We’re about in the throes of Summer now- is it hot enough for you yet???
One of the things I dislike the most about this season is having to cook. I sweat while cooking and I sweat while eating; can you relate to this? Thankfully, I’ve learned some tips and tricks to keep my kitchen and my family cool with my Summer meal prep. Here are some easy and frugal ways to meal prep in Summer for your family:
Use lots of cheap, in-season produce
Summer is one of the best seasons for fruits and vegetables- I can’t get enough of berries and zucchini! Take advantage when these items go on sale; buy a few pounds and wash/cut as needed for easy snacks or side items throughout the week.
Eating produce raw means you don’t have to heat up your kitchen! I love my roasted veggies, but I just can’t cook them more than once a week or so in Summer. Eat them with dips or in a big salad instead. Potatoes are the exception- raw potatoes just aren’t good.
Use no-cook proteins
When it gets too hot to cook, there’s nothing wrong with buying proteins that are already prepared and ready to eat! Canned tuna is awesome in tuna salad on sandwiches or crackers; and deli meat can be used in wraps, sandwiches/subs, or by itself in a snack dinner.
Rotisserie chicken is a good option, as well. You can buy a whole chicken for around 5 dollars or less and the shredded chicken can be used all week- on salads, in burritos, or this amazing chicken salad recipe!
Use cooking gadgets that don’t generate heat
If you do have to cook, try to use appliances that don’t heat up the whole house. I like using my slow cooker as a substitute for roasting vegetables or baking potatoes, as well as cooking chicken breasts if I don’t want to buy a whole chicken.
Use a rice cooker to make big batches of rice or quinoa to use throughout the week! And a toaster oven can be used for reheating pizza or as an alternative to grilled cheese- toasted cheese sandwiches are really good, too!
Make cold dips
Raw veggies are a good way to keep yourself cool in Summer, but I don’t like eating them plain. Use hummus (store-bought or homemade) or a sour cream/yogurt based dip to up the flavor. My current favorite is mixing plain nonfat Greek yogurt with a Hidden Valley Ranch packet- usually the Fiesta Ranch.
Eat cold breakfasts
One of my all-time favorite breakfasts is scrambled eggs with veggies, but sometimes it gets so hot I can’t handle eating heated-up foods. So in Summer, I focus on cold breakfasts:
- Overnight oats: Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats are my favorite! You can add any combination of chocolate, peanut butter/PB2, fruit, cinnamon, or yogurt so you can have something different every day.
- Yogurt parfaits: I usually use one cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, strawberries/blueberries, and some sort of granola- whether regular granola, homemade granola, cereal, or crumbled Belvita biscuits!
- Hard boiled eggs: I like making mine in the oven for an easy hands-off breakfast!
Do all cooking/baking in the early morning
If you must do any kind of cooking, try doing it all as early as possible before the sun gets too hot. I can’t go the entire summer without using my oven, so most of my muffin and pancake making is done before Allison wakes up. Make big batches if you can so you can freeze them for easy meals!
What other tips do you have for Summer meal prep? Share in the comments below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.