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Summer Meal Prep 101: A Complete Guide

Last Updated on November 10, 2022 by Lauren Beck

Summer is a great time to take care of your body. During this period, you must drink more water to stay hydrated as you release fluids because of frequent sweating due to high temperatures. Aside from that, you should eat more fruits and veggies to stay healthy, especially if you often indulge in extreme summer activities.

However, it’s hard to boost your health during the summer when you’re out and about. You might always be tempted to eat out in fast food chains, which can be unhealthy if you do it frequently. So, you should prepare meals to get the proper nutrients daily while enjoying summer events. Also, this strategy will prevent you from consuming junk food that will make you gain weight while increasing your cholesterol levels.

This article includes a complete five-step guide you can follow to ensure the effectiveness of your summer meal prep:

1. Look For The Latest Recipes

If you’re unsure what to make for dinner this summer, you may click here to look at new recipes. As you browse online websites, you’ll learn about fresh ingredients that will help keep things interesting while providing outstanding flavor and nutrition. Besides that, you might be able to surprise your family or roommates with your latest masterpieces throughout the season.

As you look for the latest recipes, you must assess how easy it is to find each recipe’s ingredients and kitchen appliances. This strategy means you must ensure a good amount of nutrients while checking if you have the tools to complete each process. You also want to ensure that no complicated steps are involved in making the meal. It should be easy to do so that you can save time while ensuring that your family is getting all their favorite dishes.

If you want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients, here are eight of the best modern recipes that you must try this summer:

  • Grilled Scallops With Tomato And Avocado Salsa

The combination of scallops, tomatoes, and avocado is a fantastic experience you must try this summer. The flavors are so good that you will love them every time you eat them. You can prepare this recipe in minutes, which makes it perfect for a quick meal on the go.

  • Pork Chops With Honey-Lime Glaze

The pork chops are marinated in honey and lime juice before being grilled to perfection. The glaze adds a nice touch to the dish and adds flavor. This recipe is excellent for those who want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

  • Spicy Marinated Chicken Wings

This recipe is excellent as an appetizer or snack for your guests this summer. These delicious chicken wings are marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper paste. Aside from that, you can serve spicy chicken wings with toothpicks.   

  • Watermelon Radish Salad With Mint And Feta

This refreshing salad includes watermelon radishes that you can serve as a side dish to your meals during the summer. The salad has a delicious combination of mint leaves, feta cheese, and lemon juice which gives this salad a unique flavor.

  • Baked Zucchini Fries With Garlic Parmesan Aioli

Zucchini fries are a great alternative to French fries if you’re trying to cut down on carbs or calories. They’re also effortless to make at home because they only require four ingredients: zucchini, olive oil, salt, and pepper! You can prepare this dish in less than thirty minutes if you prepare everything ahead of time, including making the garlic parmesan aioli.

  • Caprese Quinoa Bowls With Basil Vinaigrette

This meal is a very light and easy dish. Aside from that, it tastes incredible while boosting your overall health. The only downside is that it takes about thirty minutes to cook, so it’s perfect for those who love spending time in the kitchen.

  • Vegetable Lasagna

This recipe contains vegetables, cheese, and meat. It has a delicious tomato sauce that makes it easy to make and tastes like lasagna. This meal is simple enough for beginners but also perfect if you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal.

  • Pesto Pasta Salad With Grilled Chicken

This recipe uses basil pesto sauce and grilled chicken breast. It’s perfect for those who want more than just pasta salad but don’t want too many ingredients or steps in their recipe.

2. Make Your Sauces And Dressings

Offering appetizers at a friendly party. Dinner party concept.

Instead of buying store-bought sauces and dressings, try making your own. They’ll taste better (probably healthier) because they’re made with natural ingredients instead of artificial additives. Plus, they’ll cost less than buying a bottle from the store.

Here’s a list of the sauces and dressings you must try this summer for your meal prep:

  • Chick Fil A Sriracha Sauce

It is a spicy and savory sauce that you can use to top your waffle fries, chicken sandwich, or salad. The sauce has the perfect heat and flavor to make you want more.

  • Sweet Chili Sauce

Sweet chili sauce is one of those condiments that works well with everything. For instance, you can use it as a dipping sauce or a marinade for chicken or tofu! This stuff is great because it adds flavor without adding too much sugar.

  • Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

This recipe is something that most people love because it’s so easy to make at home. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and add some mustard if you like it tangier. It will make an excellent dressing for your next salad.   

  • Avocado Dressing

It is one of the best ways to ensure that your salads are always fresh and delicious. You can use this on any salad or as a dip for breadsticks or crackers. Just blend avocado and lemon juice until it becomes smooth in texture. Then add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and you’re ready. 

3. Write A Shopping List

Blank recipe book with vegetables on wooden table

The key to good meal prep is having a plan, including a shopping list. You may use this list to ensure you have all the ingredients for your favorite summer meals. As a result, you might be able to save costs and time rather than taking spontaneous trips to grocery stores to forget an item.   

Here are five things you must consider as you write a shopping list:   

  • Buy A Reasonable Amount Of Products

If you buy too much food, it’s likely to spoil before you can eat it all. On the other hand, if you buy too little food, then there is a chance that your family will get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. Thus, you need to balance the amount of food you have at home with the number of meals you will make during the week.

  • Buy Fresh Produce And Fruits In Season

Buying them out of season will cost more money than buying them when they are in season locally or regionally. Also, remember that frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh ones because they are picked and flash-frozen as soon as possible after harvesting, so they retain their nutritional value better than fresh ones.

  • Purchase What Fits Your Budget

If you’re planning to make a large batch of meals, it may be challenging to fit everything into your budget. Try preparing your meals so there is enough food for everyone without spending money on ingredients like meat or dairy products. You can always add them later if needed, but don’t let this stop you from starting with what fits your budget now.   

  • Check The Time Frame

It’s also important to consider how far in advance you want to cook these meals and how long they last in the refrigerator or freezer before going bad. So, you don’t need to buy enough food for the number of meals you plan to make. If it takes you two hours to prepare all the ingredients for one meal, double or triple them accordingly.

  • Ensure You Have Enough Storage Space

If your budget is tight, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Doing so can save you money over time since the per-unit cost of any item usually drops when you buy more quantity of it. However, ensure that you have enough storage space at home before purchasing too much food that won’t fit into your fridge.

4. Ensure Food Safety

The main reason for food spoilage during summer is the hot season. Fruits and vegetables are likely to spoil because they contain more water than meat, fish, or dairy products. This substance makes them more susceptible to damage caused by heat and sunlight. In addition, if you fail to store them properly, they will dry out quickly and might even rot before you have time to eat them.

So, you should check out these seven strategies to ensure food safety and avoid spoilage as you prepare your meals this summer:

  • Wash Hands Before Handling Food

This practice prevents bacteria from spreading to your food, avoiding foodborne illnesses. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing food, handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood, and touching pets or other animals. You also should wash your hands if they’re visibly dirty.

  • Keep Utensils And Cutting Board Clean

Every time you cut, slice, or chop raw meat, poultry, or fish, wash your knives and cutting boards with hot soapy water as soon as possible after use. In doing so, you’ll avoid cross-contamination of bacteria from one type of food to another.

  • Cook Food Thoroughly

Cooking kills harmful bacteria that may be present in meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs before you buy them. So, you should never eat raw meat because doing so might cause food poisoning. Instead, cook this product until the juices run clear and once the thickest part is no longer pink.

  • Keep Raw Meats Separate From Cooked Ones

You should never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw poultry because doing so might contaminate your meal with harmful bacteria. If you want to keep your hands clean during meal prep, use separate cutting boards for raw meats and cooked ones and individual plates for serving meals like salads.

  • Thaw Meat Properly 

It’s essential to thaw meats in the refrigerator rather than on the countertop because warm temperatures can cause bacterial growth. This process allows you to safely bring frozen food to room temperature so you can cook it safely.

  • Clean Your Kitchen Counters

Your kitchen counters are where you prepare your meals. This place is also where you store food items that are not yet cooked or prepared. So, you must clean your kitchen counters at least once weekly to ensure your food remains safe from contamination. You should also wipe down your countertops with a disinfectant or bleach solution after each meal to prevent spills and food particles from sticking to them.

  • Clean Your Refrigerator

This kitchen appliance is where you store perishable foods like meat and vegetables at low temperatures so they do not spoil quickly. That said, you must clean it throughout the summer so that it can function well and keep food safe from contamination by bacteria.

You should also open up your refrigerator doors daily to allow cool air to circulate inside, which will help keep foods fresher. Don’t forget to clean the coils on the back wall of your fridge, too, because these areas tend to collect dust over time which can cause problems later on down the road.

5. Invest In High-Quality Storage Containers

Another thing you must consider as you prepare your meals this summer is by investing in high-quality containers. This strategy ensures that food products will only touch containers free from Bisphenol A, which can leach from plastic bottles into your food items. This chemical is dangerous because it mimics human estrogen, which might affect your reproductive health.

In addition, these types of storage containers will last longer than the cheaper ones made from brittle plastic or flimsy silicone seals. If you purchase high-quality options in the market, you won’t have to buy new ones throughout the summer, which helps you save money in the long run. Furthermore, these items might be able to keep your food fresh for extended periods, preventing you from going back to the grocery store.

Key Takeaway

Preparing your meals for the summer is excellent for being mindful of what you consume and saving time deciding on dishes every day. Therefore, you must consider these five tips for your summer meal prep to ensure you won’t forget anything. Aside from that, you might be able to prevent food spoilage that might cost you more money.

Reference:

  1. https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2013/08/5-food-safety-rules-youre-breaking
Lauren Beck
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