12 Cooking Hacks to Help Busy Parents Survive the End of Summer

Photo Modified: Flickr / Le living and co / CC BY 4.0

12 Cooking Hacks to Help Busy Parents Survive the End of Summer


We’ve rounded up our favorite picks for cooking hacks that will entertain your kids throughout the day. For those picky eaters, these cooking tips will add just enough fun to keep them engaged. If you have a precocious “foodie” in your house, these tricks will impress even the most scrutinizing eye. From kid-friendly presentations to travel-friendly recipes, our cooking hacks guide for parents will provide all the inspiration you need to go from humble parent to kid-friendly culinary artist.

Brown-be-Gone Apples Slices


Nothing is worse than thinking you’ve packed a healthy snack for your child, only to reach into the bag to find brown, yucky apples. Next time, after you slice your apple, soak the slices in a solution of lemon juice and water. When you are ready to pack the slices, store them in an airtight plastic zip bag. 

Cookie Cutters for Crazy Shaped Foods

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Use a cookie cutter to remove the crusts from sandwiches — it’s even faster than using a knife, and much more fun. If you have metal cookie cutters, repurpose them on the griddle to make animal-shaped pancakes or heart-shaped fried eggs.

Cupcake Liner for a Simple Popsicle Drip Guard

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No one like sticky hands. Keep your kids clean as they eat their favorite sweet frozen treat on a stick. Simply take a cupcake liner, puncture a hole in the center, and slide it onto your child’s Popsicle stick.

Freeze Yogurt for Ice Pops


For a more nutritious take on an ice pop, simply pull the top off your child’s favorite single-serve yogurt, insert a Popsicle stick, throw it in the freezer until solid, then cut away the container before eating. Your kids will love this frozen yogurt treat on a stick.

Ice Cube Tray for a Snack Tray

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Kids are known to complain about different foods touching on their plates. Solve this problem by portioning their well-balanced snacks in an ice cube trays. 

Meals in Mugs

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Just mug it! When you are in a rush, meals in mugs are a fun way and easy ways to feed your kids. From macaroni and cheese to microwave-cake desserts, kids will love the easy-to-hold container, and you will love this simple mealtime solution.

Muffins for Lunch


There are so many recipes out there for grab-and-go muffin meals. Pizza muffins, macaroni and cheese muffins, and even cheesy chicken muffins will make those meals on the run that much easier for you.

Pizza Cutter for Bite-Sized Snacks

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Pizza wheels seem like a single-use tool, but trade in that knife for the wheel and you can turn anything into a bite-sized snack in seconds. Slice up pancakes in the morning or turn a grilled cheese into a bite-sized pre-meal snack that is perfect for those tiny mouths you have to feed.

Sheet Trays Instead of a Panini Press

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If you have an army of little ones that you want to feed fast, use two sheet trays as a makeshift panini press in the oven. Lightly grease both sheet trays, then press the sandwiches in between them in a 350 F degree oven. Instead of flipping and grilling each sandwich individually, you can make a half dozen in the same amount of time.

Slow Cooker for an Easy Breakfast

When you know you have a busy morning ahead of you, but you want to make sure your child starts the day off right, set up the slow cooker the night before with nutritious steel-cut oatmeal or slow-cooker French toast.

Waffle Iron for More Than Waffles

Try using the easy-to-clean waffle iron for more than just waffles. Use this seemingly single-use iron to quickly griddle hash browns or brownies that your kids will love.

Watermelon Sticks


This might be the simplest kid-friendly snack hack of all time. Just slice a watermelon in half, then slice width-wise and length-wise. Once you’ve followed those simple steps, pull out the watermelon sticks — they’ll be the perfect size for those tiny hands to hold.