summer meal plan ideas which includes tons of meal combinations that can be prepared on the grill or in a skillet in no time flat. These simple summer meal plan ideas are adaptable to any family size!
In addition to being super simple, you can also tweak this plan to accommodate any dietary restrictions you or your family may have.
SUMMER MEAL PLAN IDEAS
During the Summer months, my family naturally craves lighter, healthier meals. No one wants to sit down with a bowl of chili when it’s 90+ degrees out. As such, I make sure to prepare lots of chicken and fish on the grill, which I serve with bread, fruit, and vegetables.
BOOM! An easy peasy, healthy dinner magically appears on the table in very little time.
MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
I’ll admit, I pretty much drop any “official” meal planning over the summer. Here’s what I do instead.
I make a list of meats, bread, starches, fruits, and vegetables that I know my family will eat. Then, I make a short master list of my favorite spices and marinades. Finally, armed with my master list, I go shopping and stock up on these foods.
If you don’t want to make your marinades from scratch, here are some yummy alternatives:
Each evening, I plan the following night’s dinner. I choose one item off of the list of meats, one way to season/marinade it, 1-2 items from the bread or starch category, one fruit, and one (or more) vegetables. I thaw the meat overnight if needed.
The next morning, I place the meat into a gallon-size Ziploc baggie with some seasoning/marinade and let it sit for the day so it can soak up the goodness. An exception to this is fish. Fish only needs to be seasoned/marinated within 1 hour of cooking. Otherwise, it tends to get “mushy”.
LET’S GET COOKING
When it’s time to prepare dinner, I simply fire up the propane grill or use a skillet to prepare the meat for our meal. I use this cast iron skillet when cooking with gas, and this non-stick skillet when using my electric stovetop. Then, I quickly prepare any starches, sides, and salads while the meat is cooking. While the grill is preheating I scavenge the garden for any ripe fruits and veggies. If I am able to find some, I will serve them with dinner. Otherwise, I will either heat up some frozen vegetables in the microwave, or I will serve raw store-bought veggies instead.
I would totally cook this way year-round if I could. Unfortunately, I live in a 4 season climate and it’s really difficult to grill when the ground is covered with 3+ feet of snow. Although, I have some friends who do!
If you’re looking for some super simple summer meal plan ideas to get you started, here’s my master list. (A printable version is included at the bottom of this post)
BBQ-DRY RUB OR MARINADE
MEXICAN SPICE BLEND
BREAD & STARCHES
HOT DOG BUNS
EASY-PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY
This is the easiest method I’ve found for feeding my hungry family throughout summer. I love that I can customize this list to suit my family’s dietary restrictions and preferences. By serving meals that go from prep to table in 30 minutes or less, I am able to spend more time lounging by the pool and less time slaving over a hot stove.
Here’s a free summer meal plan printable which you are free to use and share. Please don’t distribute/sell/claim this printable. Please send your friends and family to this post if they would like to print one for themselves.
Now, get out of the kitchen and enjoy your Summer!