Summer Meal Ideas for the Ultimate Heat Waves
There’s nothing I love more than a hot Northeast summer. I know I’m crazy, but I love the heat which is one of the reasons I desire to move down south permanently one day.
However, as many of my family members noted, they do not like cooking in the summer heat at all. You should have heard my dad's groan when my mom and I mentioned making cookies the other day.
For me personally, and this reigns especially true for my immediate family as well, If I’m out in the sun working out all day I cannot handle heavy foods in the heat.
Summer meals don’t have to be complicated and honestly some of my favorite options are options that we tend to forget about when we get caught up in making fancier options. I know I fall guilty to this all the time especially when I’m stressed, hangry and tired. I know I tend to make some sad meal and than afterwards all the great ideas come flushing to me. Now I'll have this blog post to look back at for me and you.
Top 5 Summer Meal Ideas to incorporate during a Heat Waves
1. Pasta Salad
I love a good cold pasta salad in the summer. With all the fresh vegetables to choose from and a good dressing it’s a great option for lunches and dinners. Pasta Salads are also perfect for meal prepping in large batches to take leftovers for the week which eliminates more days of cooking for you. I love using Banza chickpea pasta, (you can pretty much find this brand in almost any grocery store now), for some extra protein or mixing the Banza pasta with a whole wheat pasta option. I tend to add a protein source which typically includes grilled shrimp or grilled chicken. Sometimes I’ll add fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan or string cheese as well to boost it up. My favorite vegetables to use here are bell peppers, black olives, cucumbers and grape or cherry tomatoes for optimum nutrition. Avocado is also a great additive to a pasta salad. The most important part in the pasta salad coming together for me is the dressing. I use Trader Joe’s green goddess dressing for everything. It is the absolute perfect light addition to this meal.
Note that once you cook the pasta you will want to store it in the fridge for optimum coldness before adding the remainder of the ingredients. If you forget to make it ahead of time and you are just too hungry to wait, you can rinse the pasta under cold water.
2. Grilled Protein Source with Grilled Vegetables
Ahh summer grilling.. Isn’t it the absolute best? I live for grilled foods and It’s ultimately one of my favorite things about summer. I love grilling turkey burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers, and fish in the summer. My all-time favorite is grilled swordfish which we tend to limit in my household because it does get expensive; but if you're looking for a cheaper way for these grilled protein sources I highly recommend buying a big bag from the freezer section at a wholesale club like BJ’s or Costco to save some money. It may not be as tasty as the fresh option, but it does serve as a great option and it is more convenient for the average person. Another one of my go-to quick options for freezer protein sources is Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is one of the cheaper grocery stores around and I live for the frozen turkey burgers, shrimp burgers and chili lime chicken burgers they have. I appreciate the limited ingredients and cleanliness of those ingredients. I also enjoy grilling vegetables to go along with my grilled protein option. Grilling the vegetables is also a nice change from raw vegetables which I tend to eat daily. Bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant are my go-to options. To avoid drying out the vegetables, I like to brush some of the Trader Joe’s green goddess dressing on my vegetables before placing them on the grill for added flavor.
3. Avocado Toast
I’m obsessed with avocado toast. It’s so simple and easy to make. Just grab your toast and an avocado, top it off with some tomatoes and Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning and you are all set. I could happily eat avocado toast for every meal. During my Disney College Program, I ate a bagel thin and avocado spread almost daily at one point during my shifts.
I have so many smoothie recipes after years of pretty much having a smoothie a day whenever possible. I tend to deal with having a very dry mouth, so smoothies are just extremely satisfying to me and are an easy way to get in nutrients. I always recommend adding some frozen fruit, a milk-base, (I use Iconic protein shakes as a base the majority of the time), greek yogurt and protein powder. Plus.. there’s nothing that screams summer more than sitting by the pool or on your porch with a smoothie in hand.
Sandwiches are so overlooked at as a great meal option. I love a good sandwich; I crave a good sandwich especially in the summer when you want something on the lighter side. The best thing is to keep variety in your sandwich/wrap options. My mom got me on a huge mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomato sandwich kick when I was younger. She always adds mayo to her sandwiches, however I add avocado to mine and it is one dreamy filling combination. Turkey and avocado sandwiches/wraps are another one of my absolute favorite combinations that always hit the spot for me.