Beat the HEAT

Summer has officially arrived in San Diego.  For many of us, the heat means we don’t want to cook as much, but need to make sure we are eating and drinking.  Here are some ideas for beating the heat as we navigate the heat this summer!

Top 5 ways to stay cool while eating well

Our park snack/lunch: leftover pasta and peas, sliced grapes, apple slices, roasted carrot and sweet potato and pita wedges. A balanced meal, yet easy to put together on a hot day.

1.  Make popsicles.  Are you making a smoothie?  Put some extra into a popsicle mold for later.  Blend popsicles using a variety of fruits like berries, oranges, pineapple, plums, bananas; and vegetables like spinach, kale and cucumber.  Add some protein and healthy fats.  Some of our favorites include: almond milk (or any milk you have on hand) yogurt, chia seeds, ground flax seed, peanut butter, avocado… the possibilities are endless! Don’t have popsicle molds? Add your smoothie (or even juice) to a small dixie cup. Place a slice of banana in the bottom and stick a popsicle stick in the banana, and the stick will stay standing up while the popsicle freezes (many thanks to Sid the Science Kid for the inspiration)!
2.  Create “snack lunches”.  So often we think of lunches as something we need to prepare.  Combine some of your favorite healthy snacks to make a balanced lunch (this is not just a tip for hot weather).  We love including chopped fruits (berries, apples and grapes are some of our favorites), cold veggies (cucumber, tomato, or carrots) or leftover roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or sweet potato with oil and spices.   Include dips like hummus or black bean dip, for some protein and fun.  Add some cheese and crackers and you’ve got yourself a balanced lunch.

3.  Stay hydrated.  I often forget to drink, and know my little ones do as well.  Who wants to stop playing at the park to grab a drink of water? Make sure to pack plenty of water, and try fruit infused water.  Sometimes a splash of flavor can make drinking water more appealing.  I like to get my daughter in the kitchen for this one as well.  We squeeze lime juice and add it to water.  You can bet she met her fluid needs this day!

4.  Make dinners using as little heat as possible. We try to limit our stove time over the summer. There has been a trend in making “sheet pan meals”.  Pop all the ingredients on a pan, stick in the oven and you are set.  These are a few of my favorites.  I also try to use my slow-cooker and instant pot as much as possible.  Set it and forget it.

5.  Remember, that your child’s preferences may be different over the summer.  Think about yourself: do you crave lighter meals in the heat?  More fruits and less protein?  Some kids are the same way.  Many parents are concerned their child isn’t “eating enough”.  Most children are excellent regulators of their intake.  Trust that your child is getting what they need (and as always, contact me if you need some additional guidance).

Happy eating and staying cool!