Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
What to Eat When It’s Too Hot To Cook
When there are mouths to feed and it’s sweltering outside, the last thing you want to do is preheat an oven and monitor hot pots and pans.
Even with the A/C blasting inside, most of us lose our motivation for cooking elaborate meals in the summer, whether due to sluggishness resulting from the heat and humidity, or the opposite—because who wants to be inside cooking when all the fun is outside!
You don’t have to get stuck in the rut of going through the same rotation of recipes all year round. In fact, you should give yourself a summer break from the usual mealtime routines in favor of going with the flow and not overthinking it.
Here are a few tips for how to stay nourished and fueled when it’s too hot to cook.
Prep ahead of time
Nutritious foods are in full bloom during summer, offering incredible diversity in textures and flavors along with all the macronutrients your body craves, including lean protein, healthy fat and energizing carbohydrate. And they can be prepped in advance for when you and the gang are ready to eat.
Foods such as beans and legumes, rice and quinoa, and greens, veggies and fruit can all be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated. For ready-to-eat protein, make a batch of hard-boiled eggs, peel when cool and refrigerate. And they’re delicious heated or chilled.
Yogurt bowls and fruit parfaits make the perfect ready-made breakfast, snack or dessert. Use small cups or bowls to prepare them in advance. And when you’re ready to eat, add dry toppings for crunch. Here’s a recipe for our fruity and flavorful Summer Collagen Yogurt Bowl, packed with collagen and black currant antioxidants.
Grill in bulk
You’re going to grill. So why not make an extra couple of steaks or chicken breasts to be cubed or sliced tomorrow? The time you spend prepping and grilling doesn’t increase by much when you make a little extra, but the time you’ll save preparing your next meal is significant. So use the time for fun instead!
Dietary protein is necessary for your body to produce collagen, the scaffold of connective tissue, such as skin, muscles, joints and bones. Protein, is broken down into amino acid building blocks used to activate collagen synthesis. And considering that the average person loses about 1-2% of lean muscle every year after age 35, you need all the protein you can get.
Easily add 20 grams of protein and collagen into your day with our original collagen powder packed with two powerful sources of collagen.
Lettuce wrap it
From red leaf to romaine to butter leaf lettuce, it greens galore in the kitchen. Crispy, wide lettuce leaves make mealtime feel festive, and they make light and refreshing taco shells to hold any combination of foods and sauces.
Not only does lettuce supply filling fiber, the darker varieties are also rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamin C to support a healthy immune system and support collagen production, and minerals, including calcium, for strong bones.
Dine tapas style
Spanish for appetizers, snacks or small meals, tapas make mealtime both fun and easy. Because you can sample a little bit of everything and don’t have to worry about whether the dishes “go together”, you’re not constrained by any rules. In fact, that’s what makes tapas-style meals so great!
Set out whatever prepared meals you have on-hand to prevent wasting leftovers, then supplement them with other simple dishes, such as a cheese, hummus and crackers platter with rolled-up, uncured cold cuts, a cool salad and cut-up fruit.
It’s like having a picnic inside without having to turn on your oven!