No matter what part of Australia you live in, this summer has been a scorcher – and it looks like there may be a few more ‘hot’ days to come. Sometimes you may not feel like eating when it’s ‘sauna-like’ outside, but it’s important that you do simply because you run the risk of becoming deficient in vitamins and minerals. Not only that, you have to ‘feed’ your body to keep your metabolism burning energy – food deprivation can lead to a slowing down of your metabolism which increases your chance of gaining weight. Here are some great ideas that will help to keep you cool on the inside:
- Salads: This is an obvious suggestion however if you find salad ‘boring’ then you need to change from the usual ‘lettuce, tomato and cucumber’. Be sure to use a lot of fresh herbs in your salad to vary the taste. Don’t use commercial salad dressing either: make your own using olive oil, balsamic and garlic.
- Veggie sticks and salsa: If you have friends coming over for dinner, this is a great starter on a hot night. Make ‘veggie sticks’ from carrot, cucumber and capsicum and keep them stored in cold water in the fridge until serving – then just drain the water away and arrange on the platter. The veggies will be cold, crisp and retain their high water content – perfect for a balmy summer night (not to mention a healthy snack for kids on school holidays too!)
- Summer soups: Chilled soups are a perfect summer meal, particularly if the heat has robbed you of your appetite. Gazpacho is particularly good – full of vitamin-packed vegetables, low fat and delicious.
- Fruit kebabs: A favourite for dessert on a balmy summer evening. If you are preparing the kebabs in advance, make sure you squeeze lemon juice over each one (to stop the fruit from ‘browning’) and keep chilled until you are ready to serve. Sprinkle some finely chopped mint leaves over the kebabs to add an extra ‘zing’.
Your best weapon against the heat is to stay hydrated – and water is the top choice due to being the best thirst quencher and being totally calorie free! Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres a day to prevent dehydration, as you sweat much more in summer, so it is very important to replace the water you lose.