Summer Meals Made Easy

Well, summer is here! Unfortunately, with the warmer weather comes the added heat in the kitchen. Cooking in the summer months may not be appealing to most (unless you are one of the fortunate ones that have air conditioning). Here are some ways to make summer cooking more enjoyable…

BBQ
The barbecue is a great warm weather cooker. Being able to grill your meat is a nice change when the weather warms up. However, the barbecue is not only for meat. This summer, try adding to your grill choices: fish, a variety of fruit (apples, bananas, peaches, pears, pineapple), pizza, tofu and a variety of vegetables (carrots, corn, peppers, potatoes, zucchini).

Big Batch Cooking
I’ve talked about this before when needing quick meals during busy times, and it works great for hot summer days as well. If you can cook bigger batches of meals before the summer hits great! If not, try doing it on cooler or rainy days. Make extras of casseroles, chili, meat, soups and stews and freeze. These items can then be taken out and reheated on days when it’s too hot to cook.

Convenience Foods
When grocery shopping, look for healthy convenience foods that will make preparing supper quicker and easier on hot summer days. Look for things such as:
• Canned beans and legumes that can be used to make a simple salad
• Canned fruit for a fruit salad
• Canned fish for salads or sandwiches
• Frozen fruit or vegetables that can be quickly steamed or used in a smoothie
• Frozen whole grain bread that can be heated on the barbecue
• Healthy, hearty canned soups (preferably low in salt)
• Ready-to-eat vegetables and salads
• Shredded cheese for pasta, pizza, salad or wraps

Slow Cooker
Although most people associate slow cookers with fall and winter meals, they are always great for quick and easy meals any time of the year. The slow cooker gives off less heat than the oven, which is exactly what you want in the summer.

Take-out meals can be convenient on hot days but is not the healthiest choice. Hopefully these tips can help you cook some healthy meals, and still keep you cool during the summer months.

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!