When the sun is blazing and Mother Nature’s got the heat and humidity cranked on high, even the thought of a hot meal can be enough to make you start sweating. Cool off—plus stay hydrated and nourished—with these lighter, refreshing recipes, which include salads, cold soups, and smoothies. While some of them require cooking, they’re all served chilled, making them ideal fare for a summer's day.
The lemony dressing on this seafood salad is a bit reminiscent of lemonade, which lends to the summery vibe. The finished product—which you’ll need to chill for about two hours before serving—is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and several vitamins and minerals.
Our healthy version of the mayonnaise verte (green mayo) in this French-inspired dish is made with nonfat yogurt, a bit of prepared mayonnaise, and fresh spinach rather than the usual egg yolks and oil. To ensure you’re getting the freshest piece of salmon, buy it the day you want to eat it. Look for salmon that is firm enough that it springs back when you touch the flesh. It should be translucent and moist and should smell sweet, not fishy.
Colorful roasted bell peppers feature prominently in this Tuscan salad, which also includes crispy chunks of toasted whole-wheat bread. Choose peppers that are well-shaped, firm, and glossy. Their skins should be taut and unwrinkled, and their stems fresh and green. Bell peppers are best when they are thick-walled and juicy, so they should feel heavy for their size. Avoid bell peppers with soft or sunken areas, slashes, or black spots.
This dish is a good source of quercetin, one of the most frequently studied flavonoids for its potential health benefits. Quercetin is an antioxidant, like vitamin C and many other compounds, and may have anti-inflammatory effects. Use this chilled applesauce as a condiment on a savory lunch sandwich, or enjoy it on its own as a dessert or snack.
Avocados are a wonderful treat in the heat, packed with vitamins and minerals and loaded with fiber and healthful monounsaturated fat. Here they’re paired with tangy, vitamin C-packed tangerines, which perfectly offset the avocado’s creaminess. (If you can't find tangerines, you can use navel oranges instead.)
While it may sound counterintuitive, foods with “heat” can actually cool you off by activating your body’s innate cooling system (that is, sweating). Spicy foods like this jalapeño-rich gazpacho activate certain nerve receptors in the mouth, which in turn trigger the brain’s thermoregulatory center to induce sweating. Evaporation of the sweat cools your skin and helps lower body temperature.
Smoothies are a perfect (and portable!) way to cool off during the hot summer months plus get in your daily servings of fruit or vegetables. If you’re hankering for something savory, choose one vegetable, one liquid, one flavoring, and one herb from our easy-to-use chart. If you prefer sweet, then choose one fruit, one liquid, one sweetener, and one spice. So simple, you won’t even work up a sweat.