Get yourself organized for easy summer eating

by

Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

Summer’s unofficially here (finally)!

After the long, long winter we just had, it felt especially wonderful to bask in the warm rays and get doused by splash-y, squealing babes at the pool yesterday.

But when we got home at 5:30pm, completely exhausted from our excursion, I had exactly 10 minutes to get something healthy on the table to avoid a complete double meltdown.

It was so, so, so tempting to dial for pizza.

I dug deep and managed to whip up something with a modicum of nutritional value. My very hungry caterpillars were too hungry and tired to protest the small amounts of kale I had mixed in with the pasta.

But the dinner sprint reminded me that I need to get myself organized for summer eating. The increase in physical activity coupled with chaotic summer schedules makes dinner prep June – August a whole different ballgame.

The Lynchpin: Have A Weekly Plan

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you walk in the door at 5:30pm (whether you’re coming home from a long day out with the kids or walking in the door after a long day at work) and you don’t have a plan, unhealthy, fast food will rush to fill the void.

That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for the week. Do yourself a favor and organize two-week’s worth of easy-to-make healthy dinner menus. Then create a weekly shopping list for each of the two weeks and either print them out or, if you have it available in your area, input them as separate lists in an online grocery store, like Pea Pod or Fresh Direct. That way you’ll always have what you need on hand.

Use a menu printable like this to get yourself organized.

Here are four additional tips that will keep you eating well all summer.

Grill. A lot
Not only is grilling really easy and fast, it also is done outdoors, making it easy to join in with kids jumping on a trampoline, playing hide-and-go-seek, or otherwise running around. So do yourself a favor and include at least 3 nights of grilling in your weekly plan.

Make big dinners & enjoy big leftovers
Every Sunday double a recipe and freeze it. It doesn’t take any extra time to do, and it means you have a “get out of jail free” card to use later in the week when you’ve got zero time.

Alternate a grill night with a salad night
When you’re grilling, double the amount of meat you grill and set aside the extras in an airtight container in the fridge. Then the next night, reheat the meat and toss it on a chopped salad. Fast and healthy.

Control your portions
The one downside of grilling is that it’s easy to go overboard on portion sizes. My husband calls this the “Little Taste Syndrome” (as in, I’ll just have a little taste more). Keep yourself, and meat-loving hubbies, in check by using a dessert plate to serve yourself dinner. You’ll eat less and feel full.

What are your favorite tricks for eating healthily in spite of chaotic summer schedules?

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