Hot summer days call for a new approach to meal prep.
“When it’s hot out, the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven,” says Julie Andrews, RD, an Appleton, Wisconsin–based food and nutrition consultant. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can whip up a refreshing and often nutritious snack or meal without using any heat. “No-cook recipes like chicken salad, smoothies, tuna-stuffed avocados, and salads are super popular in the summer for this very reason,” Andrews says.
Get creative with your no-cook summer recipes. Try lettuce wraps in place of toasted bread for sandwiches; experiment with different fruits, nuts, and seeds to keep salads feeling fresh; and turn frozen fruit into a dessert (more on this in a bit).
To make things easier for yourself, Sarah Mirkin, RD, who’s based in Beverly Hills, California, recommends buying precooked beans, legumes, eggs, and meats (think: tuna and salmon packets, precooked shrimp, and deli meats) whenever possible. “It’s so easy to throw a tuna or salmon packet over a salad,” she says.
Just keep in mind that because they’re precooked and have a longer shelf life than fresh foods, they may contain relatively more sodium (along with other preservatives). Eating too much sodium can contribute to heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The remedy: Pay attention to labels listing nutrition facts. For most adults,