When summer temperatures skyrocket, no one wants to labor in front of a sweltering stove. While cooking easy, oven-free meals can keep you cool, you should also be focusing on hydrating foods.
"Hydration is always important, but especially in the summer since we sweat more and lose water through our perspiration," DJ Blatner, RDN, author of The Superfood Swap: The 4-Week Plan to Eat What You Crave Without the C.R.A.P., tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Video of the Day
These simple dietitian-approved dinners are stellar for hot summer nights — they don't require the stove and will help you maintain healthy hydration levels.
1. Cucumber Salad With Feta and Mint
This sweet and savory salad serves up two of the most hydrating foods — cucumber and watermelon — to replenish your fluids on sweaty days. Living up to its name, watermelon consists primarily of H2O with a 92 percent water content, Blatner says.
What's more, 1 cup of the juicy fruit offers 14 percent of your daily recommended value for vitamin C, as well as essential electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, per the USDA. That's important because your body depends on electrolytes to regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction and neural activity, according to the American Council on Exercise.
"This recipe also has mint, which isn't necessarily hydrating but does contain menthol, which has an immediate cooling effect as we chew it," Blatner says.
Get the Cucumber Salad With Feta and Mint recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Mediterranean Anytime Parfait
Layered with tomatoes and cucumbers (which are both made up of 95 percent water), this no-cook, Mediterranean-style parfait is majorly hydrating, Blatner says. Even hummus and yogurt, the prime protein sources in the parfait have over 50 percent water and 80 percent water respectively, she says.
But if you really want to quench your thirst, consider adding celery — it's nature's sports drink, Blatner says. "It naturally contains electrolytes lost in sweat, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium," she explains.
Get the Mediterranean Anytime Parfait recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Simple Ceviche
Packed with protein (39 grams per serving), this savory ceviche counts on citrus juices from grapefruit and lime to "cook" raw fish while providing a heap load of hydration. "Plus, the jalapeno naturally contains 92 percent water," Blatner says.
Just plan this delicious fish dinner ahead of time — ceviche must be refrigerated for at least 4 hours to allow the citrus marinade to work its magic.
Get the Simple Ceviche recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Hearty Gazpacho Bowl
"Soup is the ultimate hydrating food," Blatner says. And this refreshing, stove-free gazpacho bowl — which only takes 8 minutes from prep to plate — will put your blender to good use.
In addition to all the hydrating veggies like cucumber and tomato, this hearty, chilled soup also includes protein-rich chickpeas (containing over 60 percent water) and tomato juice.
"There's still some salt even in low-sodium tomato juice, which can help replenish the sodium we lose in sweat" during scorching temps, Blatner says.
And with 10 grams of filling fiber and healthy fats from avocado, this gazpacho is guaranteed to satisfy your stomach.
Get the Hearty Gazpacho Bowl recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Raw Zucchini Caprese 'Pasta'
This pasta imposter incorporates everything you love about a big bowl of spaghetti — mozzarella, tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil — minus all the carbs and calories.
A water-rich veggie, zucchini contains 95 percent H2O and is a great pasta swap because it's only 20 calories per cup, Blatner says.
Blatner also loves tossing together a 50/50 mix of zucchini noodles and chickpea pasta for a little extra protein. To simplify supper, buy pre-spiraled zoodles and save yourself even more time in the kitchen.
Get the Raw Zucchini Caprese 'Pasta' recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Tomato and White Bean Salad With Herbs
It only takes 5 minutes to mix this no-fuss summer salad, which owes its garden-fresh flavor to herbs including dill and parsley.
While classic water-rich foods like tomatoes and cucumbers help you maintain optimal hydration in hot weather, white beans (with 55 percent water) also give you a big bang for your hydrating buck, Blatner says.
And though this light salad won't weigh you down, with the winning combination of veggies, beans, avocado and olive oil, it's sure to fill you up thanks to the healthy balance of carbs, fiber, protein and fats.
Get the Tomato and White Bean Salad With Herbs recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Cashew Crunch Wrap
Crunchy cashews provide plant-based protein in this convenient wrap that'll cure your cooking fatigue. "Pre-cut coleslaw mix is a secret weapon when it comes to making refreshing and fast meals," Blatner says. This medley contains hydrating carrots, green cabbage and purple cabbage.
Get the Cashew Crunch Wrap recipe and nutrition info from DJ Blatner.
8. California Kraut and Cheddar Wrap
Along with succulent spinach, cucumber and carrots, the sauerkraut in this recipe also hypes up the hydrating factor of this satisfying wrap (and punches up the flavor).
Plus, sauerkraut does double duty for your gut health: It not only contains good bacteria (probiotics) thanks to the fermentation process, but cabbage also serves as a prebiotic as it feeds those beneficial bugs, Blatner says.
If you don't eat dairy, simply swap the cheese for a smear of hummus.
Get the California Kraut and Cheddar Wrap recipe and nutrition info from DJ Blatner.
9. Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette
This summery salad is stacked with some of the highest water-containing veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes, Blatner says. The blend of balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil offers just the right amount of tanginess for your taste buds.
To make it a more satiating meal, add some plant-based protein like chopped nuts or canned white beans, Blatner says. If you don't mind meat, toss in leftover grilled chicken if you have it in the fridge.
Get the Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe and nutrition info from The Wholesome Dish.
10. The Best Classic Chicken Salad
"Rotisserie chicken is a great solution when you don't want to turn on the oven," Blatner says. This quick-and-easy chicken salad would be especially scrumptious served on top of a huge hydrating salad with some multi-seed crackers on the side.
Consider swapping out half the mayo for low-fat Greek yogurt for a dose of protein and probiotics, Blatner says.
Get The Best Classic Chicken Salad recipe and nutrition info from Amanda’s Easy Recipes.
11. Cream Cheese Italian Pinwheels
These lip-smacking pinwheels — conveniently packed with pre-sliced deli meat — provide the perfect high-protein, no-cook solution.
If you're looking to minimize the meat, simply pile your pinwheels with more hydrating greens. Blatner suggests going with darker greens like spinach or shredded kale for additional nutrients. To slash saturated fat, you can even substitute healthier hummus or mashed avocado for the cream cheese, she adds.
Get the Cream Cheese Italian Pinwheels recipe and nutrition info from Amanda’s Easy Recipes.
12. Curry Chicken Salad
Savory curry powder mixed with sweet grapes is a delectable delight for your mouth. "Fresh grapes add fewer calories, less sugar and more hydration than the usual dried fruit added to many other chicken salad recipes," Blatner says.
Other water-rich veggies like celery and bell pepper make this satisfying chicken salad uber hydrating while the use of Greek yogurt instead of mayo gives your gut a healthy boost of probiotics, Blatner says.
Get the Curry Chicken Salad recipe and nutrition info from Love & Zest.
13. Strawberry Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette
When summer has you pining for fresh produce, look no further than this crowd-pleasing strawberry salad. This simple salad will satisfy your sweet tooth, supply hydration and boost your vitamin C levels, Blatner says.
For an even better-balanced meal, add a little quinoa, chickpeas or grilled chicken, Blatner recommends.
Get the Strawberry Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
14. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad With Grapes
This tasty chicken salad uses shredded rotisserie chicken, which is a total time saver in the kitchen, and minimizes mayo by substituting with Greek yogurt. Since lemon-flavored yogurt will likely contain added sugar, consider ditching the honey to keep sugars to a minimum, Blatner says.
Serve this healthier chicken salad on a beautiful bed of greens and colorful veggies for extra hydration and fullness.
Get the Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad With Grapes recipe and nutrition info from Love & Zest.
15. No-Cook Spicy Tofu
"This recipe couldn't be easier — the tofu marinates to soak up the flavors without cooking," Blatner says. And there are oodles of flavor being absorbed from spicy chili, salty soy sauce and tart lime juice to roasted peanuts, grated ginger, minced garlic and chopped cilantro.
"It's the perfect plant-based protein to pair with a hydrating bowl of fresh zucchini and/or carrot noodles," Blatner says. "Bonus: The extra heat/spice in the sauce will stimulate your body's natural cooling system," she adds.
Get the No-Cook Spicy Tofu recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
16. Waldorf Chicken Salad Wrap
When it's too hot to heat up the oven, turn to this sweet and savory Waldorf chicken salad wrap. With the mix of mayo and Greek yogurt, this recipe is a lighter twist on the typical mayo-only chicken salad, Blatner says.
Chopped apple and arugula increase the nutrition, fiber and hydration of this mouthwatering meal while sliced almonds add a satisfying crunch and healthy fats.
Get the Waldorf Chicken Salad Wrap recipe and nutrition info from Love & Zest.
17. Tuna Stuffed Avocado
This tasty tuna-stuffed avocado recipe dishes up a lot of nutrition with very little effort (only 5 minutes of prep time).
"Serving tuna salad on an avocado instead of bread doubles the hydration factor of this meal," not to mention it cuts carbs, if that's one of your goals, Blatner says. Avocado also adds filling fiber and healthy fats to keep you extra satisfied.
Get the Tuna Stuffed Avocado recipe and nutrition info from Love & Zest.
18. Southern Canned Chicken Salad
This simple Southern-inspired chicken salad comes together in one bowl in 5 minutes or less. Using canned chicken cuts out cooking completely and saves you from sweating over a stove.
While the recipe already calls for water-rich celery, serving this chicken salad on a heap of greens will heighten hydration. And if you crave crunchy croutons, crumble flax seed crackers on top, Blatner recommends.
Get the Southern Canned Chicken Salad recipe and nutrition info from Love & Zest.
19. Fuji Apple Salad
"It can be hard to know how to make a big pile of good-for-you, hydrating salad greens feel special, but this recipe does just that," Blatner says. Apples are 84 percent water (talk about hydration!), plus they provide filling fiber and natural sweetness.
"Making your own quick salad dressing is a great idea since you have more control over the quality of ingredients you are using," Blatner says. This recipe's homemade balsamic vinaigrette blends a handful of pantry staples such as olive oil, honey and minced garlic.
Get the Fuji Apple Salad recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
20. Curried Avocado Egg Salad
If you have a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, put together this rich, creamy and robust avocado egg salad. Spicy curry adds anti-inflammatory support while using avocado instead of mayo increases fiber, healthy fats and essential nutrients like vitamins C and E, Blatner says.
This egg-cellent salad would go great with a whole-grain wrap or pita jampacked with plenty of hydrating spring greens and juicy tomatoes.
Get the Curried Avocado Egg Salad recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
21. Vegan Chicken Salad
Just because you don't do dairy or meat doesn't mean you can't enjoy a version of chicken salad. This vegan variety of chicken salad is stuffed with plant-based protein like tofu and almonds and doused with a delectable homemade dressing of dairy-free mayo, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil.
From fresh herbs like parsley and dill (both boasting 85 percent water) to hydrating celery and onions, this salad will help you replenish the fluids you lose on hot summer days, Blatner says.
Get the Vegan Chicken Salad recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.