No matter the time of year (though especially in the summer!), there are nights when you just really don’t want to cook. And luckily, we don’t have to! Enter: This big list of easy no-cook meals that are quick and easy to make and serve to everyone in the house.
Having a list of go-to meals that don’t require any cooking can be a key for serving up healthy family dinners even when you’re busy. I find myself needing to draw on this list when we have a lot of evening activities or on the weekend when I’m tired from cooking (and life!) all week.
There’s a variety of levels of effort in these ideas, so see what you think will work in your house the next time you don’t want to cook—but still want to use up the food you may have at home.
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.
Easy Snack Dinner (to Share with the Kids!) You can do a big family-style platter or individual ones for the kids depending on your preference. Add anything else that sounds appealing and know that the nutrition info will vary according to what you use. Get the recipe
Hummus Sandwich or Wrap
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.
Easy Hummus Wrap (to Share with the Kids) Quickly combine a few simple ingredients to make a really yummy lunch wrap. This recipe makes one wrap, so increase the serving size as necessary. Get the recipe
Easy Turkey Wrap
Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It’s a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. Win!
Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe (to Share with the Kids) Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It’s a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. This makes one wrap, so scale up as desired. Get the recipe
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.
How to Make Kids Salad (They’ll Actually Want to Eat) Here’s a look at basic templates for making kid-friendly salads. Pick and choose the ingredients you like! (Nutrition info will vary according to the ingredients you use.) Get the recipe
Fruit Salsa with Black Beans and Plantain Chips
Pair an easy fruit salsa with beans and rice or plantain chips for a delish meal to share.
Easy Fruit Salsa You can vary the berries in this recipe by subbing in blueberries for the strawberries if desired. And change the color of tomato if that matters to your kids. Get the recipe
Whole Grain Cereal with Fruit and Milk
You can’t tell me that you didn’t love eating cereal for dinner when you were a kid!
Stir together some oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit for this easy breakfast-for-dinner idea.
Favorite Strawberry Overnight Oats This recipe makes enough for one adult or for one adult and one small child serving. It’s easy to double, so make more as needed! Get the recipe
Peanut Butter Toast with Fruit
This is so simple, but so easy. (You could even do this for the kids and order takeout for yourself after they go to bed!)
This is a really fun (and fast) breakfast or lunch (or dinner!) idea. I like to put out little bowls of toppings and let the kids help themselves.
Berry Banana Smoothie Bowls (Kid-Friendly) These are deliberately thick so that they’re easy to eat with a spoon. Vary the toppings as you like! Get the recipe
Wild Salmon Salad with Crackers
This lasts for a few days in the fridge and is rich in good fats and high in protein.
Favorite Salmon Salad Sandwich This salmon salad is packed with protein, healthy fats, and calcium and can be used as a dip or a spread for sandwiches. We use homemade relish in this recipe, but you can use any that you like the flavor of. Get the recipe
Simple Green Smoothie
Serve this spinach and fruit smoothie with crackers, dry cereal, or even a cheese sandwich.
Simple Green Smoothie Frozen bananas give the smoothie a creamy, naturally sweet base, though you can make this with a fresh banana as long as the other fruit is frozen. It’s easy to add whatever berries or fruit you have on hand, so customize it for your kiddo. Get the recipe
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!)
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.
Easy Peanut Sauce This makes enough for 12-16 ounces of noodles, or enough for 1-2 meals as a sauce over grains or protein for a family of 4. Get the recipe
Tortilla Roll Up
Spread mashed beans, 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.
Refried Bean Taco Roll Ups This makes 6 rolled up tacos, so you can adjust this as needed for your family. Taste the refried beans before you make the roll ups and adjust the salt and/or cumin if needed. You can also serve the ingredients in separate bowls and let your family serve themselves. Get the recipe
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!)
Easy Avocado Puree This easy baby food is rich in healthy fats, super smooth, and has a mellow flavor. This is a great puree to make when you’re eating something like tacos so you can have some, too! Get the recipe
DIY Trail Mix with Smoothies
Assemble a kid-safe trail mix and pair with a smoothie for an easy meal.
Master Trail Mix Recipe Mix and match ingredients to customize this mix for your kids. Get the recipe
Mango Overnight Oats
This would make a wonderfully refreshing dinner after a long afternoon at the pool!
Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt and Mango You can blend all the ingredients together to make a more uniformly smooth texture if your toddler (or you!) prefer. Get the recipe
Strawberry Milk and Sandwich
Try this with a simple cheese or hummus sandwich for a refreshing take on regular milk that sneaks in a serving of fruit.
Favorite Strawberry Milk Creamy and delicious, you can make this with fresh strawberries or freeze-dried ones. The version with freeze-dried berries tastes more similar to store-bought strawberry milk; the one with fresh berries tastes more like fresh strawberries! Get the recipe
Homemade Granola Bar with Cheese and Fruit
You can make those bars anytime and stash them in the fridge or freezer.
Easy Homemade Granola Bars We like to have these granola bars as a snack or toddler breakfast with milk or a smoothie—and they’re an excellent lunch box component too. You can make them plain or choose a flavor to add! Get the recipe
Green Smoothie Pops and Crackers
With dry cereal, crackers, or some toast, this is an ideal warm-day dinner.
Green Smoothie Freezer Pops If you want to make more pops, simply double the recipe! If you have a toddler who’s super sensitive to textures, use mango instead of kiwi for extra creamy results. Get the recipe
Strawberry Smoothie with Whole Grain Crackers
Blend a quick smoothie to serve with crackers or a muffin.
Strawberry Smoothie with Yogurt You can use fresh or frozen berries in this simple Strawberry Smoothie and the results will have a texture that is similar to drinkable yogurt. To make it thicker and to try different flavor options, see the Notes at the end of the recipe. Get the recipe
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.
Favorite Yogurt Dip for Fruit You can stir together this 3-ingredient Yogurt Dip for fruit in about a minute, then serve up a fruit plate with extra flavor. Try this with any fruit the kids like, or even with graham crackers, toast sticks, or cut up waffles. Get the recipe
Sandwich Roll Up
Transform a basic sandwich into a super fun Sandwich Roll-Up with a simple method anyone can do. This works with a variety of fillings and can be served at home or packed for school lunch. It’s an easy option to have in the kids lunch mix!
Quick Sandwich Roll Ups (2-Minute School Lunch) Pair a soft sandwich bread with your filling of choice to make this easy toddler lunch or school lunch. You can even make them the night before. Get the recipe
Banana Sushi is a seriously fun and fast lunch for kids—or meal for any time of the day—that’s filling and satisfying, too. Plus: You need only three nutritious ingredients to make this for the kids and they take less than 5 minutes to make Win, win!
Banana Sushi (3-Ingredient Kids Lunch) Banana Sushi is a seriously fun and fast lunch for kids—that’s filling too! Plus: You only need three nutritious ingredients to make this lunch. Get the recipe
Best Tips for Succss
- Aim for 2-3 different food groups and don’t worry so much if it’s sometimes a random mix of foods.
- Start with small portions to keep food waste in check and allow more according to the hunger of the kids.
- Use breakfast ideas for other meals if that makes it easier for you to get a meal on the table.
- Check out Shortcut Meals for more ideas.