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Cool It With Food

The hot days are here, people! So, what do you do to feel comfy and healthy in this sweltering heat? Eat!!! Yes, cool yourself with food by sticking to fresh juicy fruits and vegetables.

On hot days, the best way to keep cool is to minimize cooking using your stove and oven, instead, turn to your blender and food processor. Not forgetting your salad bowl, of course!

Chilling with Smoothies

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A healthy and refreshing way to kick off your day is with a smoothie. Smoothies are easy and quick to make. Not to mention, they are packed with nutrients. You can make your smoothie with different fruits and vegetables to keep your taste buds delighted.

Here’s a recipe for a zesty tropical-flavoured smoothie:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized mango
  • 1 banana
  • 500 ml orange juice
  • 4 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Peel and cut the mango into chunks.
  2. Peel and chop the banana into thick slices.
  3. Blend all the ingredients either in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  4. Serve chilled. You can keep it in the fridge for a few hours.
  5. For variety, replace the mango with other local fruits such as guava, papaya, pineapple or mangosteen. You can even add kale or baby spinach leaves and replace orange juice with non-dairy beverages like almond, rice or soy milk.

Scrummy Crunchy Salads

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Having salads for your main meals is not only easy on your tummy, salads are also easy to prepare, requiring only a bit of effort. (Good news for busy people!) The secret to a good salad is buying fresh vegetables and storing them properly in your fridge to maintain their freshness. Then, you can quickly put together healthy meals whenever you want.

For a wholesome salad with a Malaysian touch, try this recipe (serves four):

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh coriander
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup of thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/3 cup of thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 small sengkuang, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup of sliced radishes
  • 2 boiled quail eggs, halved
  • 1 cup of peanut sauce

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients well and serve immediately. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and cooked meat or seafood. For vegans or vegetarians, you can leave the egg out.

Sauce

  • ¼ cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce (low-salt, of course)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ginger, grated (optional)
  • Chili powder/ sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients well in a covered glass bottle.
  2. This sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks. Stir well or heat before use.

Try Some Cold Soup

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When you are rushed for time, gazpacho is a wholesome cold soup you can prepare quickly. You just need some raw vegetables to come up with a decent bowl. People in Spain and Portugal have gazpacho, especially during summer for its refreshing and cooling taste.

Try this recipe for the classic gazpacho, which serves four:

Ingredients

  • 1.4 kg of ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 mild green chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
  • Fine sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, chili, capsicum and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Puree the vegetables in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add water if the mixture is too thick.
  3. Strain the pureed vegetables to remove peels and seeds.
  4. Transfer the puree into a large bowl and whisk in orange juice and salt.
  5. Cover and chill before serving. Garnish with chopped cucumber.
  6. For a tropical variety, you may add pineapple, mango, cilantro and lime.

Can’t Go Wrong with “Old-Fashioned” Water and Juices

It is important to drink enough amount of water, especially during the hot days. Adults need about 2 litres while children need 1-1.8 litres a day, and experts recommend drinking more after working up a sweat or if you are feeling unwell. For those who wish to have a change from plain water now and then, you can experiment by infusing water with fruits and herbs like lemon, lime, mint, strawberry, watermelon and basil. Try different combinations of fruits and herbs to come up with different flavours. This tip is also handy when you are trying to coax your uncooperative children to drink more water.

You can also make fruit popsicles and granita for refreshing icy treats on a hot day.

References:

1. Cool Foods for Hot Weather. Available at www.wholefoodsmarket.com

2. Smoothie recipes. Available at www.bbcgoodfood.com

3. Fresh Malaysian Salad. Available at www.azalinas.com

4. Coach Nicole’s Tasty Peanut Sauce. Available at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com

5. Mayo Clinic. Available at www.mayoclinic.org

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