In summer, we are surrounded by options like ice cream to cool down with or burgers on the grill at BBQ’s. But by getting prepared and stocking up the refrigerator at home with healthy finds, it makes it much easier to stay on track for all the other meals in the day. Don’t skip out on the good stuff this summer, as long as you get outside and stay active and keep your eating habits healthy at home when you can.
Since no one wants to slave over the hot oven during summer, there are many convenience foods to stock up on so you are always prepared for low maintenance dishes. I don’t know about you, but I crave quick and cool options like crisp salads, hearty sandwiches, grilled proteins, with veggies and fruits. Check out ten things I always have at home when the temperatures rise to create meals in minutes:
1. Chicken: I keep Perdue baked chicken cutlets in my freezer along with Perdue Perfect Portions at all times. Basically you can cook up the baked cutlets in your toaster oven and make healthy chicken parmesan. Or have it cut up on a salad with buffalo sauce or honey mustard or whatever you prefer. Then the Perfect Portions can be grilled, baked, or sautéed and come already marinated and flavorful, so you can just eat them plain! It is very convenient and healthy.
2. Low calorie drinks: A pitcher of Crystal Light is always in my fridge and I keep individual packets of Lipton at my desk at work. It makes drinking a ton of water super simple and they are very flavorful too. There are so many varieties perfect for summer like lemonade or ice teas. Plus you could even pour the drinks into Popsicle molds for an ice cold fat free snack or dessert.
3. Granola Bars: When you are on the go all summer, granola bars are perfect to pop into your gym bag, purse, or keep in the car. I stock up on Fiber One bars to get my peanut butter fix. It is tasty for breakfast with a side of fruit or to eat before the gym.
4. Deli Meat: Lean ham, roasted turkey, or chicken can be eaten at really any time of day. Slip it in sandwiches or wraps, slice it up on salads, or roll it up with low fat cheese or pickles for a snack. I am hooked on Boar’s Head new Chipotle Chicken on wheat bread with veggies at night when I get home late from a work out or to bring to work.
5. Wheat Bread: Light wheat bread has endless possibilities. Spread on low fat peanut butter with bananas for a quick breakfast, have an egg white and cheese sandwich, toss on deli meat or tuna, or just eat it plain with light butter. Or try my turkey and apple sandwich or criss crossed bacon recipes! It is another staple for me to have on hand at all times.
6. Fruit: Summer is the season to eat berries while they are fresh. Sweeten them up with a packet of sugar substitute, enjoy berries in cereal or parfaits with yogurt, or just eat them as is. My favorite is strawberries. Beside berries, my other go-to is green apples as well.
7. Lettuce/Veggies: It is a no-brainer that lettuce and vegetables at home is a good way to get in your vitamins and nutrients and fill up, minus the calories and fat. I keep a bag of American Blend Dole lettuce because even if you run out of other veggies, you can still enjoy a salad. Also it’s perfect to grab a handful to include in the sandwiches I crave all summer.
8. Light salty snacks: When you are active on long summer days and have a salt craving, baked chips, pretzels, or crackers like TLC will do the trick. Plus you can bring them along on car rides, to the park, or beach, since they won’t go bad! I also recently got into snacking on roasted chick peas.
9. Wheat pasta: You probably won’t be craving a steamy bowl of pasta with marinara sauce but there are plenty of possibilities to use pasta cold. Make tuna or veggie pasta salad with light mayo or use your favorite vegetables like peppers, onions, and olives, with a light Italian vinaigrette. Keeping cold pasta side dishes on hand is perfect with grilled chicken or other protein or alongside a light sandwich.
10. Light Condiments: In order to make the sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes noted above, you need a few light condiments in your refrigerator. Light mayo, mustard, light Italian dressing, hot sauce, salsa, hummus, and other spreads or sauces will add flavor to simple dishes this summer.
You may also be interested in tips from my personal trainer or 10 tips to lose 10 pounds. And I welcome any other suggestions in the comments on how YOU fill up your fridge and cabinets in the summer months, to stay slim, healthy, and satisfied.