Anyone who’s tried to bake a pie in the heat of summer knows that using all of that delicious seasonal fruit can come at a price: a sweaty, sweltering price as the heat of your oven can make the temperature in your home skyrocket. Not for nothing do many of us retreat to our patios, decks and backyards to stand over the grill instead of turning on the stove or oven.
If you feel like you can’t live on salads and smoothies alone to get through the summer months – or if you have kids who simply refuse to do so – don’t despair. We’ve found lots of great ideas that can keep you and your little ones smiling through the summer heat – without turning on the oven.
Go beyond ants on a log for out-of-school snacks
The old celery, peanut butter and raisin staple is a great way to combine a bit of protein, vegetables and something sweet into something your kids might actually eat – without needing to turn on the oven to bake up a batch of sneaky zucchini muffins or a loaf of banana bread.
Here are a few more healthy options that are great for bite-sized snacks:
Pineapple and coconut energy balls: This recipe from Cupcakes and Kale Chips offers tropical fruit flavours that are perfect for sunnier days, uses ingredients from your pantry, is low in added sugar, and our favourite part: the only thing you’ll need to make them is a food processor. Saving energy and your sanity when snacktime hits.
Chickpea salad on toast or crackers: If you can’t stand the thought of making another tuna salad sandwich, give chickpeas a whirl. They’re still packed with protein, and this recipe from Cooking Light is good on crackers or a piece of toast.
Popcorn trail mix: Using store-bought popcorn means you don’t even have to turn on your microwave or air popper to pull this one together. A mix of seeds, seasonings and dried fruit make this one more than just a movie snack. Use the suggestions here from Good Life Eats or put your own spin on it.
Snacks that are a little more substantial
Maybe you’re feeding hungry teenagers – or maybe you’re just looking to make it through the 3pm slump at the office without grabbing another iced coffee. These cool meals offer a little something more – and can still save you from a sweltering kitchen.
Vegetable salad spring rolls with peanut sauce: Make these your own by switching up the veggies for what you enjoy. Make them super simple by purchasing pre-chopped veggies or shredded coleslaw mix, and a pre-made sauce. And make them even more energy-efficient by heating the water to soften your rice paper wraps with an electric kettle, and not on your stove.
Spicy (or not) chicken salad lettuce cups: Don’t let the fact that this recipe comes from Food and Wine turn you off: it’s easy to make this one more-kid friendly by skipping some of the spice. Rotisserie chicken makes prep super easy, and everyone loves to eat food in wrap form.
90-second taco soup: Not that there’s anything wrong with just making tacos – but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up. This is a great option from Super Healthy Kids if you have a high-powered blender, because that’s all you’ll need to get a little taco taste, great for lunch or a snack.
Sweet treats that aren’t ice cream
Sometimes, nothing beats a classic ice-cream cone – but in the event that you’re hoping to avoid baking a batch of cupcakes or cookies, these no-bake alternatives might do the trick.
Coconut chocolate mousse: Made with coconut milk, you can get a sweet, creamy treat without dairy, if that’s what you’re looking for. A bit of mixing and a bit of time in the fridge is all you need for this one – you can dress it up in the glass for something special, or simply spoon it out and enjoy.
No-bake cheesecake parfaits: The flavour of cheesecake without the baking, plus a little fruit, too. Try your favourites and play around with the layers.
No-bake peanut butter pretzel cookies: Half-Baked Harvest serves up a winner here with the classic combo – plus, who wouldn’t love a cookie that you don’t have to bake?