Hot weather foods

by Ali on July 4, 2008

Summer is finally here in the UK, and though the days are not gloriously hot, they’re certainly reasonably warm. It’s the sort of weather that makes us crave light, cool foods … especially when stuck in a stuffy office all day. (Mine isn’t air conditioned and gets the sun in the afternoon; not great for optimum 4pm productivity!)

There are lots of healthy, refreshing foods that can easily be kept on hand in the office fridge, to combat the heat. Try some of these:

Salads

A box of salad is a great cooling lunch-time choice. Try going beyond limp lettuce – waldorf salad (click for my recipe) or greek salad (feta, cucumber, tomato, olives, mixed leaves) are tasty alternatives to the “mixed green salad”.

Make your salad in the morning and pop it in a tupperware box – then find a space for it in the office fridge when you get to work. Keep dressing separate (buy a small bottle to leave at work), and add it to your salad just before eating.

Frozen yoghurt and iced lollies

If the sunshine leaves you wanting ice-cream, try frozen yoghurt instead. Perhaps you have somewhere nearby that sells cones of it, or you could buy a tub to keep in the office fridge (ours has a freezer compartment). Many frozen yoghurts are just as nice as “the real thing” – I’m especially partial to Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie one…

A word of warning, though: don’t attempt to freeze pots of regular yoghurt, as they go very hard, like an iced lolly. Try real iced lollies instead – go for ones made from fruit juice, which make a great sweet treat. If you buy them by the boxful, make sure you hide it well … or be willing to share with the rest of the office!

Fruits

When you just want something cooling, avoid heavier fruits like bananas and apples. Fruits with a high water content are better, and there are lots of lovely in-season ones around; try strawberries, melon, and grapes. You might want to mix a bowl of fruit salad too (if preparation space is non-existent at work, make it at home and take a portion into the office in an air-tight box).

Sugar-free jelly

Although sugar-free jelly (that’s Jello to US readers) doesn’t have any particular nutritional benefits, it is extremely low in calories. When you want something cool and sweet, it’s a good option (just don’t serve it with dollops of ice-cream and squirty cream…)

Jelly is a bit of a pain to prepare at work, but you can buy individual pots of sugar-free jelly from the store – taking the hassle out of dissolving jelly crystals and leaving it to set. Alternatively, keep your jelly at home for a cooling post-work treat.

Flavoured water

(Yes, this one isn’t a food!) It’s important to avoid getting dehydrated in warm weather, and if you’re not keen on the taste of plain water, why not try one of the many flavoured varieties around? You can buy still or sparkling versions, in single-serving or large bottles (depends what you can cram into your office fridge…)

Although fruit juice is often refreshing, it’s best limited or avoided if you’re trying to lose weight … a tall glass of juice can easily contain 150 calories. Eat the fruit instead, and that way you’ll be filling up.

If it’s summer where you are, enjoy the warm weather!

(Image above by John Wardell (Netinho))

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