I get it. Right now, if you live anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line, it’s probably so hot outside that you are sequestered in either your cubicle or your sofa, with your personal mini-fan blasting on high, avoiding a heat stroke and dreaming about the time when you could walk from your front door to your car without breaking a sweat.
I’ve been there. In fact, I am literally, currently there, sitting here on my sofa in Nashville wondering what on earth I am going to cook up for dinner that doesn’t involve turning on anything that produces heat – or requires energy of any sort.
And from what I’ve learned about eating during summer is that God actually planned this whole thing out. That’s right, the Creator of the universe had a plan in mind with the seasons. (That’s right, unlike me, He planned ahead!!)
Just like it’s true with our own lives- there are seasons for feasting, seasons for fasting, seasons for celebrating, and seasons for pushing through to our seasons to come- God realized that summer would be hot. And we would sweat. And that heat was good for produce and actually creates some of the freshest, most vibrant flavors in fruits and veg that you don’t have to always cook. And in fact, that blazing heat can bring some of the best meals you will have all year right to your table- even when you are suffering from the lack of cool breezes.
It reminds me of the Scripture that says Jesus “sets a table before us in front of our enemies.” He’s inviting us to sit and rest and eat with Him- even when it’s 90+ plus outside, and our enemy humidity is raging outside our doors.
So if you are like me, and desperately need some ideas on how to eat when it’s so hot outside turning on your oven sounds about as positive as joining Fight Club – here is your top 5 list on ways to eat in summer.
1. Eat RAW.
One time my husband and I decided to go on a raw food diet in January. That’s right- in the coldest of months, and when the least amount of fresh fruits and veggies was available, we thought it would be smart to eat cold spinach 24/7. NO thank you! The cool thing about summer is it gives you some flexibility to try out new raw, veggie-centric dishes in a non-threatening, and FUN way. Try out a new smoothie recipe, or a dip with fresh veggies, or a crazy creative salad. Bonus points for any fruits or veggies (like sugar snap peas, apples, lettuce, watermelon and cucumber) that are full of water for extra refreshment!
2. Eat COLD.
One of my favorite things about summer is all of the fruits you can freeze and eat. Try cutting watermelon into sticks, then placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and putting them into the freezer for a few hours. Voila- watermelon popsicles! You can do the same things with grapes. Or, try blending up a smoothie or juice and pouring it into popsicle molds to freeze. You could even organize your frozen fruits in individual bags to make smoothies. Cool-down treats- here we come!
3. Eat SPICY.
So, sweating actually has a biological purpose- it helps your body cool off! And the same idea applies to eating (and is wayyy more fun than running on that steamy pavement). Try a cold, spicy noodle salad, or add Sriracha to leftover meat, cheese and fresh veggies rolled into a whole wheat tortilla. You could even add some cinnamon or a bit of chili powder to frozen dessert, like chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt. Fight back with the spice!
4. Eat frozen COOKIE DOUGH.
There is nothing better on a hot summer day than a cold, creamy dessert. And one of my favorite recent ways to do this is to make frozen “cookie dough” with protein powder and almond milk. Just add ⅓ cup almond milk to a serving of protein powder, stir until it reaches that “dough” consistency, and add in whatever you want to flavor your dough- chopped dark chocolate, cacao nibs, dried fruit, or diced protein bar. Add coarse salt or extra cacao for flavor. Then cover your dough, put it in the
freezer for an hour or two, and dig in!
5. Eat SALAD.
Now, I know this last one seems wayyyy boring, but I’m not talking about your typical iceburg wedge. I’m saying to use cold ingredients as your base to create your own version of salad. In fact, get your kids in the mix and let them build their own! Start with leftover rice, or noodles, or quinoa, add in some fresh summer veggies (or veggie noodles like zucchini noodles), a protein (like leftover meat from your grill party, or chicken fingers, or black beans) something crunchy (like nuts, seeds, tortilla chips) and dressing (as simple as olive oil + lemon juice), and voila! Toss that bad boy up and be proud that you have officially conquered summer. Now let’s eat!
And when in doubt, check out my YouTube channel for these dairy-free coconut cream “ice cream” sandwiches!