During the hot summer months, you may find yourself craving meals and snacks to keep yourself cool and refreshed. With a plant-based diet, there are lots of foods that can help you accomplish this goal.
Generally speaking, foods that are high in water content, as well as dishes served cold are your best bet. One advantage of following a plant-based diet is that many plant-based foods can be enjoyed with minimal to no cooking, which means you won’t heat up your kitchen either. Here are a few nutritious choices that you might like to explore.
Cooling Plant-Based Diet Foods
Vegetables and fruits generally contain a lot of water. When served at a cooler temperature, these foods can provide a pleasant cooling sensation as you eat them. In addition to their cooling properties, vegetables and fruits also play an important role in health maintenance. Higher intakes of vegetables and fruits are associated with decreased risk for metabolic syndrome and depression. Choosing locally grown vegetables and fruits means that you’ll be getting produce that racked up fewer miles getting to your plate. This may be something to consider for environmentally conscious folks.
Furthermore, foods higher in water content (such as vegetables and fruits) can be lower in calories. They tend to give you a “full” feeling immediately after eating but may not provide long-lasting energy. It’s important to balance your meals by choosing more substantial foods, like sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat, in addition to vegetables and fruits.
Cooling Plant-Based Diet Beverages
During the summer months, the risks for heat-related illnesses increase with rising temperatures. Children, people who are physically active outside, and the elderly, are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Dehydration often contributes to the onset of heat-related illnesses. In addition to keeping cool, keeping well-hydrated during the warm weather can be important for preventing and managing heat-related illnesses. Keep reading for ideas of thirst-quenching plant-based beverages for you and your loved ones this summer!
Cucumber is composed of 95% water. It has a mild flavour and can be used in a variety of ways. Eating it out of hand is a great way to quench thirst. If you’re looking for more flavour, consider dipping it in hummus or a simple balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. Cucumber is also great in chilled soups.
Cantaloupe is a plant-based diet food that’s perfect for sun-filled summer days. It is also a source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Just one cup of cantaloupe balls contains more than 70% of the recommended vitamin C for non-smoking men and women. It also contains more than 30% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A for adults. Orange coloured fruits, such as cantaloupe, may be particularly helpful for preventing a range of chronic diseases, including cancer and coronary artery disease.
There are a number of ways that mint can be enjoyed in the summer. It’s great for adding a hint of freshness to salads, wraps, and desserts. It is also high in antioxidant content. If you’re looking for a refreshing drink, why not try making some minty iced tea? Simply bring a few sprigs of mint to boil in a pot of water, allow to cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge. Serve the tea over ice and garnish with fresh mint.
If you’re feeling too lethargic to cook in the summer heat, you’re probably not alone. By adding beans, lentils, and whole grains to a salad, you can have a satisfying, protein-filled meal with minimal cooking. For a time-saving trick, prepare a large batch of salad ingredients ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat, assemble just the right amount and toss with your favourite dressing!
Smoothies are great for keeping cool and hydrated. A simple smoothie with fruits and plant-based milk can work well as a snack. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try adding nut butter, avocado, beans, or a scoop of plant-based protein powder to the mix. Choose fruits such as ripe bananas or dates for sweetness and reduce added sugars from homemade smoothies.
Preparing your own frozen dessert is a great opportunity to get creative this summer. Explore popsicles made with fruit purees, granitas with fruit juices, or a cashew-based ice “cream”. The possibilities are endless! Even something simple, like freezing individual grapes or strawberries and savouring them can be a treat.
Vegetables, fruits, as well as salads, smoothies, and frozen desserts can all help you keep your cool during hot summer months. As the weather heats up, don’t forget to keep hydrated with plenty of water too. Are there any plant-based diet foods that you enjoy a hot summer’s day? Feel free to comment below!
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