Ideas to Beat the Heat in the Kitchen

Courtney Rupertus

These long summer days when temperatures are scorching and the sun is beating down on us makes it hard to do anything, not to mention prepare and cook healthy meals. After a long day in the sun and heat, sometimes all we can do is find a bucket of ice cream and hide in the basement.

Long term, however, this does not bode well for our overall nutrition. So how does one compensate for the unbearable heat in the kitchen? Oven-free healthy meal prep of course! Here are some ideas for preparing and even cooking summer meals without adding any unnecessary heat to your home.

Appliances to utilize instead of your oven and stove top include: a rice cooker, slow cooker, electric kettle, toaster oven, and your outdoor grill.

Whether you use your appliances in your kitchen or outside on the patio, either option will create less heat than using your oven or stove top.

You can use your electric kettle to give anything you must boil on the stove a head start. Another option if you need to prepare food items on the stove is to prep them in the morning before the heat of the day hits and you can throw the meal together later on!

Many of us are likely no stranger to cooking steak or a fish fillet on the grill, but have you mastered the art of grilling your entire meal? Everything from corn and zucchini to peaches and pineapple rings can be grilled to absolute perfection and requires zero time inside on a hot day.

A stainless steel grill basket can ensure you get some veggies grilled up to go along with your main course. If you would like a grain to go alongside your meal, you can plug in your rice cooker on the patio and save your kitchen the added heat.

Now, most of us don’t want to use the grill for every meal, so some options for cool, yet healthy breakfasts and lunches include:

Switch breakfast staples from hot to cold

Overnight oats or overnight chia pudding can be prepped and refrigerated (no cooking required) and ready to eat the next morning.

You can get quite experimental with flavours, but the easiest way to start is by combining ½ cup old fashioned oats or chia seeds and ½ cup your choice of milk into a glass container. You can modify the thickness based on your personal preference either by using more seeds/oats to thicken, or more milk to thin it out.

Keep in mind that the thickness will also be affected by the type of milk you prefer. You can try cow’s milk, coconut, almond, cashew, etc.

Get creative by adding yoghurt, nuts, fresh berries, etc. The possibilities are endless!

If oats and grains don’t appeal to you, try making a yoghurt parfait with seasonal berries and homemade granola!

Go raw where you can

Not only do you not need to cook in the heat, but there are health benefits to munching on a crudité platter instead of an oven-made casserole. When we focus our attention to raw foods it usually means we’re eating more fruit and veggies and avoiding foods laced with additives and preservatives. Some nutrients are better absorbed by the body if you consume the food raw, while others are not.

No need to go on a raw food rampage. Try simple swaps like having fresh, raw greens as a side instead of cooked potatoes. Salads can be amped up to a full meal with hardboiled eggs, grilled chicken or fish. Bonus points if the raw veggies come straight from your garden!