The dog days of summer often mean blistering heat and sweaty skin. Not only do we crave cooling foods, but who wants to cook when you feel like you’re melting?

When the temperatures soar, reach for water-rich foods and stay hydrated by eating a cooling diet of chilled and easy-to-prepare foods. Eating the wrong types of food in this heat can make you sluggish, cranky and tired. Who needs that on top of being hot and sweaty already?

Cooling foods are mainly fruits and vegetables but can also include herbs. Examples include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Lettuces and spinach
  • Melons, especially watermelon which is close to 90% water. Fruits like berries,pineapple, star fruit, peaches and apricots are heavy on water content.
  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons
  • Herbs like peppermint and cilantro
  • Spicy foods (surprised?)  I was too. In researching how to eat in the heat, I learned  that hot peppers, garlic and spices induce sweat – which is our natural cooling mechanism. So don’t shun the spices, just don’t over do them either.

So how can you prepare these items and keep them on hand? Here are some fun ways to use up those fruits and veggies:

  • Make a big salads with the vegetables listed above. Incorporate strawberries or orange slices for a bit of tart.
  • Chilly gazpacho made with watermelon or a chilled cucumber soup.
  • Make no-cook tortilla roll ups: stuff a tortilla with diced tomatoes, diced onions, chunky avocado and lettuce. Add white beans for an easy to digest protein. Top with cool sour cream.
  • Make a large fruit salad and serve along with plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Having pre-made trays of sandwiches, pasta salads and quick grab-n-go snacks like frozen grapes or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Mix homemade lemonade that’s heavy on lemons and light on sugar. Or try stevia mixed with sugar for less calories. Lemons are detoxing to the body.
  • Try grilling fish instead of burgers and meats.
  • Serve fresh veggies with a cool dill and yogurt dip is refreshing and healthy.
  • Make a iced tea with mint leaves for garnish. Mint is cooling to the body.
  • Kids begging for ice pops? Consider these cold summer treats they are sure to love.
  • Get tropical with mango pudding.
  • When it’s too hot to bake, try some light no-bake cheesecake desserts.

Consider summer a time to dabble in more of a raw food diet by eating uncooked foods or foods only sauteed or steamed ,which are not only tasty and cooling but retain more of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties like vitamins C and B, potassium and lots of minerals.