6 ways to beat the heat and stay motivated to cook all summer long

Cooking your own meals is ideal for people with kidney disease because it ensures you are 100% in control of the ingredients you are eating. When you cook for yourself, you are less likely to consume added or hidden phosphorus and sodium usually found in packaged and processed foods. Yet, finding the motivation to cook over hot stoves and grills during the summer months can be a challenge. Hot weather can make us feel tired and less motivated to do things that take energy and require us to be on our feet, like cooking.

But don’t worry! We have put together some tricks that will allow you to stay cool in the kitchen and keep cooking all summer long:

  1. Start cooking early in the morning. Getting a jump start on cooking can help you avoid time in the kitchen during the hottest temperatures of the day. Mornings are a good time to use the oven and make things that take a bit more time.

  2. Cook to guarantee leftovers. Select a recipe that makes a lot of servings or double up the recipe so you are guaranteed to have leftover portions. This strategy will give you a few extra meals in your fridge or freezer and save you time in the long run. Summer salads, like our Native American Inspired Spicy Corn Salad and Wild Rice Salad, hold well in the fridge for a few days and can be quickly grabbed for a healthy meal. You can also freeze extra portions of meals you make to eat on days when you are just too hot and tired to cook a whole dish from scratch.

  3. Make frozen or refrigerated treats. Cool snacks are great for a refreshing pick-me-up when you need a healthy treat. Fruit salads are easy to throw together and put in the fridge, and frozen treats are especially good to have on hand to beat the summer heat. Try our kidney-friendly Frozen Yogurt Bark and Hibiscus Ice Pops to get you started.

  4. Try chilled soup. There is nothing as refreshing as a cool liquid on a hot summer day. To add some variety to your fluid intake, have a chilled soup or gazpacho for lunch with some cheese and crackers. Our Yogurt-Cucumber Soup is delicious and can be made from scratch in under 15 minutes. Remember—soup counts as fluid, so keep that in mind when managing your fluid intake for the day.

  5. Make portable recipes to enjoy outdoors. Dishes like our Muhammara Dip and Tabbouleh are just as good at room temperature as they are straight from the oven or as leftovers from the fridge. You can eat these dishes out on your porch or balcony, or take them with you for a picnic in a shaded area of a park.

  6. Cool off with ice cold beverages. Delicious and thirst-quenching drinks are a must for when you come in from the heat and want to cool down. Kidney Kitchen™ has some great drink recipes, like our favorite Watermelon Cooler.

For more meal ideas, browse the "Find Recipes" page on Kidney Kitchen!

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About the Author(s)

FamilyCook Productions

FamilyCook Productions is a national leader in teaching kitchen programming for obesity prevention and treatment, offering turn-key programming to hundreds of schools, community organizations, public health departments, SNAP-Ed providers, and hospitals across the U.S. Founded by award-winning culinary author-educator, Lynn Fredericks, author of Cooking Time is Family Time (1999) and, with FamilyCook’s longtime dietician, Mercedes Sanchez, Get Your Family Eating Right (2013). Fredericks and Sanchez devise a range of flavorful, easy-to-prepare, international recipes for Kidney Kitchen.

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