Healthy Summer Dinners For Families

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I always have the hardest time figuring out healthy summer dinners for my family. Between picnics, barbecues and endless amounts of munchies, it feels like I spend my summers feeding my family nothing but processed foods and sugar filled treats. However, I want them to stay healthy, so I always try to find healthy recipes that still seem appetizing. Steak, grilled chicken, fruit salads and watermelon are really the best way to go when you’re taking care of your health this summer. With these 5 healthy summer dinners for families, you’ll be able to make a balanced meal that fits in with your next trip outside or quiet afternoon at home around the table playing a board game.

Summer family meal ideas

Discover some of our favourite recipes to lighten up your weeknight meals – perfect for getting the whole family enjoying new flavours and ingredients.

It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut when it comes to feeding the family, so try our fresh summer ideas that will make you feel excited about mealtimes again. Several of the recipes use similar herbs and extra ingredients but taste completely different, so you won’t be left with a surplus of leftover ingredients afterwards

1. Roast puttanesca aubergines with tomato rice & feta

Aubergine puttanesca on two plates, served with salad

This flavourful veggie rice dish is packed full of delicious summer veg and ideal for a casual summer supper or al fresco lunch. You can barbecue the aubergines if you like – cut them into long slices, brush with the oregano and oil as directed, then barbecue or griddle until charred and tender before piling on top of the baked rice and scattering with the feta and tomato mixture.

2. 15-minute chicken & halloumi burgers

Halloumi and chicken burgers on a board, with dipping sauce

Need a speedy summer supper that the family will love? Look no further than these satisfying fried chicken and halloumi burgers which take just 10 mins to cook. With a mild chilli sauce, creamy hummus, roasted red peppers and crunchy cabbage slaw, these perfect patties deliver layer upon layer of flavour.

3. Baked ratatouille & goat’s cheese

Baked ratatouille with cheese topping

Take ratatouille to the next level with a crumbly goat’s cheese topping. As well as being a great way to use up your allotment veg, this meat-free main delivers three of your 5-a-day – perfect for persuading kids to up their veg intake.

4. Pulled pork tacos with pineapple salsa

Bowl of pulled pork with tacos and pineapple salsa

Save time and effort on hot summer days by cooking the pork for these tacos in the slow cooker. The resulting tender, spiced meat is delicious served with a fresh homemade pineapple salsa, cabbage and avocado. Portions are generous, so they are perfect for feeding a hungry family and any leftovers can be enjoyed in a jacket potato the next day.

5. Grilled vegetables with cannellini beans & vegan pesto

Courgette, tomatoes and aubergine salad on an oval plate

Bursting with beautiful colours and flavours, this simple grilled vegetable dish makes a healthy vegan meal. Grilled aubergines, courgettes and cherry tomatoes are combined with cannellini beans and coated in a homemade vegan pesto. This zesty basil and parsley dressing uses nutritional yeast in place of the normal cheese – a great one to have on stand-by for plant-based pasta dishes, too.

Summer family recipes

Our selection of kid-friendly summer essentials. Feed the whole family with barbecue staples, one-pan traybakes, light salads and fruity desserts.

  • Sticky pork lettuce wrapsA star rating of 4.8 out of 5.13 ratingsLet people build their own with these sticky pork lettuce wraps – they’ll prove a winner with kids. They’re perfect for a summer lunch or light dinner
  • Fish finger wraps with cheat’s tartare sauceA star rating of 4.8 out of 5.4 ratingsWhite fish served in tortilla wraps with a choice of cucumber ribbons, romaine lettuce or tomatoes makes this a good build-your-own meal for the whole family
  • Chicken, baguette & tomatoes with pestoA star rating of 4 out of 5.3 ratingsTry a chunky pesto with pine nuts in it to make our chicken, tomatoes and sliced baguette traybake. It’s an easy, preparation-light choice for family dinners
  • Epic summer saladA star rating of 4.9 out of 5.86 ratingsPerfect for BBQs and buffets, this is an assembly job of gorgeous ingredients – no cooking required. Serve it with lamb kebabs for an impressive summer feast
  • Mediterranean chicken tray bakeA star rating of 5 out of 5.17 ratingsA colourful all-in-one bake bursting with summer flavour
  • Summer sausage rollsA star rating of 4.6 out of 5.67 ratingsWhen the weather is warmer, bring some sunshine flavours into everyone’s favourite afternoon tea and picnic snack
  • Halloumi burgersA star rating of 4.7 out of 5.33 ratingsThese veggie halloumi burgers in brioche buns are perfect for the whole family. Serve as a quick and easy lunch – they’re also great on camping holidays
  • Triple-layered berry cheesecakeA star rating of 4.4 out of 5.17 ratingsMake this showstopping cheesecake for summer entertaining. Top with strawberries or a mix of fresh berries, plus a drizzle of chocolate for extra indulgence
  • Lemon & yogurt chicken flatbreadsA star rating of 4.5 out of 5.22 ratingsMake these family-friendly chicken wraps with lemon, garlic and cinnamon marinade on a barbecue if the sun is shining. Serve in flatbreads with yoghurt
  • Teriyaki salmon & green beansA star rating of 4.3 out of 5.14 ratingsBuy a whole piece of salmon for this traybake if you’re feeding a family and cut into adult and children-sized portions. It’s cooked in a delicious teriyaki sauce
  • Pea & pasta frittataA star rating of 3.9 out of 5.9 ratingsUse up leftovers with this easy mint, pea and pasta frittata, which takes just 20 minutes. It keeps really well – pack into lunchboxes for the next day
  • Mini milkshakesA star rating of 5 out of 5.3 ratingsMake these cute mini fruit milkshakes for a family picnic. With three flavours to suit everyone, try banana, strawberry & raspberry and mango & coconut
  • Green bean mac ’n’ cheeseA star rating of 4.7 out of 5.26 ratingsRunner and green beans make a delicious addition to a comforting pasta bake – top with pumpkin seeds for added crunch
  • Sweet potatoes with red pepper & halloumiA star rating of 4.2 out of 5.5 ratingsTop these barbecued sweet potatoes with red pepper and halloumi for a veggie alternative in a family summer feast. Serve with parsley and a squeeze of lemon
  • One-pan nachos with black beansA star rating of 4.3 out of 5.8 ratingsEnjoy this colourful sharing dish with nachos, black beans, salsa, avocado and melted cheese. Everyone will enjoy digging into it straight from the pan
  • Quick banana ice cream sandwichesA star rating of 4.5 out of 5.10 ratingsBake peanut butter cookies and blitz frozen bananas with cream and vanilla to make this impressive speedy dessert. Kids will think they’ve hit the jackpot

A Month of Healthy Summer Dinner Ideas for Kids

EatingWell’s best kid-friendly, healthy recipes perfect for the summertime. You can count on recipes like healthier fried chicken salad, shrimp and asparagus kebabs, and one-pot pasta to refuel the little ones after long days spent in the sun.

Individual Seven Layer Dip in Jars with Baked Tortilla Chips

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Individual Seven Layer Dip in Jars with Baked Tortilla Chips

These little jars are like nachos for the road—with plenty of protein from zesty black beans and taco-spiced Greek yogurt, heart-healthy fats from avocado and a little crunch from toasted corn. Homemade baked tortilla strips are a perfect dip delivery system; their length helps you dig out every last bite from the portable jars.

BBQ Carrot Dogs

BBQ Carrot Dogs

Shock everyone with this recipe for veggie dogs that actually taste like hot dogs. They’re an amazing (and healthy!) vegan alternative to traditional meat hot dogs. Serve in whole-wheat hot dog buns and top with all your favorite toppings, such as sauerkraut, relish, ketchup and mustard, for the ultimate barbecue meal.

Pizza Sliders

Pizza Sliders

Mini burgers make a fun, kid-friendly meal. Italian herbs, marinara and melty mozzarella give them the appeal of pizza.

Tortilla Pepperoni Pizza

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Tortilla Pepperoni Pizza

This easy pizza takes only 15 minutes from start to finish and uses simple ingredients you could find in your pantry. Tomato paste adds flavor without sogging out the crust. Skip the pepperoni for a vegetarian-friendly version, or add your own favorite toppings.

Turkey, Cheese & Veggie Plate

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Turkey, Cheese & Veggie Plate

This colorful picnic dinner idea features tasty munchies you don’t need utensils for and mild flavors that kids prefer, like deli meat, cheese and crunchy raw veggies. It’s easy to assemble this complete menu, and adults will enjoy it as much as the kids. The menu calls for store-bought hummus and cookies, but you can easily make them yourself (see Tips, below).

One-Pot Lemon-Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan

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One-Pot Lemon-Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan

This hearty pasta dish with bright, fresh flavor is ideal for busy weeknights. The Parmesan adds welcome saltiness and notes of umami and you get added texture from the slight crunch of broccoli and whole-wheat noodles. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp or crispy chickpeas to punch up the protein.

Skillet Caprese Chicken Casserole

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Skillet Caprese Chicken Casserole

This one-skillet dinner features the flavors of a summer caprese salad. Fresh tomatoes and basil are combined with chicken and pasta and cooked in a creamy sauce before being topped with a layer of melted mozzarella. A good-quality balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of fresh basil completes the dish.

Falafel

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Falafel

Tuck these tasty chickpea patties into whole-wheat pitas and top with tahini sauce. Be sure to soak the chickpeas overnight for the creamiest mixture. The quick-soak method won’t work for these pan-fried falafel patties.

Grilled Taco Pizza

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Grilled Taco Pizza

Grilling pizza mimics the rustic flavor of a wood-fired oven. It cooks fast, though, so make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go for speedy flipping and topping. For this grilled pizza recipe we’ve topped the pie with classic taco toppings, including beans and salsa. You can use this recipe as a template for how to grill pizza—just swap out the taco ingredients for your favorite toppings.

Air-Fryer Chicken Nuggets

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Air-Fryer Chicken Nuggets

These crispy air-fried chicken nuggets are a quick kid-friendly dinner that parents will love too. The homemade nuggets are healthier than fast-food versions—and more flavorful, thanks to the cornflake coating. You can also cut the chicken into strips for air-fryer chicken tenders. Be sure to cook those 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until done.

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