With 90-degree days well underway, perhaps your appetite has dipped a bit.
The decreased hunger pangs have nothing to do with your summer lifestyle or busy schedule, though. They can be explained by biology.
The hypothalamus has numerous responsibilities, including temperature regulation and appetite control.
When it is extremely hot, the hypothalamus works overtime to help keep us cool.
Digestion, however, generates heat within the body —making it harder for the hypothalamus to keep us cool.
So, if the hypothalamus suppresses our appetite, we create less digestion, which improves the ability of the hypothalamus to keep us cool.
Of course, everyone’s metabolism is different.
Some people may have no problem eating soup when it’s 95 degrees.
And, summer and barbecues seem to go hand-in-hand, making steak and hamburgers a staple for many — regardless how hot it is, or how hungry they are.
With that being said, what’s on your pool party menu?
Foods that are cold and light are a popular option.
Also, don’t forget that being outdoors means we are sweating, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
When you’re planning an outdoor gathering, consider serving salads, fruit, and fruit-infused water to your guests.
It’s a good idea to offer cold food options, too — for a main dish or a side — if you’re having a barbecue.
Think anything ending in the word “salad.” Think pasta salad, tuna salad, egg salad, fruit salad, bean salad and so on.
Sandwiches also are a cool alternative for outdoor gatherings.
Cold cut sandwiches with sliced tomatoes and cheese on deli bread are great, but sandwiches don’t always need to include bread.
Think of lettuce wraps, tuna boats with cucumbers, slices of chilled hard-boiled eggs topped with salsa and slices of cucumber, or cucumber sandwiches —folded up pieces of turkey and cheese on cucumbers.
You can hydrate by eating fruits and vegetables containing high water content.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, cucumber, celery, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, spinach, zucchini, strawberries, and cauliflower are all 91% or more water by weight.
Oranges are close, at 86%.
You can make fruit and cheese skewers, or make flavored water, such as strawberry, lemon and mint; cucumber, lemon and celery; kiwi and orange; or cucumber, lime and thyme.
By Shari Bresin
Shari Bresin is the Family & Consumer Science agent for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Pasco County.
Foodborne illnesses increase during the summer months, likely due to outdoor gatherings.
Don’t let food out of temperature control for more than one hour if it’s over 90 degrees.
If it’s under 90, it can go up to two hours without temperature control.
Be especially mindful of this for buffet-style events.
Have a cooler packed with ice and a thermometer to make sure cold food is not in the temperature danger zone, when bacteria grows the fastest (40⁰-140⁰).
Separate ready to eat food from uncooked food if you’re cooking with raw meat.
Recipe – Tuna Boats
Serves 4: 1/2 cucumber and 6 ounces filling per serving
2 large cucumbers
2 green onions
1 (6-ounce) can low-sodium tuna, packed in water
1 (15 ½-ounce) can white beans
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon or country mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Rinse cucumbers. Peel off skin every ¼ inch, all the way around. Cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.
- Rinse lemon. Zest using the small holes of a box grater. Cut in half. In a small bowl, squeeze juice. Discard seeds.
- Rinse and chop green onions.
- Drain tuna. In a colander, drain and rinse beans.
- In a medium bowl, mash beans lightly with a fork.
- Add green onions, tuna, oil, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and 2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice to beans. Mix with a fork.
- Fill each cucumber half with ¼ tuna mixture. Serve.
Source: This recipe comes from Cooking Matters, one of Extension’s partners
Published June 23, 2021