UNITED STATES—We talked a few months ago about summer cooking and how you can utilize the outdoors and the grill to get out of that hot and steamy kitchen. Well, after having a conversation with a few family members and friends, you’re not expected to cook a meal every day during the week. Whew, what a relief because I thought I was the only person.

I don’t know what it is about summer, but 2018 has been brutal. I mean the month of July has been a steamer with temperatures in the 90s for what seems like the last 3 weeks. I tell this to people all the time and they constantly try to pick my brain about it. Look, I hate the summer; I’m not a fan of the summer months because it’s too hot. I don’t like the heat and I have no problem letting that be known to anyone. I love temps that are between 50 and 70 degrees. With those temps it’s not too cold or too hot in my opinion, and that alone will take me out of the kitchen quicker than you can count to three.

Who wants to slave over a stove which is only going to produce more heat in a home where it’s already stuffy, turning on the oven and stove will only increase the temperature in the home. I’m a fan of having more light, cold dishes during the summer months than things are heavy and too decadent. Is that weird? For some it may be, but to me it’s normal. All I can say is when I found out many people I know only cook 2-3 times during the week during the summer months it left me with a ton of relief. I honestly thought I was committing a crime by not cooking more during the week, but I realized it’s hard.

There is a lot transpiring during the summer months. You have vacations, you have work, some of us have school, you have kids, just things firing at you from all different directions and when you factor in the heat that is another element that impacts your energy. I think that is the key thing I’m getting to: your energy while much higher during the summer months can also be drained because there is just so much that has to be done. I love a great salad during the week, I could honestly eat a salad eat day as long as I shake the veggies up a bit. Throw a bit of chicken or fish in there and you have a tasty and healthy dish at the same time. Just be careful with the dressing.

On top of this, I love a sandwich. Sandwiches are quite versatile and don’t take a ton of time to craft, and you don’t really worry about cooking over the stove for 30 minutes to an hour. They are great for kids because it’s fast and easy, and they can take it on the go. They key to summer when it comes to cooking is finding a way to craft dishes that don’t require a ton of prep work and dishes that don’t require you to cook more than 10-20 minutes at most on the stove. Yes, some might have central air, but do you really want to push your electric or gas bill to gargantuan rates during the summer months when you want them to be a bit lower?

If you’re not in the kitchen each day during the steamy summer months don’t feel guilty, you’re not the only one. However, you don’t want to be eating fast food 24/7 either. It’s not healthy, and even though the heat might be an excuse for not cooking that doesn’t mean you should negate your health and what is important. Eating healthy is not all about what you cook; it’s what you eat and how often you eat it.

Written By Kelsey Thomas