a sample meal plan for summer


I regularly have people ask me how I plan our family meals, and also how I include the kids in the kitchen. I’ve been working on a small upcoming project regarding this topic, which I’ll have more on soon, but for now, I thought I’d share a sample meal plan from our summer table, as it can be helpful for me to peek in on what others are doing when I’m in a rut. As for recipe books, I’ve been mostly using Clean Slate––which I love for the juice/smoothie recipes, educational front matter on clean eating, and detox plans for when for my system feels inflamed (often after summer vacations)––and It’s All Easy––because I am an unabashed GP fan and I love recipes that sound fancier than they are, such as cauliflower tabbouleh, zuni sheet pan chicken, and Bo Bun salad.

Between May and October, our family almost exclusively grills meat, saving the cool air and energy indoors. We still enjoy weekly pancakes on the griddle each Sunday morning and the occasional roasted vegetables with dinner, but more often we eat our veggies raw and varied in these hot months––chopped, spiraled, sliced, minced, or even whole. I find the varied presentation helps disguise their simple nature and also the feeling of redundancy, “carrots for snack again?” Slice or chop them differently, and you may never notice.

Summer produce is my favorite for three reasons: peaches, watermelon, and berries. These fruit naturally end up on our weekly menu in any manner until the season’s end. For simplicity right now, dinner is the only planned meal. Breakfast and lunch are an assortment each family member chooses from at will. We encourage taking only what you’ll finish, and always being considerate of others if you’re about to finish something off. I’m fairly certain years of making morning eggs has burned us out a bit, and no one seems to complain when they are gone for the week. Wink.  Dinner is specifically planned each night, and on the best nights, there’s leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day. I sometimes shift evening meals around when unexpected things occur in a week (which they almost always do), so it’s nice to have a solid crockpot choice (shredded BBQ chicken for us this week) or an accessible main course for last minute meals. I often have frozen chicken breast or tilapia in the freezer for this reason. One easily grills and the other quickly thaws when I’m in a pinch. For those who are interested, here’s this week’s menu:



eggs with mixed greens and berries

red or green juice

cereal/oatmeal with berries

fruit + yogurt


dinner leftovers

lunch meat or hard-boiled eggs

spinach salad with veggies

chips + fresh fruit

• dinner

 grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella, served with roasted green beans and asparagus

grilled chicken breast, served with lemon and herb pasta with cherry tomatoes

street tacos, a weekly community meal with friends

shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches, served with jalapeño coleslaw and mixed salad greens

Bo Bun Vietnamese salad with grilled shrimp

grilled salmon, served with cauliflower tabbouleh

one family eat out night

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  1. Please keep the meal plans coming! That inspired me so much. I bought The Clean Slate. I am hoping it will inspire me too! Blessing to you and your family.

  2. thank you for this. I loved GP’s i’ts all good but have been wondering if I should go ahead and get this one. I flipped through it at target but when I went back it was all gone. thanks for this plan. meal planning is so hard for me. I don’t know why because I like to eat and I think we have a pretty well-stocked pantry but my follow-through has been lacking. anyways, thank’s for the gentle push.

  3. I would love to hear more about the street taco night! Working on being more intentional in establishing community..

  4. I had barely used my clean slate & just last week flipped through it and did two of the simplest things — the coconut water popsicles (mango, kiwi, cocounut water & a bit of honey) and the frozen grapes and kiwi (literally just that) and they truly made ALL the difference in this heat with two little girls!! they got us through the long, sweltering afternoons — i’m about to restock! frozen kiwi was a total game changer for me.
    i just adore your blog and look forward to every post — your intention, thoughtfulness and genuine heart shine so brightly!

  5. I just got It’s All Easy at the library and am cooking practically everything from it! And since reading this, I’m adding Clean Slate. Thanks for sharing your menu- it’s a similar style to mine, although my littles still need help for all meals.

    1. Author

      We’ve only in recent years moved into independent meal-making. I’m including them on all evening meal prep and making so that one day, I can step out of that on occasion, too. Clean Slate is exactly what is sounds like, a fresh start with lots of clean meal inspiration. I sometimes add more spice to the recipes though. I hope you enjoy.

  6. love to hear i’m not alone in the eat on your own for b-fast and lunch- too much to plan one thing for everyone, and everyone is up at a different time it seems in summer. cereal or yogurt for us, then sandwiches/ salad or eat out for lunch, and a yummy protein for dinner (most nights!) we try to eat out one nice meal per weekend and in summer a few quick lunches out with mommy during the week to help out :)

    1. Author

      I’d love to move to the place where I can lunch out with my children individually. How special! During the school year, we have family breakfast and my children help there, too, but in the summer, meals need to be more relaxed. We all sort of crave the downshift.

      1. one thing about summer is that it must be SIMPLE. you can’t deal the summer heat without simplicity around… at least my experience ;) grilling is great! though yesterday dinner was blout out with a storm! I ended the chicken on the presto cooker (which is also a great tool for expresso meals giving tender meat!)!! I’m curious about the morning breakfast during school time. I like the idea of gathering together at the breakfast table and then move on to learning, but how do you deal with the logistic of it, the cleaning after breakfast, etc. How or when do you do it?? Enjoy your summer Bethany!

  7. Love the idea of planning dinners and letting everyone help themselves to breakfast and lunch options. My little ones are too little to help themselves yet :) but we’ll be there before too long!
    I admit: I am a GP fan too, although she does crack me up with all of her casual references to ingredients that sound like they came from unicorns. The Amazon reviews of that cookbook made for some afternoon laughs ;).
    Love your site/photos/heart for homeschooling!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much, Jenn. And I’m sure the It’s All Easy reviews are hilarious, mostly because she chose the word “easy” when she has a page-long list of the team that helped cook/style/supply everything in the back. Yes, I take everything GP says with a grain of salt; naturally, she seems to be out of touch with the everywoman budget and lifestyle. BUT she has amazing style, and I adore her just the same. ;)

  8. It all sounds so good! I’d love the recipe for the cauliflower tabbouleh and the stuffed pork tenderloin!

    1. Author

      The cauliflower tabbouleh is in GP’s latest book, and I’m trying it for the first time tonight! The stuffed pork, I improvised on an old recipe, and it was so good. I’ll make it again and take better notes to share.

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