Summertime Meal Planning

I got a text from one of my friends the other day – she asked me how I stay motivated to cook healthy meals for my family in the lazy Summer months.

Then I got chatting with a friend at the pool yesterday about this very thing. Figured, maybe it’d be a good post?! I mean, I could use something to blog about since the decorating’s moving at a snail’s pace…sorry ’bout that! But I have a good excuse, with the kids home from school. They’re only young once, right?

I did write a post about meal planning wayyyyy back when, and it was a popular one with you all – and since I’ve got more readers now than I did at the beginning, I figured let’s bring it back up! We could all use a little dinnertime help, right? I won’t rewrite everything from that post, but if you missed it, you can check it out right here.

So this will be more like an addendum post, if you will;)

Back to the text from my friend.

I told her, I don’t really stray from my regular meal planning. I still make my weekly menu the night before I grocery shop. Thursdays are still Leftover Nights, and Fridays are still Pizza and Salads. The dinner recipes, though, are very different this time of year. I just can’t eat meatloaf or a hot bowl of chili when it’s 95+ degrees out and we’ve spent the day outside in the heat, you know? So I find lots of lighter recipes to try – things like salads, lots of grilled stuff, things that can be eaten cold and straight from the fridge. Finding new recipes gives me inspiration if I’m in a slump. I love to try something new, and that makes me excited to cook. Like a grilled watermelon, feta, and mixed greens salad we had a few weeks ago…PURE. DELICIOUSNESS.


Summer meal planning also requires a little planning, so I can throw dinner together quickly. We have long days at the pool pretty much every day, so when I’ve been out all day in the hot sun (I know, poor me! 😉 ), the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a complicated meal. So if we’re grilling chicken to top some salads, I’ll have it all prepped and marinated in the morning, and all I have to do is get it out and we’re in business.

Cold pasta salads are great too. One of my faves is angel hair pasta (or any kind of pasta really), grilled chicken strips (*tip* -> make extra whenever you’re grilling meat, so you have more on hand for another easy meal!), peppers, red onion, shredded parm (or feta’s nice too), and your favorite Italian dressing. It’s thrown together in minutes, and you can eat it right from the fridge and just have to prepare some fresh corn on the cob and watermelon. It only gets yummier the longer it sits, too!

On the weekends, my husband really loves to grill. We had to buy a new grill this year, and have yet to make burgers and dogs on it! From fish for tacos, to ribs, to bok choy, to pineapple, we’re throwing it all on there!  I always know when planning my menu, to find something fun and new to grill on Saturday and Sunday. And in pretty much every magazine out right now, you’ll find a section on grilling recipes, and if not, there’s always Pinterest!

both photos from my Instagram page @naptimedecorator

I should also add…when the temperature rises, I swap out my glass of red wine for a fun cocktail when I get in the kitchen. This makes the cooking more enjoyable;)


So those are my tips. In a nutshell:

– Plan a weekly menu and shop accordingly.

– Try fun, fresh, colorful foods that will inspire you!

– Go easy on yourself. Marinate in the morning. Chop veggies ahead of time. Grill extras for later in the week. Go for a cold pasta salad that’s ready immediately. Nobody wants to spend hours in the kitchen on a hot Summer night!

– Try some new grilling recipes to really get in the Summertime spirit.

– Make yourself a fun cocktail if you so desire! (An alcohol free version can be just as festive and pretty, by the way)

I hope you find this helpful. I know the Lazy Hazy Days of Summer take it out of us (in a good way!), but with just a little planning, Summer can be even sweeter.


Pina Coladas on the beach! Virgins of course…for one of us anyway;)




Leave a Reply