Tired of the heat? Get in the kitchen!

During the hot, humid weather, it is very important to stay hydrated and nourished. One way to do this is to get into the kitchen and prepare easy to make and easy to eat food and beverages.

During hot, humid weather, it is very important to stay hydrated and nourished. One way to do this is to get into the kitchen and prepare easy-to-make and easy-to-eat food and beverages.

Each morning, draw a pitcher of water and put it in the refrigerator so it is ready to drink. If you don’t like just plain water, add a few lemon, lime or orange slices to the water. More adventurous people might try adding a few cucumber slices, several peach slices or five to six raspberries. Remove the fruit or vegetables after a few hours and you will have refreshing, flavorful and healthy water to enjoy. If you are used to buying flavored waters at the store, be sure to check the ingredient label to see what the additives are. You may be surprised. It is very important to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.

Are you wondering what to fix for dinner without heating up the kitchen too much? There are a number of things you can prepare on the stove, on the grill or in the microwave.

Heat a small amount of olive or vegetable oil in a fry pan and add a variety of diced vegetables like, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes or other vegetables of your choice. Sauté until done to your liking and add beaten eggs. Cook until eggs are set. If you like, add some pepper and herbs of choice and a handful of cheese. Enjoy with a slice of whole wheat toast and some fresh fruit. This would make a light, nutritious meal for a hot day.

A “cool” way to prepare chicken or pork without turning on the oven or crock pot would be to lightly brown chicken legs, thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or pork chops, then add enough orange or cranberry juice or chicken stock with water to make about ½ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the meat is done. Add herbs of your choice. This would be great served with a salad of mixed vegetables and a dressing of olive oil, vinegar and fresh or dried herbs. For a change from potatoes, try couscous or some other grain that is cooked in vegetable or chicken stock.

Dessert in the summer can be fresh fruit, sorbet or a fruit ice. Many types of fruits can be grilled and are very yummy that way. Fruited gelatins make a refreshing addition or ending to a meal. Resist the urge to turn on the oven to bake cakes, pies and cookies.

For quick snacks, keep cleaned veggies and fruit available. Your body will appreciate the nutrients! If your job keeps you outside a lot, pack these healthy snacks in a cooler along with plenty of water.

Heat and related weather issues can cause extra physical or emotional stress. To keep your “cool”, stay hydrated and nutritiously fed. Have fun in the kitchen discovering more ways to prepare, healthy food without too much heat.

Buying and fruits and vegetables in season is a great way to eat healthy and save money! To discover what’s in season this season, visit the US Dept. of Agriculture SNAP-Ed Connection website. You can also learn about guidelines for receiving resources through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly known as food stamps, browse through click ‘n go nutrition materials, and learn to eat right when money is tight.

For more information about nutrition, safe food preparation and other issues of interest to Michigan families contact a Michigan State University Extension educator in your area, either by visiting the MSUE website or calling toll-free at 888-MSUE-4-MI (888-678-3464).

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