When the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, the temptation to eat nothing but ice cream is strong. But are there refreshing hot weather foods that are actually healthy? Let’s find out!
You don’t need to alter your regular diet much for the summer months. Just follow these three simple steps to be healthy and full of energy when the heatwave comes.
If you often feel tired when it’s hot outside, it may be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water. Higher temperatures and humidity levels make us sweat more. That's why it’s crucial to replenish the body’s water supply on hot days.
How much water you need depends on your age, general health, and how physically active you are during the day.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends drinking 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women and 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men. But you may need to drink more when you're exercising or sweating a lot.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be only plain water — feel free to sip your favorite tea, coffee, or other sugar-free drinks, hot or cold. But keep in mind that excess caffeine can make you lose more liquid and lead to dehydration. If you exercise in the heat, opt for sports drinks with electrolytes to boost your hydration.
Summer might be the best season for eating healthy, and fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best hot weather foods to include in your daily diet. They’re full of vitamins and antioxidants to keep you going. So, if it’s too hot for the stove or you don’t have much of an appetite, make a quick green salad or snack on strawberries or melons.
Hearty, protein-rich meals may not be the best food for a hot day, but protein is an essential part of your diet. It gives you energy, supports your heart and immune system, and keeps your skin healthy and radiant. During summer, opt for lighter meals with healthy sources of protein like:
You may want to skip meals when it’s too hot outside, but it can slow down your metabolism and make you more tired and sleepy. You can reduce your portion sizes, but make sure to eat regular, nutritious meals. It'll help you stay healthy and active during the summer.
Seasonal changes in appetite are completely normal. If you’re craving comfort foods in winter, you may feel less hungry during the summer months… and you’re not alone! When it’s hot, your body works harder to regulate its temperature and cools itself down by making you sweat. The digestion process generates a lot of heat, so your body cuts down on those heat-producing functions to keep itself cool. That’s why you may not feel like eating when the temperature goes up.
Stay on top of your game with WeatherWell!
Download our free app for personalized health insights and useful tips to feel great no matter the weather!
To stay healthy in summer, opt for light, hydrating foods. Some fruits and vegetables, for example, contain a lot of water, so fresh salads are a great hot weather food as they can cool you down. Toss in some lean protein like chicken breast or tofu and you’ll have a light yet nutritious meal that can keep you going even in the midst of a heatwave.
You can also adapt more wintery recipes like soups and stews by adding seasonal ingredients and serving them chilled.
Without a doubt, ice cream is the ultimate summer treat. But there are many healthy alternatives that can keep you cool and hydrated in summer! Some of them even need little to no preparation!
This sweet fruit is refreshing and low in calories. It also contains a variety of nutrients that help to regulate blood sugar levels, and electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and sodium that can keep you well hydrated throughout the day.
Why not add some juicy summer berries to your summer meals? Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, so they can support your immune system as well. What a delicious food for a hot day!
Cucumbers are about 95% water, making them a great vegetable to snack on during hot summer days. You can infuse your water with slices of cucumber, eat them raw, add in a salad or try a chilled cucumber soup.
This slightly sweet and nutty drink is full of electrolytes that boost hydration. This is especially important on hot, humid days and after exercise. A high potassium count can also lower blood pressure, but consult with your doctor if you’re taking any blood pressure medication.
Coconut water is a versatile drink: you can enjoy it plain, mix it with juices, or add in smoothies.
Much like cucumber, zucchini is low in calories and has a high water content. It’s rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins and can keep you full for longer. You can eat it raw, add it to stews and soups, or put it on the grill. Just a heads-up: zucchini contains more vitamin A when cooked than in its raw state.
This classic cold soup is one of the best foods for hot weather and is ideal for summer lunches. Made from tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions, it’s a fantastic source of vitamins C, A, and E. Carotenoids and antioxidants in tomatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate blood pressure.
With slightly bitter greens, creamy cheese, sweet fruit, and a crunch of toasted nuts, this healthy summer salad ticks all the boxes. The recipe for this nutritious and high-in-fiber summer meal is simple:
What could be better than sipping a refreshing tropical drink on a hot summer’s day? This smoothie also has a handful of health benefits: mint is known to ease digestion and settle an upset stomach. And pineapples are packed with nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, and copper that have anti-inflammatory properties and can boost your immune system. Without a doubt, a pineapple and mint smoothie is one of the best outdoor snacks for hot weather!
Picnics and barbeques go hand in hand with sunny summer days. But bringing food out in the heat can have certain health risks: when not cooked or stored properly, your summer snacks can lead to food poisoning.
The most common signs of food poisoning are:
Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after touching your food. Clean your knives, cutting boards, and other tools, especially after handling raw meat and fish. Rinse your fruits and vegetables with clean water.
Keep your raw meats and fish in separate containers to avoid cross-contamination. Put them on the bottom of your cooler to avoid their juices seeping onto your ready-to-eat foods.
You need to get food hot enough to kill any microbes and bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Keep in mind that different foods should be cooked at different temperatures:
Use a food thermometer to make sure your food is cooked through.
Keep your food chilled right until you need to cook it. When outside, put your cooler in the shade and avoid opening it too often. You can use separate coolers for drinks, ready-to-eat meals, as well as uncooked meats and fish. After you’re back home, put any leftovers in the fridge. Avoid leaving your food unrefrigerated for longer than an hour when it’s over 90 F outside.
We’ve already covered some of the best healthy foods for hot weather. But is there something you should cut from your summer diet?
While most foods are safe to eat in moderation in any season, there are certain meals you should limit during hot summer months.
Hot weather might make you lose your appetite, but it’s still important to eat regular meals to give your body energy and stay healthy. The best summer foods contain a lot of water and nutrients that can keep you hydrated even on the hottest days.
Feel free to experiment with seasonal ingredients to create the most refreshing meals. And make sure to follow the summer food safety guidelines when cooking outdoors.