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Beat the Summer Heat in the Kitchen

untitled-shoot_20140706-21Summer! A glorious time of fresh air, beaches, hikes through nature, and…sweltering heat and humidity? Often, the heat index in summer can discourage us from eating well because we just don’t want to cook! Here are some tips for beating the summer heat.

  1. Eat food in the raw!

If you don’t cook your food, you won’t have to suffer in a hot kitchen. Eat raw vegetables and fruits whenever you can so you’re still getting nutritious, whole foods without cooking. It’s the perfect way to take advantage of the delicious product that’s available during this time of year. Savor the flavor of mouth-popping blueberries, juicy peaches and plums, and decadent cherries. Munch on crispy carrots and fresh cucumbers mixed with dark leafy greens. Breakfast berries add color, chicken or tofu in a green salad for lunch ups the protein, and balsamic and olive oil drizzled on sliced tomatoes, red onion and cucumber as a dinner side dish ups the fancy ante. Keep foods fresh, crunchy, and chilled for the ultimate refreshment in the summer heat. Tip: For those spinach and other lettuce leaves and carrots that wilted and wimped out, toss in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let set for a few hours. They’ll plump back out!

  1. Cook in the great outdoors

There’s no reason why you need to be stuck in the kitchen. Take the food prep outside to the grill! To make a summertime burrito, grill some tofu or chicken, and bell peppers and onions wrapped in aluminum foil on the grill as well. You will end up with delicious fajita veggies to add to a whole-wheat wrap. Spoon fresh chilled salsa and avocado on top. Roll up and you have an easy hot weather meal!

  1. Pack a sandwich

Cold sandwiches in hot weather equal sheer pleasure. Use unprocessed sandwich meat, tuna, canned salmon, tofu, tempeh, or a veggie burger. Top with fresh greens, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments then bring your delicious creation to the beach or on a hike. Use an ice pack, and bring easy snacks like a small bag of nuts and a banana or peach.

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  1. Smooth moves!

A smoothie can be a delicious all-in-one meal no-cook meal! Place a couple of handfuls of spinach or romaine into the bottom of a blender, add 12 ounces of filtered water, almond milk or low-fat milk, and throw in whatever fruits you have – fresh or frozen like frozen berries, frozen mangoes, and frozen cherries. Add chia seeds or almonds for extra healthy fats and protein. Drink up!

  1. Stay hydrated

In the sweltering summer months, remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keep an insulated water bottle by your side to sip on throughout the day. Eat water-filled foods such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Brew unsweetened herbal iced tea. Make sure that you’re upping your fluid intake if you’re outside in the heat for an extended period of time or if you’re being particularly active.

Contributed by Louisa Paine, brand new and smart dietitian!

 

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