Cool as a Cucumber: Foods That Help You Chill Out

Your outdoor patio, deck or backyard can be one of the most relaxing places for summertime lounging. With comfortable patio furniture tempting you to unwind after a long day, a colorful sunset calling your name and a perfect setting for open air family mealtime, the only thing missing is delicious, nutritious food and beverages to complement your summer oasis.

Take a sample of the following four types of foods that can help you relax and unwind as you stay cool and enjoy the summer season.

Chilling With Fruits

An apple a day may keep the doctor away.  But melons, berries, grapes, cherries and citrus are some of the most common go-to summer fruits for hydrating and fueling your body.  Fruits that are high in fiber and water content can provide an excellent combo for keeping you cool. Made up of more than 90 percent water, watermelon can be a refreshing treat that soothes your thirst on a hot summer day while also satisfying your sweet tooth. Adding citrus like lemons to ice cold water will not only add a twist to a summer essential beverage, but it also can naturally add Vitamin C to your body.

“I tell my clients to put fruit in their water, like citrus and berries, because it tastes good, is good for them and they deserve it,” said Marisa Carter, massage therapist at Elements Medford.

Slicing and Dicing Veggies

Nothing says summer like adding fresh garden vegetables to your daily menu. Whether it’s juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and spinach, or crisp cucumbers and carrots, it’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of all the easy and delicious veggies that are ready for the picking from your garden or local farmers market.  Tossing up a quick dinner salad with all of your favorite veggies can be a quick and easy relaxing meal to unwind with after a busy day. Or, you can throw some sliced summer squash, potatoes, onions or corn on the cob on the barbecue to keep the heat out of the kitchen and pack your patio table with a nutrient-rich dinner or lunch side dish.   

Grilling Meats

Summer relaxing on the patio and firing up the grill go hand in hand. When picking out good meat for some summertime grilling, lean, free-range, grain-fed and wild breeds are some of the best choices. To spice up your grilling menu, try combining your favorite cut of beef, chicken or seafood with an assortment of grill-friendly vegetables like onions, red and yellow peppers or squash to create colorful, tasteful and nutritious summer kabobs. Another easy grill meal that requires very little preparation time is all-in-one foil meals. Combine your favorite source of protein with potatoes, carrots, onions and seasoning, wrap it all up in individual-serving-size pieces of foil and let dinner simmer on the grill while you relax and unwind as the sun sets on the horizon. 

Snacking Fun

When temperatures are on the rise and being outside is borderline unbearable, it’s a good time to retreat inside to relax and stay cool in an air conditioned environment. Some of the best summertime retreat pastimes for all ages are movie watching or board game playing. But, these summer fun activities aren’t complete without some deliciously fun snacks.

“It’s a good idea to have healthy snacks for throughout the day,” said Amy O’Connor, massage therapist at Elements Chandler/Ahwatukee. “Grapes, trail mix and fruit can be good, healthy snack options.”

To make summer snacking healthy and easy, opt for a batch of homemade popcorn and trail mix. Anticipating the pop of corn kernels on the stove or over a campfire is not only fun for everyone in the family, but preparing this old-time treat by hand is a lot healthier than the processed, high-sodium-and-fat microwave or movie theater options.

Making your own trail mix also can be a nutritious and fun snack. Satisfy your sweet and salty tooth by mixing your favorite nuts with an assortment of dried fruit and even a small handful of dark chocolate chips. And to keep you cool on a hot summer day, a frozen berry smoothie with low-fat Greek yogurt, milk and fresh fruit is always a popular treat.

Chill out this summer with these fun and healthy food options that are easy to incorporate into your menu planning. Save time and energy by going fresh, keeping it simple and staying out of the heat of kitchen so you can enjoy the summer relaxing, unwinding and staying cool.

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