After a long, cold winter a glorious British summer is always something to celebrate.
Many of us look forward to the summer season all year – light mornings, warmer days and lovely sunshine.
But as the summer starts to heat up it’s hard to know what to make for dinner.
The hot weather can impact our appetites, and nobody wants to spend hours cooking in a boiling kitchen.
So, as the temperature soars, what are the best things to eat when it’s hot outside?
Here’s our round up of recipes that are perfect for a summer heatwave.
No cook recipes
Who wants the oven on for hours when the kitchen is already too hot?
There’s a good reason why salads are so popular in summer – not only can they be a healthier choice, they also require minimal cooking.
If you can’t bear the thought of standing over a hot stove on a sunny day there are lots of slimming friendly recipes that call for no (or very little) cooking time.
Why not serve up some dips as light bites or starters?
You only need to blend a few fresh ingredients together and chop up some crunchy vegetables for dipping. Easy peasy!
Our Hummus Style Dip is a classic and it’s so versatile – you can serve it on salads, in sandwiches or on its own with some toasted pitta breads.
Or how about this Spinach and Pesto Dip? It’s so fresh and vibrant – exactly what you want on a scorching summer day.
For the main course you can’t beat a crisp, crunchy salad.
Salads don’t have to be boring and it’s easier than you might think to throw together a dish that’s flavourful and filling.
This Chopped Thai Chicken Salad has all the fragrant flavours of your favourite Thai takeaway, without the calories.
You can use leftover cooked chicken or ready cooked chicken from the supermarket if it’s just too hot to roast some at home.
Our Balsamic Steak and Feta Salad is also perfect for warmer days. The thin cut steaks only need a minute on each side in the pan to be perfectly cooked.
Cook outside recipes
If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, how about cooking outdoors?
We all love a barbeque in the summer so, rather than having the oven on inside, fire up the BBQ.
You don’t need a fancy outdoor grill to enjoy our favourite BBQ recipes.
They could all be cooked on a cheap disposable barbecue from the supermarket, or cooked in the oven if you prefer.
We’ve included three different flavour options in our BBQ Chicken Steaks recipe. Try all three or pick your favourite and serve with a fresh side salad.
These Turkey Burgers are lower in calories than your average beef burger and perfect for throwing on the BBQ.
You do need to roast the aubergine first, but it’s worth it for the added flavour.
A good Potato Salad is a barbeque staple. Our slimming friendly version uses quark and fat free natural yoghurt instead of high calorie mayonnaise.
On very hot days it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated.
Along with making sure to drink plenty of water, choosing certain foods can also help you improve your hydration.
Many fruits and vegetables have high water content, making them super hydrating as well as low in calories.
Salad vegetables like lettuce and cucumber contain lots of water, but so do ingredients such as tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
This Cajun Baked Cod with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes is a great one pot dish that’s packed with hydrating vegetables. It’s light yet filling – perfect in the warmer weather.
Broccoli is another hydrating vegetable, so these Beef and Broccoli Noodle Bowls make a great summer dinner.
They take less than half an hour to cook, so you won’t have to be in the kitchen too long.
You might not think of soup as a particularly summer friendly dish but our Cream of Spinach and Rocket Soup is so refreshing.
Soups and stews have a high water content, so although they’re usually considered winter dishes, they’re great in hot weather.
When it’s boiling outside you probably think the last thing you want to eat is something hot and spicy.
But did you know chilli and other spices are good for your metabolism?
When our internal temperature goes up, our bodies kick into cooling mode, making us sweat until we reach a more comfortable temperature.
Something like this Spicy Sausage Pasta has a good kick of heat with the potential to spike your metabolism.
Or you could take some inspiration from the Spanish and enjoy some tapas style small dishes like these Spanish Meatballs.
You can add in as much chilli as you want, so they can be as spicy or as mild as you choose.
Too hot to eat?
Sometimes it just feels too hot to eat at all. Higher temperatures can reduce your appetite but it’s important to make healthy choices.
If you feel less like eating, make sure what you do eat is packing in as much nutrition as possible.
Aim to eat balanced meals that are high in protein and full of fruit and vegetables.
For example, this Salmon Kedgeree is an ideal brunch or lunch. With salmon, egg, rice and lots of green veggies, you get plenty of nutrients and it’ll fill you up until dinner.
Then, for a light dinner, how about this Chicken Waldorf Salad? Even if you don’t have much of an appetite, this packs a nutritional punch.
It’s got juicy grapes and apples, balanced with crunchy celery, walnuts and protein rich chicken breast.
As long as you’re drinking plenty of water, you could also enjoy an ice cold alcoholic drink with your evening meal.
A frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is one of our favourite summer cocktails but you can find more in our roundup here.
Finally, we couldn’t complete a list of heatwave appropriate food without including ice cream!
This Mango and Raspberry Ice Cream is so delicious, completely dairy free and only needs four ingredients.
A scoop of this is the best possible way to finish a meal on a sizzling summer day.
What are your favourite recipes for hot days? Let us know over in our Facebook Group. We have almost 1 million members who love to share support and inspiration. Come join the fun!