As the weather gets hotter and begins to stay that way, you may find yourself straying from the foods you normally eat. Boiling-hot microwaved meals and greasy chicken strips from the University Center don’t sound as appealing — nor do they feel so great in your stomach — when temperatures start to heat up.
If hot foods are too much for you during the hot weather, try lightening up your everyday fare. It’s easy to make light, refreshing and cold foods for every meal of the day, including snacks, without the use of a microwave.
Smoothies are great for any time of the day, but they work exceptionally well for breakfast. Not only are smoothies quick, portable and versatile, but they’re packed with nutrition and can keep you full for a long time. For a simple smoothie, start with your favorite frozen fruit, add in some yogurt and some milk or juice, and blend. From there, you can also add some spinach or kale for a serving of vegetables, some protein powder, or flax seeds.
For lunch and dinner, a simple salad is the best way to go when it’s hot. Salads are not only easy to put together, but they’re a great way to take advantage of the fresh produce that warmer weather brings. To keep salads as light as possible, try using an oil and vinegar dressing, like balsamic vinaigrette, instead of a creamy dressing, like ranch dressing.
For a cool snack, try mixing Greek yogurt with honey and berries to make homemade yogurt popsicles. You can use a popsicle mold to make them, but an ice cube tray works well if you can’t find one. Just mix together the yogurt, berries and as much honey as you’d like, and fill each cavity of the ice cube tray with the yogurt mixture. Add in a popsicle stick and freeze until the yogurt is solid, then enjoy as a cool snack.
If ice cream is how you like to beat the heat, try combining cool whip and graham crackers for an easy substitute. Break a plain graham cracker in half and spread Cool Whip — you can use light Cool Whip to save a few calories — and top with the other graham cracker half. Enjoy after freezing until the Cool Whip is set. This easy snack also doubles as a dessert and tastes just like an ice cream sandwich.
For a quick and healthy snack on the go, it doesn’t get easier than making frozen grapes. Simply wash some grapes and pat them dry. Place them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer for a couple hours, or until frozen. When frozen, grapes become bite-sized grape popsicles, perfect for a hot day. You can also try freezing mango slices, or chocolate-covered banana slices for a more dessert-like option.
A Recipe for Light Chicken Salad:
1 13-ounce can chicken, drained
5 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
Chopped red onion, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir gently to combine. Salad can be stored in refrigerator for up to two days.
Curry Chicken Salad — add one to two teaspoons of curry powder, depending on your taste.
Waldorf Chicken Salad — add 1/2 cup of halved grapes, 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, and 1/2 an apple, diced.
Pesto Chicken Salad — replace one to two tablespoons of the yogurt with pesto sauce. Add shredded mozzarella cheese and diced tomatoes, to taste.