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Summer vacation (or staycation, as the case may be this year) is over, but it’s not time to put away the grill just yet. These end-of-summer BBQ meal ideas work perfectly as school lunch too, so you can ease everyone into the transition to fall.

School may be back in session for students across the country, but that doesn’t mean BBQ season is automatically over too. And since back-to-school days are especially hectic, easy-to-make and easy-to-clean-up BBQ meals are always a good thing. Plus, there’s the fun factor—kids enjoy a BBQ and to eat outdoors. And if the temperature is still warm outside, turning on an oven is completely unnecessary.

Related Reading: Back to School Brain Food for Your Kids’ Lunch Boxes

We put our thinking caps on to offer these unique and creative weeknight grill recipes (translation: no hot dogs). Make these for dinner and do extra so you can pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day, or make something else plus these specifically for school (in case your kids simply refuse leftovers).

Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza recipe

Chowhound

Pizza on the grill is a healthy option that beats delivery any day. It’s a high-fiver for hungry kids and is also an easy meal for time-crunched parents. Play with toppings by adding meat and vegetables to get a complete meal. Some kids might quibble with cold pizza, but if yours knows that there’s a certain beauty to it, they’ll be happy to find these in their lunch box too. And if they’re still schooling at home, you can reheat it, of course. Get the Grilled Pizza recipe.

Related Reading: Light & Fresh Vegetarian Grilled Pizza Recipes for Summer

Burgers

Mushroom Turkey Burger recipe

Chowhound

Of course, burgers are a no-brainer, but a new school year calls for a new perspective. Why not switch things up and graduate from beef burgers? These avocado chicken burgers are an excellent alternative. They’ve got hidden vegetables for the finicky eater and healthy fats from an avocado mayonnaise—a filling and healthy dinner to cap off the end of a busy day and usher in a night of homework. For lunch, send them as a topping for salad or just cut into small pieces as part of a bento-style lunch box. Get the Spinach Avocado Chicken Burger recipe.

Related Reading: 21 Leftover Hamburger Recipes So Good You’ll Always Make Extra

Mini Meatloaf

Mini Turkey Meatloaf recipe

Chowhound

Turkey meatloaf is a healthy alternative to beef and mini loaves are ideal for the younger kids in the family. And yes, you can make these mini turkey meatloaves right on the grill. This recipe is intended to be an appetizer for a dinner party but they work flawlessly as kid-friendly dinner. The best part—there are even vegetables in the loaf (peppers and corn). Send these to school as you would the burgers above. Get the Grilled Turkey Mini Meatloaf recipe.

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Meat and Vegetable Skewers


No matter how you skew it, chicken, shrimp, or vegetable skewers are kid-pleasers. A skewer makes mealtime interactive and, as a result, more entertaining (though the littlest of eaters probably shouldn’t be messing with sharp skewers). For mom and dad, dinner is easy as dicing and threading the skewer and throwing it on the grill. You can also kill two birds with one skewer—alternate the meat or fish with a vegetable and you’ll have colorful eye candy that packs a lot of nutrients. Looking for leftovers? Repurpose the dish by using the cubes of meat and veggies over a bed of rice or quinoa. Check out these recipes, skewed just for kids.

Related Reading: 11 Healthy Grilled Chicken Recipes in Under 30 Minutes

Grilled Fruit

grilled nectarine crumble

Chowhound

Skip a sugary dessert and go for grilled fruit. “My favorite thing to grill for kids is fruit,” says Lara Lyn Carter, Emmy award-winning TV host, chef, and cookbook author. “It is a great alternative to a high-sugar dessert. Peaches, pineapple, plums, bananas—there are so many fruits that are perfect for grilling.” Check out Carter’s recipe for Grilled Peaches here and our Grilled Nectarine Crumble recipe. Repurpose extra grilled fruit into a fruit salad for a sweet lunch box treat, or even use it in place of jam or jelly in a classic PB&J.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Summer Stone Fruit Guide

Everything Else You Need to Know

How to Make Back-to-School Season as Smooth as Possible

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