When it's hot and humid outside, it makes you want to eat very refreshing foods and meals. Foods like beef stew, meat loaf and mashed potatoes, or chicken soup are probably not very appetizing during a heat wave. The good news is that there are many foods and cooking methods that can help you cool off a little more during the summer. Plan your meals and snacks with foods that hydrate and don't need a lot of preparation. This will make it much easier to survive the heat of the season.
Part 1 of 3: Incorporating Foods That Moisturize
Step 1. Eat cucumber
Focusing on foods that hydrate during the summer can help you feel more refreshed on hot days. Cucumber is a great vegetable, which contains a lot of water and helps to cool down.
- Cucumber is 95% water. Just one cup of the sliced vegetable provides the same amount of water as a 240ml cup. Remember that water from food also counts in your total daily fluid intake.
- Eat raw cucumber in summer. After cooking it (or any other vegetable), a good part of the moisture and water is lost.
- You can use it in a variety of ways during this season. Slice to make infused water, eat it raw with a delicious little sauce, make a creamy cucumber salad or even a cold cucumber soup.
Step 2. Mix food with mint
Mint is an herb that is also very refreshing during the heat of summer. Although this plant does not provide much moisture, it does feel refreshing when you consume it.
- Eating mint tricks the brain, making it feel cold (even when the mint isn't cold). Methanol is the compound in the herb responsible for connecting nerve receptors in the mouth that sense the cold.
- The herb also helps to quench thirst. Along with a cold drink (such as ice water with cucumber), the herb satisfies thirst much more quickly than water at room temperature. This is a great tip for the summer!
- As you might not want to eat pure mint, try mixing it with other foods. Add to water, mix the chopped herb into a fruit salad or a cold bean and beet salad.
Step 3. Try eating green vegetables
Like cucumbers, green vegetables are extremely moisturizing as they have a high water content. Plus, crunchy veggies hardly need to be cooked and can be eaten raw, perfect for a hot summer day.
- Any type of lettuce (such as iceberg lettuce), cabbage, spinach or kale has a high water content. In general, these vegetables are composed of 93% (sometimes more) water.
- If eating leafy vegetables, choose darker ones, which are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, K and A compared to lighter ones like iceberg lettuce.
- Lettuce and leafy green vegetables are perfect for a summer salad. You can also use lettuce to wrap a sandwich instead of using bread or tortillas. Mix in leaves, such as spinach or kale, to make a delicious smoothie.
Step 4. Eat celery
You can understand why spicy chicken wings are served with celery. The vegetable is very rich in water and refreshes the mouth quickly. It's also great for treating reflux.
- When you bite into the celery, it's easy to see how juicy the vegetable is, as it is made up of more than 95% water.
- Over time, the vegetable gained a reputation for not containing many nutrients. But actually, it has a fair amount of fiber, folate, vitamin A, C and K.
- Serve the clean, cut stalks with sliced cucumber and your favorite gravy to create a super-hydrating snack. Another option is to make a raw celery salad or a spicy celery sauce to serve with potato chips.
Step 5. Consume yogurt
Perhaps you only think of vegetables and fruits as a source of moisturizing fluids; however, dairy products such as yogurt (and even milk) are also great sources of water.
- Whether Greek yogurt or regular, this creamy snack is made up of around 85% water.
- In addition, yogurt is a great source of protein, electrolytes, calcium and vitamin D. It is also a good summer food, as it is consumed cold straight from the refrigerator.
- In addition to eating plain yogurt straight from the container, you can also put frozen fruit on top (for an even frostier touch), puree frozen fruit and freeze to make popsicles, or you can make frozen yogurt.
Part 2 of 3: Planning Summer Meals
Step 1. Enjoy summer fruits
Summer is a great time for a variety of fruits. Avoid buying canned or frozen fruit and buy fresh and local (sometimes cheaper).
- Not only are fruits a healthy and nutritious food group (they are known to be rich in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants), but many are also very hydrating and contain a lot of water.
- Fruits like watermelon, grapefruit, peaches and berries are all known for their high water content and can cool you and keep you hydrated during the hot summer months.
- Incorporate one or two servings of summer fruit into your daily diet. Measure out about half a cup or a small piece per serving.
- Eat raw or mixed fruit in a salad, mix chopped berries with a spinach salad, or puree to create a smoothie for breakfast or homemade ice cream.
Step 2. Include a variety of summer vegetables in your diet
Like fruits, summer also offers a good variety of vegetables. Whether lettuce, tomato or cucumber, the summer harvest provides foods that are easy to incorporate into the diet to fight the heat.
- The coolest thing about summer vegetables is that they are a little cheaper and you don't always have to cook them for a long time. Many are delicious raw or just a little cooked.
- Incorporate summer vegetables into barbecues. You can place vegetables such as sliced zucchini, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms on a hot grill and serve them with a delicious, nutritious side dish. Another option is to mix the vegetables with a little olive oil, wrap them in aluminum foil and roast them on the barbecue.
- Consume between three and four servings of vegetables daily. Eat one cup of vegetables and two cups of salad per serving. Try recipes like: a raw tomato, cucumber and onion salad, a caprese salad with sliced raw tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil, or a cold salad of onion, black olive, pepper and cucumber.
Step 3. Plan a spicy meal
You may not think spicy foods are ideal for a hot summer day; however, many scientists claim that eating spicy foods is actually a perfect solution for a hot day.
- Studies have shown that when spicy foods are eaten, they initially feel hot. After a few minutes, you start sweating in your head, ears, neck, and face, which is called gustatory sweating.
- Sweat is how the body naturally cools down. So even if you initially taste the spicy taste in your mouth and become hot, eventually your body will cool down. This is even more true if you're in front of a fan or in the wind, as you feel cooler air on damp skin.
- The perfect spicy foods for a hot summer day include: parsley and potato chips, chilled and spicy gazpacho or a spicy cucumber salad.
Step 4. Drink the proper fluids
While there are many different types of foods, and combinations that help fight the summer heat and cool the body, it's also important to focus on the fluids you're taking in on hot days.
- Most people need a minimum of eight glasses of fluid a day; however, during hot months, you may need 13 cups or more, depending on how hard you are sweating.
- Drinking continuously throughout the day, in addition to eating hydrating fruits and vegetables, is the best way to stay hydrated and quench your thirst during these hottest days.
- Consume hydrating fluids that are low in calories (or none) as they are also more nutritious. Drink plain or infused water, sparkling water, flavored water, decaffeinated iced tea or coffee. You can also try drinking milk, as dairy foods also have a high concentration of water.
- Avoid alcohol. While margaritas and summer beers are delicious, alcohol quickly dehydrates the body. Be careful with consumption during the hottest days.
- Limit your consumption of sugary drinks such as lemonade, juice, soda, fruit punch, iced caffeinated beverages and sweet tea. The sugar in these drinks increases the caloric content, and if you overdose when you're hot, your caloric intake will be huge without you even noticing.
Step 5. Plan the right time of day to eat
Although summer is very hot and humid, there are certain times of the day when things get a little colder. A good idea is to eat larger meals or those containing hot, cooked foods at these times.
- Sometimes it's normal not to feel like eating a large meal when you're hot. Think of other, more refreshing times of the day when you would most like to eat.
- It usually gets cooler in the morning. Eat a bigger breakfast so you can eat a smaller, lighter portion for lunch when the heat is on.
- Nights are also cooler. Maybe you can eat more and feel more comfortable eating after sunset.
- It may also be easier to have smaller meals or snacks throughout the day. Sometimes, when you eat a big meal, you end up feeling hotter. Try eating six small meals a day to solve this problem.
Part 3 of 3: Cooking During the Summer Heat
Step 1. Warm up the barbecue
Barbecuing is a popular method of cooking in summer. The weather is fine, the sun is shining outside and you can also enjoy your meal outside.
- Although this is a method that uses high temperatures, if you are using an outdoor grill, the heat will dissipate into the air around you.
- Grills, grills or grills used indoors can heat up the entire kitchen, which will make your house even warmer. With these instruments, you still need to heat the stove to a high level to be able to cook food well.
- Roasting on the barbecue allows you to cook anything you like without having to light the oven. You can cook whole chicken, make hamburgers, roast vegetables, make baked potatoes or even sweet desserts (like baked apples) - all without having to light the oven or the stove.
Step 2. Use the stove
If you don't have the luxury of using an outdoor grill, you'll still need to use the stove to cook indoors. Avoid the oven and use only the stove for cooking.
- You may notice a slight increase in the temperature of the kitchen when using the stove, but it will still be much smaller than turning on the oven and deciding to roast a whole chicken or roast potatoes.
- Avoid baking desserts or foods. This cooking method requires you to heat up the oven and keep it warm for a long time. This can make your house or apartment very hot and harder to cool.
- To speed up cooking on the stove and minimize cooking heat, try: Slicing food into smaller pieces, using thinner or smaller cuts of meat or chicken, and covering the pan or pan to trap the heat.
Step 3. Choose cold foods that don't need cooking at all
If you can, try to focus on foods and meals that are served cold or do not need to be cooked (or for a short time). That way, you and your home will be cooler during these hot months.
- Use foods and recipes that don't need a stove or just need quick cooking, reducing heat dissipated by the kitchen.
- Cold foods can include: cold salads (tuna or chicken salad), green salads; cold vegetable salads (beans or beets); iced soups; yogurt or cottage cheese with berries.
- Try to prepare meals that don't need to be cooked or that need little cooking. Make sandwiches, scrambled eggs on toast, roast chicken or steak in a salad, soba noodle salad with raw vegetables, salty cracker with cheese and ham or turkey, or a poached egg in a spinach salad.
Step 4. Keep the kitchen cool
Try to find a good method to keep the kitchen cool in summer. This will help you prepare meals during the hot months without getting too hot.
- If your kitchen has windows, leave them open to allow more air to circulate. Open windows on opposite sides for more efficient ventilation.
- Use a portable fan to circulate air around the kitchen. You can also position it towards a window or to expel warm air from that location.
- If you need to use the oven to bake something, try to use it early in the morning, when the weather is even cooler, avoiding overheating the kitchen during the hottest times of day.
- Summer is very hot, but it's a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. They rarely need to be cooked.
- Regardless of the types of food you are looking to consume in the summer, always drink the proper amount of fluids.
- Cook outdoors on the barbecue. That way, your house will be cooler in this hot season.
- Look for culinary inspiration in the hottest parts of the world. Spain has a great tradition of cold soups like gazpacho.