When it’s literally as hot as an oven outside, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the house. That’s why summer is the perfect time to use your creativity in the kitchen and find innovative ways to prepare meals without using your oven.
Here are some tips that will help you turn off the heat, save on energy, and still serve delicious, satisfying meals.
Dress up Salads
Who says salads can’t be a complete meal? Add healthy protein sources to round out your mealtime salad like store-bought rotisserie chicken (with the skin removed), canned light tuna in spring water, or sliced smoked salmon. Add plenty of steamed vegetables to your lettuce base like broccoli, green beans, or corn.
Not only are you adding more crunch but including a variety of vegetables in your salad brings a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Sprinkle on beans and fruit for even more color, creaminess or sweetness. Not a salad lover? Top your greens with one small “treat”, for example, I sprinkle just one crumbled, crisp slice of bacon on my healthy salads with low-fat dressing to entice the meat lover in my home to eat his salad! Works like a charm.
Sandwiches are not just for the kids’ lunch box anymore! Whether you opt for open-faced, triple-decker or stuffed, the possibilities are endless when creating these no-fuss, no-heat, hand-held meals. Pile high with grilled vegetables, but make it healthier by opting for whole-grain breads. Whole grain pitas are an excellent choice since they are lower in carbs and calories compared to traditional sandwich breads and easy to handle. Top your sandwiches with fat-free and heart-healthy salsa instead of reaching for the mayo. They moisten the bread without adding extra fat and loads of calories.
Hydrate and satiate at the same time. When it’s hot outside, a smoothie is a nutritious and delicious way to fill up! Smoothies are a great way to enjoy a fat breakfast or snack without cooking. Make a low-fat smoothie with fruits and low-fat dairy to score servings of the healthy foods you need without packing on fat and calories you’ll get from those iced gourmet coffee drinks.
Soft serve ice cream and frozen sweet treats are part of having fun in the summer sun! Take a break from the heat and treat yourself to low-fat and nutritious frozen yogurt, popsicles, or slushies but remember to check out the label first. Not only will you cool down, but you’ll satisfy that sweet tooth without doing damage to your bikini body! You can make your own slushies just by blending your favorite herbal tea with frozen berries.
Be a Veg Head this Summer
Many of my friends are curious about the vegetarian or plant-based diet. Why not try it on for size for just one week? No need to make drastic changes, just substitute more crisp fresh vegetables in place of beef or chicken you usually order or purchase. Add other protein sources, like nuts, low-fat dairy, and whole grains that will fill you up and add nutrition. Love pizza? Substitute sauteed red peppers for the pepperoni and ask for part-skim mozzarella.