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Food has a remarkable way of bringing people together, especially in youth group meetings. While it’s true that junior and senior high students have a special affinity for eating, the real magic lies in the connections it fosters among them.

Our youth group’s mealtimes are perfect for new and old friends to come together. Around the table, they share stories of their day, discuss their week, proudly display photos from their cell phones, exchange thoughts on upcoming class projects, and, most importantly, build genuine relationships. Laughter, jokes, plans, and shared life experiences are all part of the package.

Back when our group was small, providing meals was a straightforward task. I could pick something up, or a generous parent could bring a meal for the evening. However, as our group expanded, we embraced a more organized approach. Cooking teams of 2-3 individuals now prepare and serve meals. One common question during meal planning is, “What do the youth like to eat?”

So here are 10 suggestions for youth group meals that are easy to fix and aren’t pizza.

Pancake Breakfast Buffet:

Pancake mix (you can prepare a variety, including regular, chocolate chip, and blueberry)
Maple syrup, butter, and whipped cream
Assorted toppings: Sliced bananas, strawberries, chocolate chips, and chopped nuts
Crispy bacon or vegetarian sausage patties
Scrambled eggs
Fresh fruit salad

Dessert options: Mini cinnamon rolls or fruit-filled crepes

Penne Pasta with Alfredo Sauce Feast:

Penne pasta
Jar of Alfredo sauce
Fresh green salad with assorted vegetables
Fresh fruit salad

Dessert options: Brownies, ice cream, or fruit tarts

Baked Potato Extravaganza:

Russet or sweet potatoes
Toppings: Butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, shredded cheese

Dessert options: Warm apple crisp or chocolate lava cake

Sandwich and Snack Platter:

Assorted bread (white, wheat, and rolls)
Deli meats (turkey, ham, roast beef)
Cheese slices
Condiments (mayonnaise, mustard)
Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions
Chips and a variety of dips (salsa, guacamole)
Fresh fruit skewers

Dessert options: Cookie assortment or mini cheesecakes

 

Chicken Spaghetti Delight:

Chicken breasts or tenderloins
Spaghetti pasta
Tomato-based pasta sauce
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Fresh green salad with vinaigrette dressing
Fresh fruit medley

Dessert options: Tiramisu or chocolate mousse

 

Hearty Chili Fiesta:

Ground beef or meatless substitute
Canned chili or homemade chili
Fritos or tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Fresh green salad with ranch dressing
Fresh fruit platter

Dessert options: Warm cinnamon rolls or apple turnovers

 

Sloppy Joes or BBQ Bash:

Sloppy Joes: Ground beef, buns, and Sloppy Joe sauce OR BBQ: Pulled pork or chicken, buns, BBQ sauce
Coleslaw
Sliced pickles
Fresh fruit salad

Dessert options: Banana pudding or peach cobbler

 

Taco Pile-Up Fiesta:

Taco shells or tortillas
Ground beef or turkey
Toppings: Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole
Tortilla chips
Fresh fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar chips

Dessert options: Churros or tres leches cake

 

Frozen Lasagna Night:

Frozen lasagna from Sam’s Club
Garlic bread or rolls
Fresh Caesar salad
Fresh fruit platter

Dessert options: Italian gelato or tiramisu

 

Build-Your-Own Burrito Bowl Bonanza:

Rice and black beans
Grilled chicken or tofu
Toppings: Shredded cheese, diced onions, cilantro, salsa, guacamole
Tortilla chips
Fresh fruit platter

Dessert options: Churros or cinnamon sugar nachos

 

Those are some of our options for easy youth group meals, but I know you could add so many more. Share your easy youth group meals in the comments below, and maybe we’ll add them to a future post for everyone to enjoy!
Russell Martin

Russell Martin

Author

Russell Martin is the Senior Pastor at Lake Houston UMC and the co-host of the Student Ministry Conversations Podcast. He is a gifted communicator and loves talking with and coaching student pastors through the many challenging aspects of ministry. He loves music, the Astros, listening to other podcasts, cooking and growing plants in his own garden.

 

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