Food & nutrition Wellness

What to eat in the heat

heat wave and lemon water
Written by Alexis Dobranowski

Wow. It’s hot. The temperature is climbing and it feels even hotter with the sticky humidity.

This heat makes me want to find the nearest lake and jump right in. Or lay under a shady tree with a sprinkler near by. Or, seek shelter in my air-conditioned office. It also takes away all of my will to make a healthy dinner. Does that happen to you? As soon as the mercury rises, my dinner-making routine — which is pretty good otherwise! — goes straight out the window.

Registered dietitian Daphna Steinberg says the hot weather is no reason not to enjoy good food. Daphna and her colleague Katherine Vandenbussche, registered dietitian, have a few tips for eating in the heat:

Don’t shy away from warm meals

While you make not feel like something hot, it actually might help to cool you off. A warm meal can make you sweat, which is our bodies’ way of lowering our temperature.

If you opt to leave the oven off and use the barbecue instead, be sure you don’t char the meat to help prevent cancer. Serve with fresh greens or a tomato salad.

And, be sure to practise these barbecue safety tips. 

Use your slow cooker – it won’t heat up the house the way some ovens do. If you cook, make extra so you can eat that the next day and save yourself from cooking again.

Eat food that feels fresh

Think green, red, yellow or orange peppers, watermelon, crispy carrots, leafy green salad. Visit your local farmers’ market for fresh produce. Check out what’s in season.

Don’t eat salty foods

Eating salt leads to water retention, which can lead to swelling and bloating, particularly noticeable during hot weather. Reach for foods that are lower in salt.

Drink lots of water 

This sounds like a cliché, but we are serious. Drink tons of water when the weather is hot. Not a fan? Slice a cucumber, lemon or strawberries and keep a fruit-infused water jug in the fridge. Unsweetened herbal ice teas are also refreshing.

Drink hot beverages too

Warm drinks can help your body feel cooler.

But limit caffeine

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it make you have to pee! More trips to the washroom mean higher chance you’ll get dehydrated. 

Avoid or limit alcohol

We can’t deny that a cold beer goes down nicely on a hot day. But alcohol is also a diuretic. Please drink responsibly – stick to the recommended daily alcohol limits and alternate with water to keep you hydrated. In addition to wreaking havoc on your body, alcohol and summertime don’t mix for another reason: injuries. If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t boat. Don’t swim. Don’t barbecue.

Freeze some fruit

Try frozen grapes or strawberries, or chop up some fruit and put it in your freezer. It’s super refreshing, helps with hydration and is way better for you than popsicles or ice cream because you eat the fibre and other nutrients from the fruit.

 How do you stay cool, nutritious and hydrated? 

About the author


Alexis Dobranowski

Alexis Dobranowski is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.