It seems like we landed smack into the middle of high summer all of a sudden, right? And if you're like me, the last thing I want to do after a long, hot day is to turn on the cook top or oven. And luckily, we don't have to! Here, 25 easy ideas for simple dinners to satisfy (and replenish) toddlers on even the hottest days of the summers. Bonus: The rest of the family will love these ideas too!
- Snack Plate
Serve up a mix of crackers, sliced cheese, raw veggies (cucumbers and snap peas are our favorites), sliced fruit, sliced deli meat or salami, and maybe some chopped nuts and let everyone help themselves.
- Fresh Fruit Spring Rolls
This fun take on spring rolls would be a cooking activity the kids would love to do together!
- Hummus Sandwiches
Whether with store-bought or homemade hummus, this sort of sandwich is a super quick (and filling) dinner idea. Try it on whole grain bread, rolled up in a wrap, tucked into a pita, or open-faced on flat bread.
- Pita Bread with Hummus and Grapes
Turn this classic appetizer into a simple dinner by serving up hummus as a dipping sauce for pita bread (or crackers) and some simple fruit. Add in some sliced cheese and cut up veggies to round things out if you like.
- Mango Guacamole
Serve spread on a tortilla or pita or with crackers alongside some simple beans and a side of veggies (or serve with leftover chicken as a dipping sauce).
- Couscous with Salsa and Beans
Whole-wheat couscous fluffs up simply by pouring boiling water over top of it and it makes a yummy base for all sorts of toppings. We like having it with salsa and black beans—and shredding some cheese on top—for a new take on a Mexican-style meal.
- Couscous with Diced Cheese and Fresh Tomato Sauce
Trade in couscous for pasta and serve with cubed cheese and a mixture of chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil.
- White Beans with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Puree tomatoes, basil, and a little olive together in a food processor and toss with white beans. Serve with toast or pita bread for dipping.
- Toddler Salad
Either on a skewer (or lollipop stick) or assembled on a plate. The combination of fruits and veggies here is key! Round it out with some cheese, canned salmon or tuna, or nut butter on toast.
- Wild Salmon Salad with Crackers
Stir together a package of wild salmon (choose bone-in if possible and crush the bones up for added calcium) with a little mayo and Dijon mustard for a simple topping for crackers (or toast). It's rich in good fats and high in protein.
- Fruit and Veggies with Yogurt Nut Butter Dip
Stir together plain yogurt with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter and a drizzle of honey for a yummy dip for sliced fruit, berries, plain crackers, and veggies like cucumbers and snap peas.
- Open-Faced Salami Sandwiches
Spread toast or bread with cream cheese or soft goat cheese and layer on thinly sliced salami for a new take on a sandwich dinner. Serve with simple veggies and fruit.
- Yogurt Grain Mash Up
Put leftover grains to good use in this breakfast-for-dinner idea.
- Simple Green Smoothie
Serve this spinach and fruit smoothie with crackers, dry cereal, or even a cheese sandwich.
- Deconstructed Chicken Salad
Make a plate of shredded rotisserie or leftover chicken, halved grapes, chopped walnuts, crackers or bread, and maybe some avocado as a deconstructed chicken salad.
- Deconstructed Taco Salad
Have taco meat, beans, salsa, and cheese served over lettuce for the parents and all of the ingredients served side-by-side for the kids. (I find that the more they can see what they are being served, the better!)
- Deconstructed Greek Salad
Assemble a plate of chopped lettuce, cubed cheese, cooked chicken, sliced tomatoes, olives, and a dollop or two of hummus for a restaurant-dish at home.
- Avocado Toast
Give the kids a dose of good fats with this super simple (and totally tasty) idea. Simply mash avocado onto whole grain bread or toast. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve. (Or, top with shredded cheese, hard-cooked egg slices, or anything else you think might taste good!)
- Tortilla Roll Up
Spread cream cheese or nut butter and jam onto a whole grain tortilla. Layer on sliced fresh fruit and roll up. Slice into spirals. Serve alongside a simple fresh veggie like bell pepper strips or fresh tomatoes.
- Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Pick up rice stick noodles and "cook" them by pouring boiling water over them as directed on the package. Serve with cucumbers and peanut sauce.
- Rice Noodles with Pesto
Prep rice stick noodles with hot water as directed on the package and toss with pesto, sliced tomatoes, and leftover chicken or cubed cheese for a simple noodle dinner.
- Tropical Overnight Oats
This would make a wonderfully refreshing dinner after a long afternoon at the pool!
- Strawberry Milk
Try this with a simple cheese or hummus sandwich for a refreshing take on regular milk that sneaks in a serving of fruit.
- White Beans with Homemade Ranch and Crackers
Toss together white beans (or chickpeas) with a little homemade Ranch dressing (or pesto) and serve alongside crackers, sliced cucumbers, fresh fruit, and some cheese if you like.
- Kiwi-Spinach Smoothie Pops
With dry cereal, crackers, or some toast, this is an ideal warm-day dinner.
Have a no-cook dinner your toddler loves? Add it to the list in the comments!
Subscribe to the monthly YTF newsletter for exclusive recipes, feeding tips, and discounts!