7 ways to stay cool, eat well, and save money this summer

Photo Credit: Muffet/Flickr 

I wilt in the heat; maybe it’s because I don’t live in very hot weather the majority of the year and my body doesn’t ever have much time to adjust. Regardless, this wilt-in-the-heat lady lives in a house now with no AC, and very bad air-flow, which is an unfortunate combination.

While we work to keep the house reasonably cool despite those facts, there have been times already this summer where our house has reached the upper 80’s, and has been pretty unbearable. (Related Content: Saving money when making salads, and How to enjoy nutrient-dense broth this summer).

It’s tempting to simply eat all of your meals out, but really that’s not in our budget and it’s hard to find really good food out on a budget as well. So I put together some ideas on how to stay cool and eat well at the same time.

Take advantage of summer’s bounty
Many of summer’s produce is both cooling and hydrating. Think cold watermelon, juicy tomatoes, and refreshing berries. On a really hot day, stick the fruit in the freezer for a super-cooling treat that takes very little work! Or you can make popsicles like these fruit salad ones, or my tropical version.  I love watermelon every way, including this Persian salad version. 

Cucumbers, greens, and other vegetables also can be delicious with no or little cooking when prepared in a yummy way, and really do seem to help keep you cool. I love this simple cucumber salad,  or this Summer Kale salad. for example.

Eat outdoors
If you also don’t have AC, I’ve found that eating outdoors, under the shade of a tree in a preferably forest-y area is much more comfortable. One very hot day, I loaded up with our lunch, snacks and lots of water, and headed to a nearby park that contained plenty of trees and shade. Not only is the shade cooling, but the type of natural plants that grew under the trees retained moisture, making it a cool place to be. We stayed there for 4 hours – a record for us! If you have a well shaded backyard, then even easier! Picnics at parks, the beach or mountains can bring a welcome relief from the glare of the sun.

Eat your heavy meals earlier in the day
While it’s important to continue to get good nutrition in, really warm weather can take away your appetite. Eating your heartier meals early in the day can really help ensure you are well nourished, plus it’s not so hot to work in your kitchen earlier in the day.

Use your slow cooker
Putting a meal in the slow cooker saves you from needing to heat up the kitchen later in the day. Put it in your basement or on the porch to keep it even cooler in the house.

Make smoothies
When I am too hot and tired to cook or eat, I’ve found making smoothies helpful in getting something in our stomachs, refreshing us, and plus they are simple to make.

Just buy some of your meal out
During our 90F plus week, I sometimes would grab a box of cooked organic white rice for the girls and then make a salad, and open a can of high-quality seafood for our dinner. Super simple and definitely not fancy, but certainly not as expensive as eating our whole meal out. Combining simple at-home recipes with a few “take-out” items could save you money, time, and make eating at home (preferably in the shade) more enjoyable.

Sleep during the heat; eat dinner at 7 or later
In some countries where it is common for it to be uncomfortably hot during the afternoon, they have long traditions of sleeping during the afternoon and then eating a late dinner once it has cooled down. While not all schedules would allow this, if you can swing it, a nap and a late dinner would be wonderful during the hot weeks.

Those are on my tips for eating well during the summer with no AC. I’d love to hear yours too!


The following two tabs change content below.
I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Latest posts by KimiHarris (see all)


  1. says

    I like the slow cooker idea. I’m in Seattle and almost melted one evening in my kitchen while doing a stovetop dinner and washing dishes in hot water.

    My tip: if you have to hand-wash dishes, use cooler water!

    • KimiHarris says

      Seattle is beautiful, by the way, as I am sure you know. 😉 True, tepid water helps…I was even taking rather cool showers and I HATE cold water showers.

  2. S says

    I do not have AC either. I live in rural Oklahoma……it is 102 INSIDE as I type this……record last year was 119. It is hotter inside than outside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *