As the UK takes a deep breath after one of the hottest July heatwaves in memory, it’s worth remembering that there is still plenty of summer still to come. In hot conditions, your body is placed under increasing strain. We all know the importance of hydration, but it’s also vital to keep your nutrition levels up if you want to stay alert and at your best.
After all, tempting though it might be to take an afternoon siesta in a shady spot, it’s a luxury few of us can afford, so it is vital to do all we can to avoid that 2PM slump. The problem many of us face is that as well as being energy-sapping, hot weather can also give the appetite a hit. When the mercury hits the 30s, the last thing on most people’s minds is a big plate of food. Here are some tips for keeping nutrition levels up from morning till night.
Rough up your smoothie for breakfast
When there’s a scorching day ahead, few breakfast options look more tempting than a smoothie. Cool, hydrating, delicious, light and full of vitamins and minerals – what’s not to like? The only downside to a smoothie for breakfast is that you are likely to be feeling hungry again an hour or so later. Here’s a cunning trick from those in the know. Oats are a breakfast staple, but enjoying them doesn’t have to mean diving into a bowl of steaming hot porridge. Try adding some to your smoothie to give it a little more substance and texture. You will find that you stay comfortably full for much longer, too.
Little and often during the day
This is a valuable rule to follow in general, particularly from those living with IBS or similar conditions. But at this time of year, it intuitively makes sense. If, as hinted above, the last thing on your mind is a big plate of food, then don’t have a big plate of food, especially at lunchtime. Some well-timed nutritious snacks throughout the day will keep energy levels up and hunger pangs at bay. However, they will not seem daunting or heavy on the stomach.
Spice up your evening
Here’s some good news for those who love their Mexican or Indian cuisine. It might sound counter-intuitive, but hot spicy food is just the thing to cool the body down. The heat fools the brain into thinking that you are overheating, and cranks up the body’s internal cooling system, causing you to sweat. Chilli is particularly effective, so treat yourself and don’t stint on the spices!
What to avoid
A great rule of thumb is to listen to your body. If you really don’t fancy a particular type of food in the hot weather, give it a miss. Carb-heavy ingredients such as rice can be harder to digest, making you feel even hotter, and the same can be said for red meats. Finally, if you feel like a beer or a glass of wine on a summer afternoon, take it in moderation and have some water on the side, as alcohol dehydrates the body, especially in hot weather.