If you haven’t heard, it’s hot outside. Most of the country is experiencing a “Heat Wave” with temperatures soaring high and air quality dipping low. The country is covered in red – 43 States to be exact.
It’s officially the dog days of summer and we all can feel it. NBC Washington’s Tom Kierein said it best “You’ll feel like you’re covered in maple syrup today!” – Ha! Sounds fun. I’m sure the last thing you’re craving today is hot waffles!
Cool Down with Healthy Foods, Snacks, and Drinks
So what’s the best way to beat the heat? From popsicles to latte’s, seafood and nuts, all of these summertime favorites can be used to help keep your cool.
I was on Let’s Talk Live D.C. sharing some of my top food and beverage tips — no cooking required. Of course, my ideas are healthy too! Watch the full clip here.
Try Chilled Soup
No one wants to sip on hot soup when it’s 90 plus degrees outside, but a cold bowl of kiwi soup is just the right thing to cool you down. This recipe for chilled kiwi soup is the perfect summer twist on your traditional gazpacho. It’s only 100 calories per serving, made with simply cantaloupe, low-fat vanilla yogurt, and Zespri kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit is one of my favorite fruits because it is so nutrient dense. A serving contains more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana, and only 100 calories. Kiwifruit is ideal for any meal. You can use it anywhere you would use fruit or berries — salads, wraps, cereal, yogurt parfaits, smoothies.
“Cut and Scoop” to the Green Goodness
It’s so easy; all you do is cut the kiwifruit in half with a knife, and then scoop it out with your spoon. From here you can just eat it, slice it or dice it.
Chill Out with Frozen Kiwipops
A fun dessert to make with your kids is kiwifruit pops. They are so simple and really something the whole family will love. It’s just diced kiwifruit and 100% pineapple juice. This cold snack is so much healthier for you than your typical summer frozen treat. This version has no added sugar and the nutrition punch of two fruits.
Because Kiwifruit has a low glycemic index you don’t get that “sugar crash” and it is low in fat, so it’s a smart choice to include everyday. Plus, they are perfect for rehydrating and chilling out in the hot weather.
Try Chilled Seafood – Gulf Shrimp
Seafood is a great idea all year long, but especially in hot weather because there are many ways you can do it cold.
The best homegrown seafood comes from the Gulf Coast. One of my favorite summertime seafoods is shrimp. Shrimp is a lean protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. I love using wild-caught Gulp shrimp from the Gulf coast because it is always great quality and it is available year round.
A wonderful summer appetizer is Shrimp Ceviche. This cold dish is so light and really packs in the Gulf coast flavor. It’s also a great left over to use in salads or wraps for the following day. Another dish that embodies the Gulf coast flavor is Creole Stuffed Tomatoes. These tomatoes are filled with shrimp, a tiny bit of mayo, green onion, capers, lemon juice, and a kick of Creole seasoning. Paired with a cool beverage, these recipes are great for the summer to cool down after a hot day.
The recipe for Creole stuffed tomatoes was provided by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition and Mississippi Seafood. The recipe for Shrimp Ceviche was provided by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition and Alabama Seafood.
Drink Your Nutrients with Plant Based Beverages
Sometimes it’s so hot you may not even feel like eating, but you’d drink something to stay hydrated. It’s good to remember to look for drinks that can cool you down and give you some nourishment too. I love Silk because they have a wide variety of plant-based beverages to keep you cool. Silk carries a variety of products including almond milk, coconut milk and soymilk.
A Smoothie on the Go
Silk Fruit and Protein combines all of the benefits of soymilk and fruit in a refreshing summer beverage. This drink comes in mixed berry, strawberry and banana, and mango peach flavors. Just one cup of this “smoothie on-the-go” gives you full day’s supply of vitamin C and 5 grams of whole soy protein per serving. Another benefit is that it contains no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors or flavors.
If you love chocolate, you should try Silk chocolate soymilk available in regular and light. Chocolate soymilk is especially great for exercisers as a post-workout beverage that can help you refuel and recharge muscles, even better than sports drinks because they have the right ratio of carbohydrates and protein. Just make sure you workout indoors in the hottest time of day — if you’re outside like me, try 5-7 a.m. or 7-9 p.m. and bring your water.
Dark Chocolate Lovers Treat
Loving chocolate or “something sweet” for a snack? Try Silk dark chocolate pure almond– it’s rich, smooth, and only 100 calories per cup. With zero cholesterol or saturated fat and 50% more calcium than dairy milk, this drink is delicious and nutritious.
Silk also makes a great iced latte for all the coffee lovers out there. Available in vanilla and mocha flavors, it’s the perfect afternoon pick me up on a hot summer day. You can get your caffeine fix and a good source of soy protein in this delicious iced beverage.
Reach for Portable, Natural, and Convenient Pistachios
In these hot days, you’re sweating more, so actually those salty snacks can be an ally. But don’t reach for just anything. You should still choose a whole, natural food. Wonderful Pistachios are a satisfying no-fuss snack to curb cravings without compromising your healthy eating goals OR turning on the oven on these hot days.
In addition to sodium, you need potassium too. Roasted and salted pistachios have 300mg of potassium and about 130mg of sodium with only 2g of sugar per serving.
Wonderful Pistachios are complete with antioxidants that you can actually see in their green and purple colors, which is why they are called “the colorful nut”.
A Generous Portion Compared to Other Snacks
One serving of 49 pistachios has only 160 calories and a good source of protein and fiber, compared to 14 walnut halves or 15 potato chips. I recommend to buy pistachios in-shell so you can take them anywhere- the beach, pool, or on a road trip. The shell is also great for practicing mindful eating. Removing the shell slows down consumption time and is a visual cue to make you aware of how much you are consuming.
Check out Wonderful Pistachios on Facebook too.
Like a Salad in Your Pocket
Then there are the times when cooking is just not an option and you can’t get a cold salad. You can still get a complete and nutritious meal. Core Food bars are a full meal to go. Meaning, no cooking required. These nutrient rich bars contain just 5-7 whole, raw, organic ingredients, like nuts, fruits, oats, and spices. Core Food bars contain no added sugar or preservatives and provide up to four hours of energy.
Their line of “Defender” meal bars are vegan and high in fiber with 7 grams per bar. They come in Cashew Cacao and Almond Raisin flavors. The “Warrior” meal bars have 16g whey protein and come in two delicious flavors – Almond Raisin and Walnut Banana.
You can find Core Food bars online at www.corefoods.com or at a Whole Foods near you.
Disclosure: I worked with Wonderful Pistachios, Gulf Coast Seafood, Zespri Kiwifruit, White Wave Foods and CORE Foods for the TV segment, but did not receive compensation for writing this blog post. I am a Silk Blogger Ambassador through December 2013.