With temperatures well into the upper 90s and even the 100s, for days on end, it leaves most of wondering if it will ever end!! I for one do not take to heat well and do anything I can to stay in the air conditioning and prevent myself from melting. When dinnertime rolls around, I cringe at the thought of turning on the stove or grill to create more heat. Here is Your Secret Ingredient guide to no-cook recipes and beating the heat.
Why have you done a good thing?
During a heat wave, it is easy to let yourself get overheated and dehydrated. Heat can cause illness when sweating simply isn’t powerful enough to cool your body down. If it is very humid that day, sweat from your body will not evaporate as quickly, preventing your body from releasing heat. Take special care of children, the elderly, if you take prescription medications, and if you choose to exercise outside. Tips to beat the heat:
1) Exercise during the coolest parts of the day or inside. Overly exerting yourself during the warmest parts of the day can lead to dehydration or heat stroke. Exercise either very early in the morning, inside with air-conditioning, or late in the evening.
2) Reduce your activity levels if you are going to be outside. If you work outside or will be on your feet outdoors during the day, take it easy and don’t push yourself. Take breaks and find shade.
3) Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, which means you are already dehydrated. Try to drink a glass of water every couple of hours or as much as you can. If outside and exercising, drink 2-4 glasses of water every hour. Don’t drink caffeinated or sugary drinks. Limit your caffeine intake and stick to unsweetened beverages as caffeine and sugar can make you more dehydrated.
4) Snack on fruits and veggies. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as well they contain lots of hydrating fluids! Try snacking on frozen grapes or berries for a refreshing snack.
And when it is hot, no one wants to cook, right? But no need for take-out! Here are some great no (or little) cook easy recipes for when it’s hot (or when it’s not):
1) Greek salad pita pockets – Inspired by a fantastic salad from Forty Carrots restaurant in Bloomingdales, make a chopped salad with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red onion, a few pieces of feta cheese, sliced rotisserie chicken, and a light dressing made with olive oil and lemon juice. Use whole-wheat pita pockets and made salad sandwiches!
2) Bruschetta salad – Using a few pieces of fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, cubed day-old crusty bread, fresh basil, and spinach, make a great salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil!
3) Breakfast for dinner – Make a veggie omelet with whole wheat toast or a side of scrambled eggs with a toasted whole wheat English muffin, low-fat veggie cream cheese, and a slice of smoked salmon (lox).
4) Black bean soft tacos
4 whole-wheat soft tortillas
1 cup of salsa
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken, optional
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 bag of frozen corn, defrosted
Separate tortillas onto individual plates. Spread salsa on each tortilla. Add a little bit of each other ingredient evenly onto each tortilla, using a ¼ of an avocado for each taco. Wrap and enjoy!
Try these other ideas from cookinglight.com as well!
Stay cool everyone!
--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN