As we reach the hottest time of the year – although for many we seem to have sweltered through it in January - we need to re-energise and regain that lost vitality as we head back to work or the classroom. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- COOL OFF & HIT THE POOL. Whether it's lap swimming, water aerobics, or just splashing about, you'll feel refreshed and your body will start to come alive again as well as utilising some of those extra fat stores acquired during the break. It’s the perfect antidote to overindulgence.
- BE TEMPTED by luscious summer fruit low in kilojoules and bursting with vitamins and minerals. Serve platters of mangoes, melons, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit.
Or blend with low fat fruit yoghurt for a summer sorbet treat, or add a yoghurt drink for an icy cold drink. Chunks of fresh fruit on skewers, lightly BBQ, make a delicious dessert.
- KEEP IT LIGHT AND BITE SIZE (no large meals or high fat snacks like chips). Serve bite size nibbles like smoked salmon slices rolled up with a little Greek yoghurt on top of sliced cucumber. Circles of pumpernickel rye bread topped with prawns and avocado or freshly shucked oysters with a squeeze of lemon.
- FOCUS ON SALADS at night (so you're not sleeping on an overfull stomach). An array of different lettuce varieties, slices of turkey breast (low in fat, but tender), lightly steamed asparagus, spring onions, avocado and mango slices or baby spinach leaves topped with cherry tomatoes, snow peas, cucumber chunks, thin slices of super lean beef, tossed with a little chilli, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- THINK HEALTHY BBQ SEAFOOD MEALS. Skewers of prawns. Or salmon or blue eye cutlets (cook on Glad Bake or wrap as parcels - no added fat, the seafood won't stick, and individual meals can be made to suit different tastes - like no chilli for the kids. If cooked on a naked flame, wrap the paper parcel in foil).
- IN THE RAW. Too hot to cook? Raw vegetables are crisp and crunchy in a salad or with a fruit yoghurt dip or on the side with canned tuna or salmon mixed with natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lime juice and freshly ground pepper.
- HAVE ALCOHOL FREE DAYS. Or if you've really overindulged, make it an alcohol free week. Get into anti-oxidant rich tomato juice with all the condiments or a cranberry spritzer (cranberry juice and sparkling mineral water) to help flush toxins through.
- DO DRINK THE WATER. In summer heat, you need plenty of water to help your body flush out all the waste products and keep you well hydrated to cope with everything you have to do.
And if you want a cool dessert to indulge in one warm evening, made from luscious summer berries, you might like my Summer Pudding recipe:
3 cups mixed berries (eg. raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries)
1/2 cup castor sugar (use less if the berries are sweet)
8 slices bread, crusts removed or pannetone
- Remove stalks from the fruit. Wash fruit and put it with the sugar in a pan.
- Cover and cook gently for 5-10 minutes or until fruit is tender. Drain off the juice, reserving 6 tablespoons.
- Line a 1 litre pudding basin with some of the bread slices, cutting them to fit the basin exactly.
- Spoon in the fruit, packing it in well. Pour in the reserved juice. Place the remaining bread on top of the fruit.
- Cover with a plate, small enough to rest on the pudding itself, and place a heavy can or other weight on the plate.
- Leave the pudding overnight in the refrigerator.
- Turn out and serve with Jalna Low Fat Vanilla Creamy Yoghurt or Jalna Sweet and Creamy Greek Yoghurt