I know, I know what you’re thinking, Summer Foods? Perhaps she’s made a mistake. Perhaps it’s supposed to be summer drinks or summer Beverages. But no, I very much meant foods, thank you!
Summer has got to be perhaps the most awaited season all over the world. In India, however, with the sweltering heat, the one thing people look forward to is the vacation that summer brings along with it. Children playing outdoors all day, families planning picnics and summer getaways and let’s not forget those deliciously amazing summer drinks. For those in this side of the equator, it certainly is the most exciting thing about summer.
Cool, refreshing summer drinks are definitely the most common summer treats, but how many of us know about the cool refreshing summer foods? Yes,there happen to be foods that are perfect partner to the summer months.
CEREALS AND GRAINS
Summer months are accompanied with lots of outdoor activities and consumption of good quality, fibrous sources of carbohydrates is necessary to provide the glycogen needed for energy.
Carbohydrates are also important for adequate hydration of the body. 1 gram of glycogen will help store 3-4 grams of water. Glycogen stores also help with muscle recovery, when you exercise.
Healthier carbohydrate choices like whole wheat breads, whole wheat pastas, and other whole wheat products should be given preference over simple sugars and products made of processed flours like white bread, pastas, cakes pastries and other baked goods that use processed flours.
These are perfect addition to summer salads, cold pasta dishes, bruschettas, grain salads etc.
PULSES AND LEGUMES
The major source of protein in the vegetarian diets are pulses and legumes. Not only do they provide with the requisite amounts of proteins when eaten in combination with cereals, they are also a rich source of fibre in the diet.
The easiest way to consume pulses and legumes in summers, is through salads or dips like in hummus. Sprouting legumes further increases their nutritional value by increasing Vitamin B12, which is easily lost by the body through sweat.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The best fruits of the year are the summer fruits. Mangoes, berries, melons, litchis etc. The high water content fruits are the most beneficial fruits to consume this season, as some of them also can replace the lost electrolytes from the body. They are perfect as snacks, as desserts or as toppings. Moreover they serve as a perfect base for those refreshing cool summer drinks, as well as popsicles.
Fruits like tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and other green leafy vegetables, by virtue of their water content are a great addition to summer diets. Cold pasta salads and sandwiches are a good way to include such vegetables in the diet.
MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS
Milk and Milk products will form an essential protein source to the Vegetarian Diet. They are rich in proteins and essential B vitamins that are water soluble and therefore needed continuously in order to replace the losses that occur via sweat. Yoghurt, cottage cheese, cream and milk itself can be paired with fruits for an excellent addition to the summer diet, in various recipes that are cool and refreshing.
OILS AND SUGARS
Sugar consumption tends to increase in summer months, mainly because there is such an increased intake of high sugar beverages and drinks. Therefore it becomes essential to keep a close check on the sugar content of the beverages and summer treats being consumed.
Mindfully choosing low sugar drinks, or preferably consuming fresh homemade juices is a great alternative.
Oils and fat consumption doesn’t become any different in the summer months, however the use of oils like coconut oil, and high omega fatty acid containing fruits like avocadoes and nuts like walnut is beneficial for overall health.
*Foods chosen should be done so keeping in mind allergies and intolerances.
*If you are unsure about including certain foods in your diets, please consult your local dietitians before doing so.