UNITED STATES—Summer is upon us and the one thing I hate more than anything is crafting a dish in the kitchen. I’m certain I’m not the only person who thinks that. The kitchen is a hell hole when you tax on the summer heat and the heat generated from the oven or the stove. This is a difficult time of year in my opinion because it leads so many households to consider eating out compared to actually cooking a meal. Is that a good thing? Not really in my opinion because you can easily pack on the pounds by eating out multiple times during the week.

Some of you might be thinking what options do you have? There is always the outdoors. This is the perfect time to fire up the grill. This is not only in reference to hot dogs and hamburgers, but many other meals can be crafted on the grill. You can cook chicken, pork, ribs, seafood, veggies, shall I continue? Yes, some people will easily get burnt out from the grill, because I’m one of them. I can maybe eat BBQ for 2-3 days most and then I need a change-up.

So here are some tips, adjust the grill temperature to work to craft some dishes you would normally cook on the stove. If you want to make some potato salad, boil the potatoes in a pot on the grill or wait, deliver a curveball and grill the potatoes to craft a ‘grilled potato salad.’ Ok, I get it, for some of you; the grill may not be your choice to craft your meals. So what other options are at play?

You can prep cold dishes. It seems foreign for many Americans, but there is nothing wrong with craft a cold dish or as some would call it: vegetarian. I love a great vegetarian dish because it doesn’t requires utilizing heat, it’s usually involves fruit or veggies and above all its healthy. Cold dishes don’t require a ton of prep, but at the same time its versatile, fast and you can accommodate all ages. This might be foreign to say this, but I almost feel as if cold dishes are more satisfying than hot dishes in the long run. That’s like comparing apples and oranges because everyone has their opinion on things.

Hydration, I want to talk about this because the summer months are fun for drinks, but people can’t forget that water, yes, water is the star of all stars. You need to stay hydrated, and while soda, iced teas, juices, alcoholic beverages might seem like a great choice, don’t overindulge. Those drinks are loaded with calories, sugar, carbs and a ton of other things not good for your body. This is the time of year that I load up on fruits and veggies. 1) Seasonal fruits are available in abundance 2) Prices are cheaper 3) Perfect snack 4) Craft a dish quickly without overindulging.

I can easily hit the farmer’s market 2-3 times a week during the summer. Why? Fruits and veggies don’t have a large shelf-life and because of that you either eat or you have to toss it. I see this more with veggies than fruits, not sure why, but as a rule of thumb, don’t overbuy. Purchase ONLY what you NEED or what you KNOW will indeed be consumed in a timely fashion. Summer is not all about healthy eating though, you can indulge with ice cream, smoothies, sundaes and fruit pops. Why purchase fruit pops when you can make your own. Enjoy summer for all it brings. June is already fast behind us, and before you know it August will come and go, and fall will be here.

Written By Kelsey Thomas