Friday, July 29, 2016
It Is Hot. Stay Hydrated
We can enjoy the outdoors now too. Some of us garden, some of us go camping, and some of us just like to sit in the shade. The children can play outside and make as much noise and be as rambunctious as they like.
The thing we all need to remember in the heat is to stay hydrated. That means drinking copious amounts of water. Remember that besides the normal amount of fluid loss you will perspire (or sweat) a great portion of fluids away.
Water is my drink of choice but it is so hard to drink 8 glasses of water a day. That is a whole gallon! I just cannot do it. Children prefer something sweeter but those drinks do not hydrate quite as well as plain old water. To supplement the water you drink try some of the foods that contain large amounts of water. Each one of the foods I name have at least 90% water by weight.
Salad is a good meal on a hot day. Iceberg lettuce has the highest water content of any lettuce. A lot of lettuce and some of your favorite garden vegetables make a good salad. Add some chicken strips and boiled eggs and you have a complete meal. You can also place lettuce leaves on sandwiches and even wrap the sandwich contents with lettuce if you would like to do away with the bread.
Radishes are lovely little red roots. They have a spicy sometimes even sharp taste. Radish in salads adds color and crunch as well as water and nutrients. Try slicing them and adding them to cole slaw. With very little practice you can make pretty radish roses to decorate a vegetable tray. They also make a chewy snack.
Another vegetable tray item is cauliflower. The florets are attractive and especially tasty with a little vinaigrette to dip them in. If family members cringe at the sight of cauliflower in salad try crumbling the florets a bit. They look similar to feta cheese and your loved ones may not notice the difference.
You can get star fruit in both sweet and tart varieties. It makes a good mixture of flavors for a fruit salad or to garnish a glass of lemonade or iced tea. The star shape of the slice makes a unique and attractive addition. One word of caution... if you have problems with your kidneys you should probably stay away from star fruit because of the high content of oxalic acid.
Grapefruit is one of my favorites. I peel them and eat them just like an orange.They are delicious in citrus salads. The nice thing about grapefruit is that not only do they lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, they are a great food if you are dieting. They also help stabilize blood sugar which helps you feel better on hot days.
Children's meals often contain baby carrots. They have a sweet flavor and are nice and crunchy. Baby carrots have more water content than "grown-up" carrots. They are a staple for vegetable trays. Dipped in guacamole they are extra good. Slice them and soak them in ice water so they curl a bit and they are pretty in salad. Baby carrots are another good snack food when you want to munch while watching television.
Want a delicious breakfast? Take a cantaloupe, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Fill the center with a nice serving of yogurt. Mmmm. Cantaloupe is low in calories with a big nutritional payoff. Blend cantaloupe, mint, and orange juice for a refreshing smoothie. Chunks of various types of melons make a good cool salad, no dressing needed. It could also be used as a light desert.
Broccoli is a misunderstood vegetable. Most people know that it is good for them but they think they do not like it. Broccoli adds a lovely dark green to a vegetable tray. Dip it into a creamy cucumber dressing and most people will enjoy it. Florets of broccoli and cauliflower along with curled carrot shavings make a nice salad.
Another green leaf to use in salad is spinach. It is darker green than lettuce so it makes a nice contrast of color. Or you can use it in place of lettuce if you like. Spinach is good in sandwiches too. Spinach also makes a good dip when mixed with plain yogurt. You can dip your other vegetables in that.
You can eat them like apples. Bell peppers are a refreshing snack on a hot afternoon. Slice them or make them into strips and place them on a leaf of lettuce to brighten the plate for a meal. Because of all the colors they are very attractive. Green bells are higher in water content than the colors but not by a lot. And each color tastes slightly different so your taste buds will be happy. They are pretty on the vegetable tray. Try them with a little creamy dill dip. The colors also add an appetizing contrast to salads. They are good in sandwiches too.
Celery has a nice clean flavor. It is good for dipping because it is long and firm. That makes it a necessary addition to a vegetable plate. Slices in salad are good. Keep slices in a baggie in the refrigerator to snack on.
Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food. Slices or chunks can be used in salads. Slices or strips look good on that vegetable tray. I keep slices in a bowl of cold salt water in the refrigerator. When I want a snack all I need to do is rinse a handful and they are ready to eat. Hummus is a good dip to use. Blend cucumbers, yogurt, mint, and ice cubes. Instant cucumber soup.
What can I say about the versatility of tomatoes? Slices are good and they add color to a plate. Wedges are a favorite in salad. Sliced tomato on a burger is almost a must. They can be a little messy but you can eat them like apples too. And that is just the larger variety of tomato. Cherry and grape tomatoes are good snacks too. A filling snack might be these smaller tomatoes with nuts or cheese. For a handsome appetizer cherry or grape tomatoes with basil leaves and chunks of cheese on a toothpick will make you look very urbane.
Take one medium tomato and cut it about 3/4 of the way down to make 4 sections. One scoop of tuna salad or chicken salad right into the center. Set on a nice bed of lettuce with a boiled egg cut into quarters also. Serve with your favorite crackers or hard bread. There you have a whole meal for a hot day.
Carefully melt some chocolate chips in the microwave. Take strawberries by the stem ends and roll them in the melted chocolate. Lay them on waxed paper until the chocolate cools. It is a decadent snack. Strawberries have the highest water content of the berries. You can eat them straight from the berry patch. Take some pound cake, put strawberries over it and cover with whipped cream. Some people add ice cream to the mixture and it is good. Quarter strawberries, add whole berries of your choice, chopped nuts if you like, and fold in some cool whip. It can be used as a fruit salad or a dessert.
I saved my favorite for last. Watermelon as its name implies is full of water. Cut a watermelon into huge "smiles" and let everybody be a kid again. For a flavored water, cut some cubes of watermelon and place the into a pitcher. Cold water sitting in the refrigerator atop these cubes make a refreshing drink when it is hot. Watermelon is an essential ingredient to a melon salad. Keep watermelon cubes in a covered container in the fridge and you will always have a cool sweet snack.
As I stated before these foods are meant to supplement water to keep you hydrated. Keep drinking plenty of water. You can also drink other fluids. Just remember to avoid salty, sweet, and alcoholic drinks when the weather is hot. They take away some of the liquid benefits of the drink.