With all the extra hours of sunlight and nice weather that comes with summer, you’d think we’d have more time to prepare healthy meals.
You know, leisurely family dinners on the deck in the warm evening breeze with lots of laughter and good conversation… but, no.
For many of us, summer means extra busyness – with an increase in outdoor activities, sports events, chauffeuring kids, weekend getaways, and longer work days if your business is seasonal or even if you work from home.
Besides the amazing disappearing-time-factor when the weather’s nice, who wants to spend time in the kitchen?
So, to get the most out of summer while it’s here, we have a list of 7 healthy and easy summer meal ideas – one for each day of the week. They can make for effortless dinners or easy, breezy, hassle-free lunches (with more ideas to be found here).
All of them can be made with nutritious, fresh ingredients, they’re easily adaptable for kids’ tastes, and best of all, they’re quick – from start to finish, these recipes will be ready in well under an hour.
If you want a change of pace from the BBQ, select an ‘all-in-one’ dish where all (or most) of the ingredients are cooked together. They usually take less prep and cooking time, and there’s also fewer dishes to wash up.
Looking for even fewer dishes to deal with? Try serving some of these recipes in natural and edible bowls – simply eat (or toss) and you’re done!
Tasty Tacos or Tostadas with Seasonal Fruit Salsas
Tacos or tostadas are quick to make, nutritious, and they taste great – what’s not to like?
For the healthiest grilling, marinate your meat selection first.
And, if possible, mix the meat with the marinade in the morning and let it work in the fridge all day – the results will be incredibly tender and flavorful.
For more fresh and flavorful fruit salsa suggestions, check out our round-up of some of our all-time favorite recipes from around the web.
Add a variety of freshly diced and shredded summer veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onions, corn, beans, and zucchini. Then top it all off with a grating of cheese such as Parmesan, cheddar, or Monterey jack, and you’ll have a flavorful, healthy meal.
A twist on the traditional rice bowl, cash in on quinoa’s superfood status and use this nutritional powerhouse to create an Asian inspired dish.
Chicken, shrimp, salmon, or steak marinated in soy sauce with ginger, garlic, and basil all make for a nutritious and energy packed dish.
Grilled Flatbread Pizzas
Use your favorite flatbread for these fun and easy pizzas cooked on the grill. Pita bread (like this homemade sour barley pita), naan, pre-cooked pizza crusts, kulcha, farl, focaccia, and many others are suitable.
But do ensure that your flatbread can handle the load. A thin wrap stacked with a Dagwood-esque pile of ingredients is likely to collapse, a disappointment no one wants to experience!
Lettuce wraps are lighter and have fewer calories than flour wraps – ideal for watching calorie intake. They’re very easy to make, light, refreshing, and economical.
Use a large-leafed lettuce that has a natural cup shape such as Boston, butter, or Romaine – this makes rolling easier.
Fold up the bottom flap, and continue rolling to finish – secure with wooden picks if needed.
Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
Here’s another twist on the Asian rice bowl, this time with a Mexican flair.
Use your favorite vegetables – it is easily adaptable to any ingredients of your choosing.
One-dish skillet meals are fast and easy to make – they’re tasty and satisfying, economical, and cleanup is a breeze.
Cut a lean protein such as chicken or flank steak into cubes or strips, and marinate at least 30 minutes to tenderize tougher cuts.
Or use a fast-cooking option like shrimp to make a quick dinner loaded with flavor and heat like a homemade Cajun seasoning blend.
Toss in a selection of sliced and julienned fresh summer vegetables to suit. Serve with jalapeno cornbread, rice, or quinoa for a fast, delicious meal.
A hamburger on the grill is a summer favorite – delicious, easy to make, quick to cook, and you can dress it up as you like.
The only possible drawback is the red meat…
If you like the taste and convenience of burgers but are trying to cut back on red meat consumption, opt for ground turkey or fish – or a homemade vegetarian option like this recipe for Sweet Potato Coconut Patties – for a leaner, healthier version of this classic.
If you’re in the mood for seafood, our grilled salmon burgers with green goddess dressing will lighten up any cookout! The herbal spread is a fresh and vibrant pairing with the fish.
Your Summer Meals Are Set!
That wraps up our look at 7 fast, easy, and nutritious summertime meals.
Try some of the recipes above, or design your own variations to suit the tastes of your family.
They’re quick to put together and you’ll feel good about serving a healthy meal for your family – and keeping that busy summer schedule going.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.