What To Eat In The Heat…..And More

It’s still summer time and the livin’ is easy. And hot! So what’s a body to do? What you eat can be instrumental in dealing with the heat, as well as other situations faced on a daily basis, such as how you survive afternoon blahs and maintain a healthy weight.

Most of your food should be low-fat and high-protein. Fatty foods take up to 4 hours or more to digest, all the while keeping blood pooled in the stomach area. This prevents keeping blood closer to the surface of your body for sweat and evaporation to maintain a cool body temperature in the heat.

High protein foods provide satiety (a full feeling) longer, so that you don’t get hungry halfway through the afternoon. Protein foods also don’t make you groggy and sluggish as high carbohydrate and fatty foods will. You need some carbs to fuel your muscles and nervous system, but not too many (save most of your carbs for dinner and/or evening snack). Limit concentrated sweets and choose complex carbs that provide a healthy dose of fiber. The list below (not exhaustive) exemplifies foods that qualify for lunch or mid-day snacks (or any other time, of course).

Low-fat protein foods:         

  • Chicken breast w/o skin – grilled, baked, broiled or pan-fried with Pam spray or a little canola or olive oil
  • Veggie burger – prepared the same way as above
  • Turkey burgers – prepared the same way as above
  • Protein Punch sandwich (see recipe below)
  • Low-fat yogurt (high in carbs and protein)
  • Low-fat lunch meats (choose brands, such as Hormel Natural Choice, that have no preservatives and are lower in sodium)
  • Low-fat cheese or cheese made from soy or rice
  • Salad fixings: tomato, lettuce, bell pepper pieces, carrots, celery, etc.
  • Hummus (scoop it with whole grain crackers or veggies)

Low-fat carbohydrate foods:

  • Raw veggies with low-fat dip (squash, cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, etc.)
  • Fruit/fruit salad – particularly watery fruit such as melons (honey dew, cantaloupe, watermelon) for carbohydrate energy and fluid replacement
  • Low-fat yogurt (high in carbs and protein)
  • Whole Wheat wraps instead of bread for sandwiches (fewer carbs)
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers for wraps/sandwiches or salads

Other (accessory foods, deserts, etc.):

  • Baked chips
  • Pretzels
  • Mustard, ketchup, low-fat spreads (light mayo/salad dressing), salsa for wraps/sandwiches
  • Low-fat dressings for salads
  • Fig Newtons
  • Low-fat cookies
  • Frozen yogurt and other low-fat dairy desserts


  • Water
  • Diluted fruit juice (dilution with water provides fluid and halves the calories from the natural sugars)
  • Skim or 1% milk (add some chocolate syrup for chocolate milk?) – high protein & carbs
  • Smoothies – combine fruit, yogurt, cereal, even veggies or anything else you can think of to get a refreshing, nutritious drink packed with protein and healthy complex carbs
  • Ice tea, iced coffee (tea and coffee can be decaf to moderate caffeine intake)
  • No alcohol – it is very dehydrating; tea and coffee OK because caffeine is a very weak diuretic and doesn’t have an appreciable negative effect on hydration

Smart food choices can truly make “livin’ at lot easier!”

Dave’s Protein Punch SandwichProtein Punch Sandwich

3 egg whites (optional – include 1 yolk for additional nutrients)

2 slices bread (preferably whole wheat for fiber and extra nutrients)

1 slice low-fat cheese (can substitute calcium-fortified alternative, such as Veggie Cheese made from soy)

1 oz. low-sodium, low-fat deli meat

2 slices tomato

1 piece Romaine lettuce

1 Tbsp. light buttery spread (Smart Balance, Benecol, Take Control or other type with cholesterol-lowering benefits)

Instructions: Cook egg whites in Teflon pan and/or use vegetable oil spray. As soon as whites are totally coagulated (no longer clear) add slice of cheese and deli meat over whites. Add spread to bread (or toast, if desired). Put whites, cheese and meat on bread, followed by tomato and lettuce, to form a sandwich.

Nutrition composition:

Calories – 307

Carbohydrate – 24 grams

Protein – 32 grams

Fat – 9 grams

Saturated Fat – 3 grams

Cholesterol – 22 milligrams

Fiber – 4 grams

Sodium – 740 milligrams

(Note: A bit high in sodium for those that must limit it because of high blood pressure or other medical condition. If so, look for low-sodium cheese, meat and bread. Also, using low-calorie flat bread, as shown in picture, can lower the calorie count by 20 or more )

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