A Make-Ahead Weekend Lunch Menu

Spend more time in the sun or sand with time-saving tips for serving lunch when hosting weekend guests
Family meal

Family meal

When you’re on vacation and enjoying the sun, surf, or sand, spending your mornings making lunch for the family (and clean it up) only to turn around and do the same thing again five hours later for dinner is low on a parent’s agenda. But picking up sandwiches at the nearby deli becomes tiresome (and costly), especially when you have young kids in tow.

To give you a hand this summer, we’ve come up with an easy and delicious menu that is both nutritious and can be prepped in advance, saving you time in the kitchen — and leaving you more time to enjoy the outdoors with your family.


Mixed Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Instead of filling up on chips before lunch, set out this healthy fruit salsa with baked cinnamon chips to quell hungry appetites while lunch is set up. While the chips can be made up to four days in advance (and kept well-sealed so they stay crisp), mix up the salsa the day before.



Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

This Mediterranean spread, known as muhummara, is slightly sweet, smoky, and nutty, perfect to serve the adults with spears of endive as a pre-lunch snack. Make a big batch on Wednesday to last you through the weekend.


Cranberry-Apple Tuna Salad

The lunchbox favorite is updated with the addition of slightly-tart cranberries and crunchy pieces of apple. Make the salad a day or two in advance, and then serve it along with cut halves of fresh pitas so guests can stuff (or not stuff, if they wish) their own sandwiches.


Caesar Salad

When it comes to getting your kids to eat their vegetables, a crisp Caesar salad studded with toasted croutons is often the first kind of salad they will enjoy. Serve them crisp chunks of romaine along with mini bowls of dressing for dipping. For the adults, simply toss the remaining greens and croutons in a bowl and serve the salad family style. Just be sure to make your croutons a couple of days in advance (and store in an airtight container) to save you time.


Seven-Layer Bars

A little sweet treat after lunch is something everyone looks forward to. Sweet, chocolaty, and nutty, these bars are easy to make with your kids before the weekend begins. While one batch makes 36 bars, don’t expect for there to be leftovers come Sunday afternoon — they’re that good.