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Five easy, breezy no-cook go-tos for when you just can't face turning your oven on.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD
August 24, 2015

Baby, it’s HOT outside! When it feels like a sauna outdoors, the last thing you want to tuck into is a warm dish, and you most certainly don’t want to heat up your kitchen. Trouble is, chilled meals can be far more caloric than you might expect. A chicken Cobb salad, for example, can pack nearly 700 calories, a chicken Caesar wrap 600, and just one spicy tuna roll (not including the sides) can contain 400. (Bummer.)

But don't fret. If you’re looking to keep it light, but your usual healthy options require slaving over a hot burner, I have some tricks and recipes for you.

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First some tips

Before we get to the recipes, I have some general rules for creating healthy, no-cook meals on the fly. During the summer, I advise stocking your freezer with healthy frozen ingredients, including greens, fruit, shrimp, and organic corn. You can also store canned tuna, beans, and chickpeas in the fridge rather than the pantry, so they’ll be chilled and ready to eat. And finally, the key to keeping meals slim is to choose healthy condiments as seasoning. I recommend balsamic vinegar, mustard, and tahini, rather than fatty dressings like ranch or mayonnaise.

Now, check out five of my easy, breezy no-cook go-tos. None of these tops 365 calories, and each one is satisfying—and ultra refreshing.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

In a small bowl, combine three ounces of chunk light tuna (canned in water, drained) with a half teaspoon of minced garlic, one teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, two teaspoons of Dijon or spicy brown mustard, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon of dried Italian herb seasoning. Place the tuna mixture over two cups of mixed greens, and top with a half cup of chickpeas (canned, drained and rinsed) and a quarter of a ripe Hass avocado, diced.

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Spicy Shrimp and Corn Gazpacho

In a large bowl combine one and a half cups (12 ounces) of chilled low-sodium 100% tomato juice or a 100% tomato-based vegetable juice with 1 small diced vine-ripened tomato, one quarter cup each minced green bell pepper and cucumber, two tablespoons minced red onion, one tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro, and one teaspoon each minced garlic and jalapeno. Top with a half-cup frozen organic corn and three ounces of frozen pre-cooked, cleaned shrimp (thaw the corn and shrimp by running them separately under cold water in a colander). Garnish with a quarter of a ripe Hass avocado, diced.

Cannellini Bean Basil Balsamic Lettuce Boats

In a small bowl whisk together one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with one tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon of minced garlic, one eighth teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a half teaspoon of dried Italian herb seasoning. Toss a half cup of chilled cannellini beans (canned, drained and rinsed) in the seasoned oil, spoon into three large Romaine leaves, and garnish each with one chopped fresh basil leaf.

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Tahini Egg Salad

Place two level tablespoons of tahini in a small bowl. Stir in one teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a half teaspoon of minced garlic, and one-eighth teaspoon each cayenne pepper and cumin. Chop one whole hard-boiled egg and the whites of three other hard-boiled eggs and toss in the tahini. Serve with a plate of one half-cup each carrot and celery sticks for scooping.

Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie

Fill a blender with a half-cup each frozen pitted cherries and frozen kale, one cup unsweetened coconut milk, two tablespoons non-Dutched (non-alkalized) cocoa powder, half a tablespoon chia seeds, one scoop of unsweetened pea protein powder, and a half tablespoon raw organic honey. Whip until smooth and dive in.

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What’s your take on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the New York Yankees MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Cynthia is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, and her brand new book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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