I am all for keeping it simple when it comes to cooking during the hot summer months. With the sunny and long days, I like to keep it cool in the house and do as little as possible while still creating great meals for everyone.
This means a lot of preparation ahead of time and making healthy snack and meal options readily available.
I know me. I used to think that when lunch rolled around that both of my girls would sit quietly and colour while I toiled away in the kitchen making an amazing meal.
The truth is, lunch time is when my oldest thinks she can get away with asking for a ‘treat’ to keep her busy while I cook their meal because she is ‘so hungry’ (insert crocodile tears here). It is also when my youngest decides that spilling her milk all over and playing with it is the coolest thing she’s done since yesterday’s lunch.
My eyes have been opened and now, I move quickly. So in an effort to be one step in front of the game they are bringing to the table, I now plan ahead. Here are some of the things I do.
Prepare food ahead of time. When we get our food home from the grocery store, some of it goes right in to containers and gets washed right away. When my girls ask me for a snack, I can quickly run to the fridge, pull out grapes and be back within a minute. I can even have some pre-cut into halves for my youngest daughter.
We prepare anything from fruit, vegetables, salads, rice, and quinoa. We eat either salads or veggies with every meal, so I mix a huge salad and put the left overs in the fridge. This usually lasts us for a few meals so I am not chopping vegetables for salads every single day.
Freeze Stuff. Our girls and I have been experimenting this summer with things we can instantly turn in to a frozen treat just by putting a popsicle stick in them and cooling them in the freezer. This works great with yogurt cups, some fruit (bananas) and fruit sauces.
Make extra large side dishes and meals. When we make dinner the night before, we always try to make extra food to last us through the next lunch. Roast chicken the night before makes a nice cold chicken plate at lunch the next day with some cheese, vegetables and dip.
This saves me time in the kitchen when the weather is nice and I am also able to have a plate down in front of my oldest before she asks for something to snack on before hand. Another great benefit is when my girls decide last minute to have a backyard picnic, I just grab the containers and we head to the backyard or to our local park with a blanket.
What are your tips for meals during the summer months?
Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.