Written by Alexis Dobranowski, Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.
Wow. It's hot. The temperature is climbing up toward 32 degrees Celsius (that's about 81 F) and it feels even hotter with the sticky humidity (closer to 40 degrees Celcius).
This heat makes me want to find the nearest lake and jump right in. Or lay under a shady tree with a sprinkler near by. Or, seek shelter in my air-conditioned office. It also takes away all of my will to make a healthy dinner. Does that happen to you? As soon as the mercury rises, my dinner-making routine -- which is pretty good otherwise! -- goes straight out the window.
Registered dietitian Daphna Steinberg says the hot weather is no reason not to enjoy good food. Daphna and her colleague Katherine Vandenbussche, registered dietitian, have a few tips for eating in the heat:
Don't shy away from warm meals
While you may not feel like something hot, it actually might help to cool you off. A warm meal can make you sweat, which is our bodies' way of lowering our temperature.
If you opt to leave the oven off and use the barbecue instead, be sure you don't char the meat to help prevent cancer. Serve with fresh greens or a tomato salad.
And, be sure to practise these barbecue safety tips.
Use your slow cooker -- it won't heat up the house the way some ovens do. If you cook, make extra so you can eat that the next day and save yourself from cooking again.
Eat food that feels fresh
Think green, red, yellow or orange peppers, watermelon, crispy carrots, leafy green salad. Visit your local farmers' market for fresh produce. Check out what's in season.
Don't eat salty foods
Eating salt leads to water retention, which can lead to swelling and bloating, particularly noticeable during hot weather. Reach for foods that are lower in salt.
Drink lots of water
This sounds like a cliché, but we are serious. Drink tons of water when the weather is hot. Not a fan? Slice a cucumber, lemon or strawberries and keep a fruit-infused water jug in the fridge. Unsweetened herbal ice teas are also refreshing.
Drink hot beverages too
Warm drinks can help your body feel cooler.
But limit caffeine
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it make you have to pee! More trips to the washroom mean higher chance you'll get dehydrated.
Avoid or limit alcohol
We can't deny that a cold beer goes down nicely on a hot day. But alcohol is also a diuretic. Please drink responsibly -- stick to the recommended daily alcohol limits and alternate with water to keep you hydrated. In addition to wreaking havoc on your body, alcohol and summertime don't mix for another reason: injuries. If you drink, don't drive. Don't boat. Don't swim. Don't barbecue.
Freeze some fruit
Try frozen grapes or strawberries, or chop up some fruit and put it in your freezer. It's super refreshing, helps with hydration and is way better for you than popsicles or ice cream because you eat the fibre and other nutrients from the fruit.
How do you stay cool, nutritious and hydrated?
Find more food tips and healthy recipes from Sunnybrook experts at health.sunnybrook.ca
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Cut The Heat Twenty-seven per cent of employees think their offices are too hot in the summer months, according to stats compiled by Grasshopper, and it’s definitely hard to concentrate if you feel like you’re melting. On top of that, arguing over the office temperature actually wastes time: 10 per cent of employees have spent “significant time” fighting over the thermostat. Plan for variations in office temperatures and if you have control over the thermostats, work on making your employees comfortable.
Mono-task Christine Gilbert of We Create is travelling across North America in a VW van with her husband and two young kids. In a recent blog post, she outlined how this has upped her productivity in unexpected ways — even while ostensibly on a break. One of her secrets is to mono-task. "I do one thing, bang it out and then the next,” Gilbert wrote. "If I split up my time between three things, I might only get 1/3 of each done, but this way, at least one thing is always completed."
Work Outside Staring at the sunshine while you work indoors? Go out and enjoy it! Get a wifi extender so you can sit on your patio and work. Or visit a cafe that gets wifi at its outside tables. It’s easier to stay productive when you know you aren’t totally missing out on the good weather.
Or At Least Eat Outside If you can’t work outside, you can at least get out there for a break. Take your lunch or coffee outdoors in order to enjoy some sunshine and clear your head. Grasshopper’s research found that 60 per cent of office workers eat outdoors at least some of the time, so you’ll have plenty of company.
Change Your Routine Productivity blog Lifehacker recommends changing your work routine, even in small ways, when things are feeling a bit stale. Hold a meeting outside or take a walk on a break — even just for 10 minutes. If you usually work at home, try working at a coffee shop or coworking space. You may even make new career connections. Or see if working from home is an option once or twice a week.
Work Summer Hours, If You Can It sounds counter-intuitive, but working fewer hours in a week could give your productivity a boost. A survey by PGi found that two-thirds of people who worked for companies offering some form of summer hours found that the arrangement increased productivity. Having flexibility in their schedules resulted in fewer longer vacations from workers and better morale when they were in the office.
Plan For Time Off If you have time off coming up this summer, you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you plan in advance for clearing your plate ahead of it. Even if you don’t have a proper vacation planned, there are still a couple of summer long weekends to contend with. Time off isn’t much fun if you spend all of it worrying about what’s waiting for you at work when you get back.
Plan For Other People’s Time Off It’s not just your own vacation time that you should work towards. Find out early on when your key work contacts will be out of the office this summer, and plan your own work accordingly. The last thing you need is to be finishing up something before you leave for a long weekend, only to find that a person you must speak to is away for two weeks.
Get Ready To Go Back To School Not literally, unless you really are starting classes in September. But do you remember the joy of a new notebook, an organized binder, a clean pencil case? Why should kids get all that fun? Spend a bit of time ahead of September getting things in order: clean your desk, invest in work supplies you need, think about what the rest of your fiscal year looks like.
Check Out A Productivity Technique Lifehacker says that the summer slump is a great time to try out a new productivity method, or even just a quick switch. Look into an app like Trello (track your tasks, big picture to small) or Asana (workflow tracker, great for teams). Go whole hog with something like the Getting Things Done method and clear your mind of all the tasks you have to do. Or try the Seinfeld method of simply not breaking the chain: do a thing one day, then the next, then the next, then the next, and so on. Sounds simple but it works.
Go PomodoroGetting desperate? Set a timer, and get something accomplished. The Pomodoro technique is simple but a good way to just get yourself going on something, anything. Set a timer: traditionally it’s for 25 or 50 minutes, but you can pick a shorter or longer period if it works for you. Do nothing but work for that time period. No distractions! Then when the buzzer sounds you get five minutes (for 25 minutes) or ten minutes (for 50) to do whatever you like. Repeat as needed. You can find several web or phone apps to track your time, or just do it the old-fashioned way with an egg timer.
Get Some Inspiration It’s okay to step away from your regular work in order to get inspired to really buckle down — as long as you know when to get back at it. Check out these TED talks on productivity, for example. They may give you some ideas and help you feel motivated and ready to go when you get back to the grindstone.
Follow Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sunnybrook