food_to_keep_cool_main2.jpgHotter afternoons and longer days definitely signify the summer season, and with El Niño blasting through the tropics, we can expect this summer to be hotter and more humid than most. We'll be trading our office blazers and pantsuits for lightweight blouses and skirts whenever we can, and, when at home, swapping out stretchy pants for shorts or sarongs. Being in a tropical country, we have a lot of cool solutions beyond seeking the shade and wearing lighter clothing, and these include food and beverages.

Here are some suggestions on what to prepare for yourself and your family and friends as we all prepare for the summer:


HYDRATE!

We all think of flavored drinks when we think of ways to cool down during the summer that we forget the simplest and most accessible solution: water! A simple glass of iced water can quench the mightiest of thirsts. And it’s healthy for you too!


SKIP THE SPICE AND THE BOOZE

food_to_keep_cool_sangria.jpgDuring the hot summer months, you might want to keep the intake of spicy food at a minimum. You might be craving your favorite bicol express, but remember that spicy food dehydrates you faster. And despite the weather begging for a tall glass of margarita or any icy alcoholic beverage, keep the alcohol intake on the down low as well—at least, until the sun goes down. Alcohol is notorious for contributing to dehydration. If you’re hosting an afternoon party, try serving mocktails—cocktails without the alcohol—or fruit punches like Yummy.PH’s totally fruity mock sangria.


TEA TIME!

Tea has a lot of healthy benefits outside of keeping you cool and sane during the sweltering heat. Tea also wakes you up, just like coffee! The next time you’re hankering for a frappucino, try the recipes for strawberry mint tea or fizzy teazy from Yummy.PH. These will surely perk you up while helping you cool down.


SMOOTH OPERATOR

food_to_keep_cool_smoothie.jpgYoghurt has been making waves here, and it’s the perfect way to stay cool and keep a healthy tummy. The frozen kind is great and refreshing, and there are a lot of ways to serve yoghurt in drink form as well. Yoghurt is smooth and creamy, perfect for a strawberry-banana smoothie or a drink inspired by India: peach-mango lassi. If you want the authentic thing, Food Network has the salted and sweet versions.


GOT MILK?

Milk does a body good. It also helps cool you down! Feed your thirst and your bones with calcium-rich goodness with AFC’s chocolate banana milkshake and Yummy.PH’s Thai iced tea with tapioca pearls.


DON'T FORGET THE CLASSICS

food_to_keep_cool_buko_pandan.jpgSummer in the Philippines means one thing: halo-halo! Every person has a version of this so why not turn your regular party into a halo-halo party? Everyone can mix and match their own ingredients and shave their own ice! Summer is also time for a cool bowl of buko pandan! Granted it’s not a real drink, but one quick buzz in your food processor and it is!


TRY SOMETHING NEW

Thank the Japanese for cold soba noodles! It might sound weird, but I suggest you give it a try. A simpler version just requires soba noodles, Kikkoman soy sauce and nori strips. Cook and cool the noodles and serve with the soy sauce with nori strips for garnish. Remember to slurp loudly (which is okay to do in Japan)!


You don’t have to duck to your nearest mall or coffee shop to enjoy a cool treat this summer. All you need are friends, a fan, and some homemade chillers to relax and bring down the heat a few degrees!


(Photo source: sxc.hu—main; yummy.ph—totally fruity mock sangria, strawberry-banana smoothie, classic buko pandan)

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