5 min read

Summer Meal Ideas to Stay Cool

Fitness Editor
Julia is a qualified fitness trainer. She writes our articles about nutrition and fitness. She also makes free workout plans for our site.

Survive the next heat wave with these foolproof tips. From can’t-miss ways to beat the heat, to mouthwatering summer meal ideas, you’ll never be caught out in the cold again this summer!

Summer is here and it is hot. Even if you love the higher temps, you probably feel extra tired at the end of the day because of all the work your body has to do to stay cool. This process can result in higher heart rate, lower blood pressure, and difficulty with concentration. Find out what summer dinner ideas can ward off these issues.

10 Tips to Keeping Cool with Food

It’s always important to listen to your body, but especially in summer. Pay close attention to your thirst and hunger cues. If you’re parched, you’ll feel better after a still glass of water than you will with an icy cocktail (even if the latter seems more refreshing).

These 10 tips will help you know what your body needs when it’s hot out.

#1 Eat water-rich foods

It’s no secret that drinking a certain amount of water a day is essential to staying hydrated. But many people don’t realize that there are other ways to hydrate that don’t involve any water. Lots of fruits and vegetables are packed with both water and plenty of nutrients, like cucumber, watermelon, and so much more.

#2 Eat cooling foods

Stay fresh by eating foods that have cooling effects on your body. That could be a beverage or a slice of cantaloupe. In fact, water-rich foods are known for their cooling characteristics, so you can easily combine this step and the last. Fresh herbs like fresh basil are another great option!

#3 Grill your vegetables

Digestion produces heat, and the longer you have to digest, the hotter you’ll get. Our bodies process cooked food more quickly than raw food because it’s already started to break down before we even eat it. Just another great excuse to host a barbecue!

#4 Don’t forget your vitamins and minerals

Athletes aren’t the only ones who lose fluids more quickly during the summer. Even outside of exercise our bodies lose important minerals through our sweat, and they need to be regularly replenished to maintain hydration. When you’re feeling zapped after a sweaty day, have something salty and starchy, like a pretzel!

#5 Cooking, even in summer

Even though you might not be in the mood to turn on the stove when it’s already hot out, eating cooked food can actually keep you cool. As mentioned previously, raw foods take longer to digest and they may make you hotter even if they feel cool and fresh going down.

The trick is to maintain a balance between eating raw and cooked foods in your weekly dinner rotation. Give your food a few minutes to cool down before digging in to save yourself the sweat.

#6 Eat many small meals instead of a few big meals

Eating several small meals instead of three large ones has a couple advantages, especially when the weather’s warm. That’s because small amounts of food take less time to digest and keep our bodies cooler as a result — a process that’s known as thermogenesis.

#7 Treat yourself to a little dinner

Are the hot temperatures keeping you up at night? Then you might benefit from eating smaller summer dinners. This works for the same reason as the last tip, but there’s another catch. Grease-packed summertime favorites, like French fries and burgers, can further slow down digestion and make it even harder to clock a good night of sleep. On the other hand, easy summer dinner ideas like steamed, water-rich fresh produce will keep your body temperature down and your digestive tract relaxed.

#8 Drink plenty of fluids

The more you sweat, the more you need to drink. In fact, our bodies need constant replenishment because they absorb approximately 600ml of fluids per hour, and sometimes even more when it’s hot out.

But icy drinks aren’t necessarily going to cool you down. Our bodies have to do extra work to warm up cold beverages before they’re able to absorb them. Naturally, all this additional energy expended makes our bodies feel even hotter. Even if it seems counterintuitive, opting for a room temperature or lukewarm drink will keep you cooler than something cold.

Not every drink has to be a sugar bomb! We’ve got some fresh summer drink recipes up our sleeves that turn every sip into an adventure. And you can always try our ready-to-drink fitness drinks! Perfect to toss into your bag and head out the door, and made for your fitness level.

Two ready-to-drink protein shakes and a glass of chocolate protein shake sit in a corner indoors.
©foodspring
Ready To Drink Protein Shake

#9 Opt for non-alcoholic beer

There’s nothing quite like an icy beer on hot summer nights. But the truth is, alcoholic beverages in general have a dehydrating effect on our bodies. On the other hand, non-alcoholic beer will satisfy your cravings and is packed with the same minerals and nutrients you’d find in traditional beer.

#10 Avoid catching salmonella

Animal products that are left in the sun for a long time have a higher chance of developing salmonella. The risk of catching a sickness like this is much higher in summer when summer dinner recipes like grilled meat and refreshing salad are on the menu, and they might be out in the heat for longer than they should be.

Our Favorite Recipes for Summer Meal Ideas

Now that you understand exactly what makes a meal refreshing, we’ve got some summer recipes to get you started.

Gazpacho: A summer classic

No recipe is better for warm days than a chilled bowl of gazpacho. This option is great for lunch and dinner and can even work for breakfast with an egg on top.

Gazpacho: one of many summer meal ideas
©foodspring
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Pasta salad with asparagus: A satisfying main

Salads aren’t all about the veggies and this version with pasta is proof of that. Use a whole grain pasta to give this summer salad an extra boost of protein and feel free to add a seasonal vegetable like fresh corn.

Pasta salad with asparagus in a gray bowl, seen from above
©foodspring
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Fruit salad: A refreshing snack or dessert

Eating a fruit salad is a great way to cool down with dessert. Our recipe with a passion fruit vinaigrette adds a tropical touch to this classic. A little bit of lime juice or lemon juice will also add a citrusy punch.

Fruit salad in a black bowl
©foodspring
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For even more summer dinner ideas, check out our free recipe database.

Summer Dinner Ideas: Our conclusion

  • Keep an eye on the way you feel on a hot summer night because high temperatures can interfere with blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Water-rich, cooling foods are perfect for staying cool on hot days. Summer salads are a great, easy weeknight dinner idea.
  • It’s better to eat lukewarm or room temperature summer dinners because the body has an easier time digesting them than cold food.
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