Beat the heat with what you eat
RBWH Dietitian Helen MacLaughlin shares her tips on how to beat the heat with food
When it’s hot, we feel less hungry, but research tells us that our body’s hunger hormones and signals don’t change, so it’s important to still eat in the heat says Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital dietitian Helen MacLaughlin.
If you don’t keep up with your meals, you could find yourself feeling fatigued, foggy, and even nauseated.
Helen shares her top 6 tips and recipes, to help us beat the heat:
- Firstly, stay hydrated. Drinking cold drinks helps your gut regulate your body temperature, so have plenty of water and sugar-free cool or cold drinks during hot days. Chilled water is the perfect choice.
- In the heat our bodies have a preference for lower fat choices, so making quick easy meals with healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice, pasta or grainy bread together with lean proteins such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and lean meats and fish as the base for your easy meal. Add some fresh crisp vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato or capsicum for some crunch and extra fluid. Chopped salads are great easy way to do this. Just chop everything, add to a bowl and add a little olive oil and pepper. Add mint to freshen up the flavour. You can try Asian salads with carrot, cabbage, rice noodles with a dressing of chilli, fresh mint, vinegar, soy sauce and top with peanuts and tofu if you wish.
- Prep ahead – have cold boiled eggs, cooked lean chicken (use your air fryer), or hummus in your fridge, ready to use as the base for easy meals. Other foods to stock up on include tinned chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils or tuna, and packets of pre-cooked rice or mixed grains such as quinoa, freekeh and millet.
- Tinned can be time-saving – include tinned tuna or salmon in your grocery shop and pair with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms, with some pre-cooked rice. You can make a simple version of a niçoise salad with cold boiled eggs, tinned tuna, green beans and fresh tomatoes.
- Plant based eating is easy in the heat, try mixing peanut butter with tinned brown lentils and parsley, lemon juice and chilli. Use as a dip for crunchy veg such as celery or capsicum or spread on wholegrain crackers or toast.
- Older people can feel the heat more, and easily become fatigued or tired, so visiting older friends and family at mealtimes with food can be a great way to ensure they are kept well-nourished in the hot weather.