20 Amazing No-Cook Summer Meal Ideas for Your Circadian Rhythm

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

Are you looking for no cook meal ideas paleo? When it’s hot outside (like our lovely 115 degree heat), sometimes the LAST thing you want to do is cook a hot meal. Not only do warm foods (like stews, soups, or roasted, sautéed baked meats and veggies) NOT sound good, but your body’s natural circadian rhythms also don’t crave them.

Here’s how your circadian rhythms work and how to listen to them and eat for the season.




Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal 24-hour clock clock—in touch with lightness, darkness, times of day, and seasons. 

Beyond just knowing mentally that the time is 7 a.m. or 10 p.m., or that it’s summer or winter, our body is hard-wired to physically experience these times and seasons differently, and tell you what it needs. For instance, telling you it’s time to “wake up” at 7 a.m., or telling you it’s time to “go to bed” at 10 p.m.

However, circadian rhythms not only influence your sleep-wake cycles. Your circadian rhythms also influence hormone balances, body temperature, cell function, eating habits and digestion. 

In a given day, your body’s circadian rhythm dictates when you have more energy, less energy, when your hungry, when your full, what kind of foods it wants, when it needs love or connection, when it needs alone time, when it feels creative, when it feels constipated, cleansed, thirsty, and beyond!


Unfortunately, we live in a modern world where everything is working against our circadian rhythm function.

  • We no longer rise with the sun as our “alarm clock,” we bolt out of bed to a loud siren at 5:30 or 6 a.m.
  • We drink coffee to “make it through” the day. 
  • We eat in the car on the go—rushing our digestion.
  • We live our lives behind blaring LED screens—telling our brains to wake up all day long
  • We eat the same things day in and day out, or eat berries in the winter, and eat hearty winter squashes in the summer. 

—Modern day definitely works against our circadian rhythms. 

However, despite any stressors we experience—our body is still naturally hard wired to act certain ways at different times of day, and need certain foods or stimulations at certain times of day.

For years humans have tried to explain and further understand the complexities of what our body’s are telling us—all day long. 


No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

Chinese medicine divides the 24-hour day into certain hours devoted to different body systems—during which your body is at it’s peak function. 

Deep sleep, detox blood, rest and recovery, planning.

Deep sleep, dreams and memory, detox lungs.

Wake up, release bowels, meditate.

Breakfast, good concentration, walk.

Clear thinking, spleen converts, food to Qi.

Blood circulation, high energy, eat lunch.

Sort and absorb food, low energy, nap time.

Energy restored, liquid waste released, work and study.

Store nutrients, build bone marrow, suppertime.

Protection, light reading, sex, self love.

Endocrine and metabolic balancing, getting sleep.

Sleep, release bile, cellular repair, build blood cells.


Similar to Chinese medicine, Aryuvedic philosophy also divides the day into times when your body feels “strength, heavy, earthy, grounded” (Kapha), “less gusto, lower energy, and/or weaker” (Vata), and “hot, sharp, firey” (Pitta). 

Energetic Times of Day: 10pm-2am and 10am-2pm are considered Pitta times of the day

Relaxed Times of Day: 

Relaxed or “Weaker” Times of Day: 2am-6am and 2pm-6pm are considered Vata times of the day

More Grounded” Times of Day: 6am-10am and 6pm-10pm are considered Kapha times of the day


The desire for cooler foods in the heat of the summer is biological need—in touch with your body’s seasonal circadian rhythm. 

Just like you naturally crave hearty warm foods like roasts, chili and cornbread, hearty veggies, broths or meat and potatoes in the winter, our body’s naturally crave more juices, fresh fruits, crunchy and crispy vegetables, salads, cooler meats and lighter meals in the summer. 

In fact, if you want an idea of the “best foods” for your body during different times of year, look no further than the foods that are local and “in season.” The spring and summer months are all about tons of fresh fruits and veggies—from watermelon, to cucumbers, celery, juicy tomatoes, berries, peaches, leafy greens, and beyond, these “cool” foods are in touch with the rhythms of the earth and your body. 

Not in the mood to stay inside and cook in a hot kitchen during the dog days of summer?

No sweat. 

Try one of these simple 20 delicious no cook meal ideas paleo for hot summer days— real food. 

20 Delicious Simple, Cool No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo for Hot Summer Days

Most of these meals require minimal or no-cooking at all. One simple “meal prep” day of 1-2 hours is recommended to prepare roasted veggies, sweet potatoes and meats to keep cooled—on hand—in the fridge ALL week long. Take 1-2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to prep a few things while doing laundry, cleaning, working or other things around the house, then let the eating happen all week long. You can eat your previously cooked foods served cold, and appeal to your body’s natural desires for “cool” things.

Simple 1-2 Hour Weekly Meal Prep

No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

Here are a few of my favorite things to whip up in that 1-2 hour time frame:

Baked Chicken: 400 degrees. Season with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, optional seasonings (coconut aminos, Balsamic vinegar or dijon mustard). Bake 35-50 minutes until no longer pink.

Stovetop Burgers. Combine 1 lb. ground meat with 1 tbsp. coconut aminos, 1/2 tsp sea salt &pepper, 1 tsp. garlic & onion powder. Mix and form into patties (4). Cook on stove top until no longer pink in middle. 

Baked Fish: 400-degrees. Season with lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and any herbs or dijon mustard. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Sweet Potatoes/Squashes. 400 degrees. Wash potatoes or chop winter squash in half to discard seeds. Wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes until cook

Roast Veggies: 400-degrees. Wash and chop veggies of choice. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Cook for 45-60 minutes.

Sauteed Greens. 1 Bunch Greens or Boxed Greens. Put 1 tbsp. Ghee or Coconut oil in your pan. Add greens. Add sea salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium low heat. Stir occasionally. (Also keep 2-4 large containers of pre-washed greens or dark leafy greens on hand at all times). 

Hardboiled Eggs: PLACE 1 dozen pastured eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boili. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan. DRAIN immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.

Bonus: Lazy Chef
Not feeling the meal prep thing? No sweat! There are so many no cook meal ideas paleo to choose from.

Order pre-prepped meals or foods, like chicken breast, grass-fed steak, turkey burgers and hardboiled eggs from Trifecta Nutrition’s “A La Carte” Food selection, or pre-prepped meals from Pete’s Paleo.  

The Simple No Cook  Meal Ideas Paleo for Summer

1. Pulled Chicken Salad: Leafy Greens, Pulled Chicken (Rotisserie, served cold), Avocado, Cold Roasted Summer Squash, Olives

2. Tuna Salad: Canned Wild Tuna (or chicken), Avocado Mayo, Celery or Cucumber (chopped), Dried Cranberries, Chopped Walnuts

3. Sunshine Salmon: Canned Wild Caught Salmon, Grapefruit, Handful Macadamia Nuts

4. Snacky Meal: Hardboiled Eggs, Deli Turkey (organic), Cucumbers & Paleo Ranch  

5. SimpleSandwich” Wrap: Collard Greens, Deli Meat, Avocado or Avocado Mayo, Sauerkraut, Tomatoes

6. Simple Chicken & Veggies: Roasted Chicken (served cold), Butternut Squash (served cold) Broccoli or Green Beans (flash cook in microwave if you must), Paleo Cesar  

7. Taco Salad: Dark Leafy Greens, Taco Meat (served cooled), Guacamole, Grass-fed Goat Cheese, Cold Roasted Summer Squash

8. Stuffed Sweet Potato: Cook & Cooled Sweet Potato, Leftover Taco Meat, Dark Leafy Greens, Coconut Butter

9. Grown-Up Lunchable: Turkey or Roast Beef Rollups, Celery & Sunbutter, Coconut Flakes, Piece of Fruit or Berries

10. “Cauliflower Rice Bowl”: Cauliflower or Cauliflower Rice (served cold), Ground Bison or Turkey (cook in coconut aminos, served cooled), Guacamole, Dark Leafy Greens, Chopped Tomatoes

11. Turkey Wrapped Melon: Watermelon or Melon slices wrapped with Turkey, Cucumber & Baby Carrots, Paleo Ranch

12. Shrimp Kebabs: Peel & Eat Shrimp, Veggie Skewers (bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, baby tomatoes), Coconut Cauliflower Rice (flash pan fry in avocado oil, and serve with coconut flakes on top) 

13. “Cheesy” Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti Squash (previously roasted), Paleo Mayo, Shredded Chicken, Wilted Dark Leafy Greens, Olives, Turmeric 

14. Salmon or Halibut with Pineapple Salsa: Baked Herb Crusted Salmon or Halibut, Salsa (Diced Pineapples, Cilantro, Juice of 1 Lime, Chopped Red Onion), Lemon Roasted Asparagus, Herb Carrots

15. Fish Tacos: Baked Cod, Collard Green Wrap, Guacamole (lime, avocado, sea salt, garlic powder), Sweet potato Fries (previously roasted) 

16. Farmer’s Market Salads: If you want more  no cook meal ideas paleo, throw the best of the best into these salad combos

No Cook Meal Ideas Paleo

    • Beet Salad: Greens, Steamed Beets, Goat Cheese, Chicken, Balsamic Vinegar
    • Steak Salad: Flank Steak, Greens, Paleo Cesar, Strawberries, Broccoli
    • Chopped Salad: Romaine, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Canned Wild Caught Tuna, Hardboiled Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Paleo Italian Dressing, Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Basil Salad: Spinach, Basil, Olive Oil & Vinegar, Chicken, Olives, Roasted Zucchini, Avocado, Black Pepper
    • Kitchen Sink Salad: Chicken or Shrimp, Greens, Leftover Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Avocado Mayo, Leftover Crispy Brussels sprouts, Roasted Yellow Squash, Apple Cider Vinegar


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