Meal Prep for Hot Days: 10 Cool Recipes for Hot Weather

If meal prep for hot days feels like an insurmountable challenge, this guide is here to help. From ingredient lists to step-by-step instructions, we’ve got everything covered to make your meal prep experience as smooth as possible.

Healthy homemade smoothie bowl. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Things You’ll Need: Meal Prep for Hot Days

Meal Prep for Hot Days: General Meal Prep Instructions

Before we get into the specific recipes, there are some general meal prep instructions…

Planning Your Menu

Before you even think about stepping into the kitchen, the first step in meal prep is to plan your menu. Decide which recipes you’ll be making for the week.

Consider meals that are both delicious and easy to store. This planning stage is critical because it helps you streamline the entire process, ensuring you’re not scrambling last-minute to figure out meals.

Shopping for Ingredients

Once you’ve decided on the recipes you’ll be preparing, the next step is to create a comprehensive shopping list. Group your list by category—produce, dairy, grains, etc.—to save time while you’re at the grocery store.

Ensure you purchase all the necessary ingredients in one go to avoid multiple trips to the store during the week.

Assembling Kitchen Tools

Before you start cooking, gather all the kitchen tools you’ll need for meal prep. This includes cutting boards for chopping vegetables, sharp knives for precise cuts, measuring cups for accurate portion sizes, and any special appliances like a blender or food processor.

Having everything within arm’s reach will make the cooking process smooth and efficient.

Meal Prep for Hot Days – Breakfast and Lunch Recipes

Now that we have general meal prep out of the way, let’s dive into the specific recipes…

Breakfast Recipes

Below are 5 meal prep breakfast recipes for hot days…

1. Chilled Overnight Oats

Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Things you’ll need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare chilled overnight oats…

Mix Dry Ingredients

Start by grabbing a medium-sized mixing bowl. In it, combine one cup of rolled oats with a pinch of salt. If you enjoy spices, you can enhance the flavor of your oats by adding a dash of cinnamon or even some nutmeg at this stage. Use a spoon to mix these dry ingredients thoroughly.

Add Liquids

After your dry ingredients are well-mixed, it’s time to add the liquids. Pour one cup of almond milk into the bowl with the oats mixture. To sweeten your overnight oats, add one tablespoon of honey or any other sweetener of your choice. Use a spoon to stir the mixture until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Seal and Chill

Once everything is mixed well, you’ll need to transfer this mixture into sealable jars. These could be mason jars or any other airtight containers that have a lid. Use a ladle or a large spoon to transfer the mixture into the jars, making sure you divide it evenly.

Close the lids tightly to prevent any leakage or exposure to air. Place these jars in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, although letting them sit overnight is ideal for achieving the best texture and flavor.

Storage

After your overnight oats have chilled and are ready to eat, remember that they can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. It’s important to note that freezing is not advisable for this meal, as it may alter the texture and taste.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately two servings. You can easily double or triple the ingredients if you’re planning to meal prep for several days.

2. Fruit Smoothie Packs

Things You’ll Need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare fruit smoothie packs…

Prepare Fruits

Select a variety of your favorite fruits like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and mangoes. Make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or dirt.

After washing, use a sharp knife to cut these fruits into small, bite-sized pieces. Aim for about one cup of chopped fruits for each smoothie pack you intend to make.

Assemble Smoothie Packs

Take Ziplock bags and open them up on your kitchen counter. Carefully place the cut fruits into each bag. If you’d like an extra boost of protein or fiber, now is the time to add a tablespoon of protein powder, chia seeds, or even flaxseeds to the fruits in the bag.

Freeze

Press out any extra air from the Ziplock bags and seal them tightly. Place these bags in your freezer, laying them flat to ensure they freeze evenly. This also makes it easier to stack them, conserving freezer space.

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Blend and Serve

When you’re craving a refreshing smoothie, simply take one fruit pack out of the freezer. Put the frozen fruits into your blender and add one cup of water, almond milk, or any liquid of your choice. Blend until smooth, pour into a glass, and enjoy immediately for best taste.

Storage

These pre-made smoothie packs can be stored in your freezer for up to two months. Make sure the Ziplock bags are sealed tightly to prevent freezer burn.

Servings

This method will yield around four servings, depending on the size of your Ziplock bags and how much fruit you pack into each one.

3. Greek Yogurt Parfait

View public domain image source here
Things You’ll Need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare Greek yoghurt parfait…

Layer Ingredients

Select a sealable jar, and have it cleaned and dried. Use a spoon to place a layer of Greek yogurt at the bottom of the jar, covering it adequately. This will serve as the base for your parfait.

Add Crunch and Flavor

After laying down the Greek yogurt, it’s time to add some crunch and flavor. Take granola, or any other cereal that you prefer, and place it on top of the yogurt layer. Press it down gently with your spoon.

Introduce Freshness

Now, introduce a layer of fresh fruits. You can choose fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or sliced bananas. Place them on top of the granola layer. Make sure to distribute them evenly for a balanced taste.

Repeat

Continue these layers—yogurt, granola, and fruits—until your jar is filled to the top. Press down gently to ensure everything fits.

Seal and Store

Once your jar is filled with these delicious layers, tightly seal the lid to ensure it remains airtight. This will keep your parfait fresh.

Storage

Your Greek Yogurt Parfait is best when consumed fresh but can be stored in your refrigerator for up to three days. Make sure the lid is tightly sealed to keep it from drying out or absorbing other flavors from the fridge.

Servings

Each jar will make one serving of the Greek Yogurt Parfait. You can prepare multiple jars if you’re planning for several days of breakfast.

4. Veggie Breakfast Burritos

Things You’ll Need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare veggie breakfast burritos…

Prep the Veggies

Select vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and maybe even some spinach or mushrooms based on your preference. Wash them under cold water and then use a sharp knife to chop them into small pieces. Set these chopped vegetables aside in a bowl, so they are ready to go when you need them.

Scramble the Eggs

Take a separate bowl and crack open some eggs into it. Use a whisk to beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are well combined. You can also add a pinch of salt and pepper at this stage for seasoning. Heat your non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once it’s warm, pour the whisked eggs into it.

Cook the Eggs

Use your spatula to gently move the eggs around the skillet. Cook them until they are mostly set but still a bit runny. This state is perfect because you’ll continue cooking them when you add the veggies.

Add Veggies

Take your bowl of chopped vegetables and add them to the skillet with the partially cooked eggs. Stir everything together and continue to cook until the eggs are fully set and the vegetables have softened. You might also add a sprinkle of cheese or some spices here if you desire.

Assemble and Wrap

Lay out a tortilla flat on your counter. Spoon a portion of your cooked egg and veggie mixture onto the center of the tortilla. Fold the sides of the tortilla inward first, and then roll it up from the bottom to form a burrito shape. Take a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap each burrito tightly, ensuring it’s fully covered.

Storage

Place these foil-wrapped burritos into Ziplock bags. Seal the bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible, and store them in the freezer. These breakfast burritos can last for up to a month when stored in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat one, you can reheat it in the microwave or oven.

Servings

This recipe will make approximately six servings, depending on how much filling you put in each burrito.

Read more meal prep topics here – Meal Prep for Every Situation: Your Ultimate Guide

5. Berry Chia Pudding

Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Things You’ll Need
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Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare berry chia pudding

Prepare the Base

Take a mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to it. Follow this with 1 cup of almond milk. For added sweetness, include 1 tablespoon of honey or a sugar substitute of your choice. Use a spoon to mix these ingredients thoroughly.

Add Berries

Choose your favorite berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Wash them properly and then add a generous handful to your chia seed mixture. Stir them in, making sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the base.

Transfer and Chill

Now, take your sealable jars and divide the chia and berry mixture among them. Seal the jars tightly with their lids to keep them airtight. Place these jars in your refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours. This time allows the chia seeds to absorb the liquid, turning the mixture into a pudding-like texture.

Storage

Your Berry Chia Pudding can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. Keep the jars sealed tightly to maintain freshness.

Servings

This recipe will make around two servings, depending on the size of your jars.

Lunch Recipes

Below are 5 meal prep lunch recipes for hot days…

1. Cold Pasta Salad

Things You’ll Need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare pasta salad…

Cook Pasta

Start by filling a large pot with water and setting it on high heat. As the water comes to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt to season the pasta. Add your choice of pasta—like penne, fusilli, or farfalle—into the boiling water.

Follow the package instructions for cooking time to achieve the desired pasta texture. Once the pasta is cooked, use a strainer to drain the water and set the pasta aside to cool.

Prepare Vegetables

While the pasta is boiling, you have the perfect window to prepare your vegetables. Choose vegetables that offer a mix of colors and flavors—like bell peppers, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Rinse them well and chop them into bite-sized pieces.

Mix Ingredients

Grab a large mixing bowl and pour the cooled pasta into it. Add the chopped vegetables next. Drizzle a dressing of your choice, whether it be Italian dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or a homemade olive oil and herb concoction. Mix thoroughly to ensure that the dressing coats every piece of pasta and vegetable.

Storage

Once mixed, transfer your pasta salad into airtight containers. You can store these in the fridge for up to three days. Freezing this dish is not recommended as it will compromise the texture.

Servings

This recipe yields approximately four servings, depending on the portion size.

2. Quinoa Salad

Things You’ll Need
  • Pot for boiling quinoa
  • Strainer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Quinoa
  • Your chosen vegetables and protein
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
Cook Quinoa

Measure one cup of quinoa and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. This removes the natural coating of saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Place a pot filled with two cups of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.

Add the rinsed quinoa and reduce the heat to let it simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Drain any excess water and set aside to cool.

Prepare Ingredients

While the quinoa is cooking, focus on your additional ingredients. Select vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado for a refreshing mix. Wash them and chop them into smaller pieces. If you’d like to add some protein, consider options like grilled chicken, tofu, or even boiled eggs, chopped into smaller pieces.

Combine and Serve

In your mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled quinoa with the chopped vegetables and protein if you’re using it. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Mix it all together so the flavors meld.

Storage

Pack your quinoa salad in airtight containers. It can be stored in the fridge for up to four days, making it a great make-ahead lunch option.

Servings

This quinoa salad recipe makes around four servings, again depending on your portion sizes.

3. Veggie Wraps

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV:
Things You’ll Need
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Your chosen vegetables
  • Your chosen pre-cooked protein
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare veggie wraps…

Prepare the Veggies

Start by selecting a mix of colorful and crunchy vegetables like lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers. After washing them thoroughly, use a knife and a chopping board to slice these vegetables into thin strips or juliennes.

The thin slices ensure that the veggies are evenly distributed and easy to bite into when the wrap is assembled.

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Assemble the Wrap

Lay out a tortilla wrap flat on your workspace. Neatly place your thinly sliced vegetables in the center of the tortilla, taking care not to overstuff it.

For added protein and flavor, you can include tofu or grilled chicken. If using tofu, consider using extra-firm tofu that’s been marinated for flavor. If opting for chicken, make sure it is pre-cooked and sliced.

Roll and Serve

Once all your ingredients are laid out in the center, it’s time to wrap it up. Begin by folding the sides of the tortilla inward over the vegetables. Then, roll the tortilla tightly from one end to the other, ensuring the filling is securely enveloped.

Storage

Place your completed wraps in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They’ll remain fresh for up to two days. Note that freezing these wraps is not recommended, as the texture of the vegetables will be compromised upon thawing.

Servings

This recipe yields approximately four servings, depending on the size of your tortillas and the amount of filling used.

4. Cold Soup (Gazpacho)

Things You’ll Need
  • Blender
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare Gazpacho..

Prepare Ingredients

Start by washing and chopping your vegetables. For this classic Gazpacho, you’ll need tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. You’ll also need some garlic, which should be minced. Each ingredient contributes to the unique texture and flavor profile of the gazpacho.

Blend

Once your ingredients are prepped, transfer them into a blender. Blend on high speed until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. At this stage, taste the blend to adjust the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. For added depth, you could add a splash of olive oil or a dash of vinegar while blending.

Chill

Pour your blended mixture into a jug or other container suitable for chilling. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. This allows all the flavors to meld and the soup to reach a pleasingly cold temperature before serving.

Storage

This gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. It’s a dish that often improves in flavor as it sits, making it a perfect make-ahead option.

Servings

This recipe produces approximately four servings, perfect for a refreshing lunch or a light dinner.

5. Hummus and Veggie Platter

Things You’ll Need
Instructions

Follow the steps below to prepare a veggie and hummus platter…

Prepare Hummus

Begin by gathering all the ingredients you’ll need for your hummus: canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed), tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic cloves. If you’d like a smoother hummus, you can also remove the skins from the chickpeas for a creamier texture.

Place these ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor. For the blending process, start at a lower speed and gradually increase to high to ensure a smoother texture.

Blend until you achieve a creamy, lump-free consistency. Feel free to taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, lemon juice, or even a touch of paprika for flavor.

Prepare Veggies

Wash and peel the vegetables you’ll be using for dipping. For this platter, carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers are excellent choices due to their crunch and natural sweetness. Use your knife and chopping board to cut these vegetables into long, thin sticks, making them easy to dip into the hummus.

Arrange the Platter

Once both your hummus and veggies are ready, it’s time to assemble the platter. Take a serving plate and place a bowl of hummus at its center.

Strategically arrange the chopped vegetable sticks around the bowl, creating a colorful and appetizing display. If you have other items like olives or pita bread, they can also be added to the platter for variety.

Storage

Store any leftover hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it can stay fresh for up to 4 days. As for the chopped vegetables, place them in a separate airtight container and consume them within 2 days to ensure they stay crisp.

Servings

This particular setup yields approximately four servings, perfect for a family snack or as a healthy appetizer when hosting guests.

Conclusion: Meal Prep for Hot Days

Meal prep for hot days doesn’t have to be a cumbersome task. With these simple yet delicious recipes, you can make sure you’re eating well without breaking a sweat. Each recipe has its own storage recommendations and serving sizes, making it easy to plan your meals for the week. Happy meal prepping!

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