Nutrition Strategies for Hot Weather

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"It’s the perfect time of year for a steaming plate of spaghetti," said no one ever in August.

Hot food in hot weather is not always desirable, especially if you have to babysit a pot on the stove. With the rising temps, along with the increased costs of food and fuel, how can you stay cool, save money, and still enjoy your meals?

I have a few ideas.

Here are some ways to cool off and eat well...

1. Make hydration delicious. We get it. Water is tasteless. It literally has no taste. But nothing hydrates better than water. if you’re someone who loves flavor, it’s easy to punch up your drink.

If you’ve used lemons, limes or any other citrus to make a summer marinade, use the citrus “carcasses” for flavor in your water. Another option to add to water is cucumber slices, fresh raspberries, or sliced watermelon rinds. Add lots of ice to keep things cool.

2. Cook once, eat twice! No one said you have to languish over a hot stove every night to eat well. In fact, you’ll save time and money when you cook a batch of something and then repurpose the leftovers.

For example, use a simple marinade on chicken pieces, grill several servings, then use that chicken in multiple meals. Grilled chicken is a great addition to tacos, salad, pasta, or rice dishes.

The same is true for grains. Prepare several servings of rice at a time. Use what you need, then freeze the rest and reheat as desired.

3. Dust off the crock pot. The slow cooker is good for more than just making chili during football season. Slow cookers use less than ten times the energy as a stove and require no babysitting while prepping your food. Did you know you can place an entire chicken in the crockpot with no liquid and have a completely cooked bird in 5 to 6 hours?

Slow cookers are also great for stewing leaner cuts of meat such as pork loin, and it  also works well for beans and lentils.

Some other tasty options for cool meals include:

  • Pasta salad with canned tuna, chopped cucumbers, chopped spinach, and cherry tomatoes
  • Greek yogurt parfait with seasonal fruit and chopped nuts
  • Caesar salad with grilled chicken strips
  • Fish tacos with peach salsa
  • Farro bowl with lentils or garbanzo beans and chopped veggies

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

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