Editor’s note: “It’s summertime and the livin’s easy…” Ah, one of my favourite songs for my favourite season. Here’s a post to go with it from my favourite guest blogger (who just happens to be a cookbook author) about staying cool in the summer with healthy food and drink!
During summer afternoons, staying cool takes top priority whether it’s in the comfort of air conditioning or taking a dip in the pool. But you can also indulge in food and drink that keeps you cool!
Since heat can be dehydrating, opt for foods with high water content (like watermelon and cucumber) and easy to digest. Here are a few summer meal ideas and variations to keep you cool when it’s hot outside.
Hearty vegetables and fruits are a staple in my diet, especially in the heat of summer.
Vegetable salads. Whether you’re home or out-and-about, don’t just stick with romaine or iceberg lettuce, change it up with arugula, watercress or mesclun (a mix of young greens). Make sure to get your protein by adding cheese, fish, chicken or legumes like chickpeas.
Fruit salads are easy to make, colorful and simply refreshing especially when you complement it with tangy dressings like citrus or ginger-mint.
Another way to stay cool at noon is with a bowl of chilled soup. It’s a great way of meeting your vegetable quota and is most palette-pleasing when seasoned with flavorful herbs and spices. Some of my favorites include tomato soup, cucumber soup, red lentil soup and gazpacho.
Consider liquid lunches when you’re not really hungry but thirstier. All you need are fresh fruits and vegetables, a juicer or blender and you’re set!
I seek out chilled fresh fruit or vegetable juices and smoothies. These drinks pack a nutritional punch as well as quench thirst.
There are so many choices when it comes to fruit juice – classic lemonade, mango, blueberry, guava, apple and pineapple or combining fruits to make your own concoction. Since fruits are naturally sweet, I don’t add sugar but if you need a sweetener try brown sugar or agave.
Vegetable juices that recharge me include beet, tomato or carrot. Even a combination of fruits and vegetables make for a refreshing twist of textures and flavors (try 3 carrots, 1 apple, 2-3 celery sticks and 1 orange – all peeled, chopped and then juiced).
Live Lighter has a wide assortment of blended green meals that make light and nutritious liquid meals.
Smoothies are typically high in fiber, low in fat, and loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Like juices, smoothies can be made with fruits or vegetables or both, and require just a few other ingredients:
- Thickener – such as ice, yogurt or ice cream
- Liquid – such as low-fat or soy milk or juice
- Flavor enhancers are optional – such as cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract
- Popular additives that also help cool you down – including ginger, peppermint and cilantro
So whether you are at a smoothie bar or at home, relish in the endless varieties of smoothies. Peruse the smoothie recipes here on Live Lighter and check out www.smoothieweb.com for a collection of delicious recipes.
Try this recipe for Mango Smoothie. May these helpful tips keep you cool this summer and quench your thirst. Cheers to your health!
Mango Swirl Smoothie
The tangy-sweet taste of mangoes makes this light, healthy, and easy-to-make smoothie a great thirst quencher. (Click here to watch Bindu make this yummy smoothie.)
Mango Swirl SmoothiePrint This
- 1 1/2 c. 2% milk
- 8 oz. vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped (or 1 c. frozen mango)
- 1/8–1/4 c. sugar (optional, depends on the sweetness of the mango)
- Garnish: 4 fresh mint leaves
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender fitted with a steel blade. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into tall glasses with ice cubes; garnish with mint leaves and serve.
About the Author
Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.