As a lifelong Floridian, I've survived many a scorching summer. Here, I share some of my best heat-beating tips.
Summer is here, and it is HOT! So what essential items do you need to beat the heat (especially if you're at home with your kids)?
I've compiled a list of things that help my family make it through the long, hot months. If you have any more you would like to add, please comment below!
- (Ice) water—LOTS of it! And if you're an athlete or going to be doing any physical activity outside, you should also get some water with electrolytes, or Gatorade, Powerade, or Body Armour beverages. These will replenish what your body sweats out.
- Double-walled metal drink tumbler—it doesn't matter if you use Yeti, Ozark Trails, Sam's Club brand, or a knock-off from Ross or Marshall's. These cups keep your drinks cold for hours, even outside in the sun during Saturday practice or beach days!
- Extra Large Ice Cube trays—to keep your drinks cooler longer (even better when added to your double-walled drink tumbler). I found mine on Amazon. I can usually refill my drink 4-5 times before the ice completely melts!
- Sunscreen—every. single. time. you're outside. Don't risk skin cancer.
- Wide-brimmed hats—for outdoor activities
- Veggies in the fridge!—yes! refrigerate your baby carrots, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and any other veggie snacks your family enjoys. The cold may be rough on baby or toddler teeth, so take them out of the fridge for 5-10 minutes before enjoying, but the coldness will help cool their and your body down.
- Popsicles or Fruit Smoothies—not only are these easy to make at home with just some fresh fruit, water or juice, but also they're a great way to sneak more greens into your kids' diet. Plus, we are in peak fruit season! Whether you like berries, melons, peaches, mangoes, papayas, or bananas best, you can find practically any fruit at the store or farmer's market, and most of them are on sale.
Tip: Just cut up your favorite larger fruits into chunks or slices, place onto wax or parchment paper spaced out on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer overnight. In the morning, remove the pieces and store in zip-top bags in the freezer. You can use as much or as little as you want, and you can stock up on your favorites while they're in season!
My Favorite Fruit Smoothie Combinations
You can add spinach or kale to any of these to sneak in some greens, and use either coconut water, coconut milk, or juice as a base. Apple is the most neutral, but you can always experiment with fun ones like cranberry, grape, pineapple, orange, or even tropical fruit juices. If you stick with plain water, you may need to add a little stevia, agave, or honey to sweeten it a bit more.
I also love to add flax seeds and chia seeds to my smoothies for their health benefits.
- watermelon, mint, strawberry
- strawberry, lime, coconut
- papaya, coconut
- mamey (a native Cuban fruit) and strawberry or coconut
- blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
- mango, peach
- cream of coconut, frozen limeade concentrate or lime juice
- avocado, pineapple
- pineapple, banana, cucumber
- mango, pineapple, banana
- cucumber, honeydew, kiwi
- strawberry, lime juice, banana
- cinnamon, banana, pear
- pineapple, orange juice, banana
- mango, pineapple, papaya
- mango, avocado, mint
- cantaloupe, banana, orange juice
- peach, lemon
- peach, pineapple
- strawberry, coconut, banana
- cranberry, orange juice, banana
- pineapple, papaya, banana, cucumber
- lemon, apple, banana, avocado
- peach, mango, avocado
- banana, pineapple, raspberry, mango
- avocado, banana, spinach
- cantaloupe, raspberry
- avocado, pineapple, coconut, lime (avocolada)
- banana, apple, orange, pinch of ginger
More Summer Survival Items
- Jello—it's inexpensive to make, it's served cold, and what kid doesn't love it? Even my husband gets excited about this after-dinner treat. It's good for your hair and nails, and it's available in sugar-free options. Plus there are so many more flavors out there now! And, your kids can even help you make it (with supervision)!
- Iced Tea—most southerners already know about this one. If you don't have a tea maker, you can use a microwave-safe glass dish or measuring cup to add 4-6 tea bags and 2 cups of water to the microwave for 5 minutes to make tea concentrate, then add (1/2-1 cup) sugar, stevia, or agave, stir, and add 2 more cups of water and ice. But did you know that peppermint tea is amazing cold as well? Any fruit teas are going to be a wonderful summer treat!
- Mint—a few of the recipes above include fresh mint. This adds a bright, refreshing flavor to smoothies, and it can be used to make a delightful infused water. I also add lavender leaves and lemon balm to mine.
My recipe for infused water is simple. Just add a handful of clean leaves to a pitcher (with a strainer lid) of water, and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you will have cool, refreshing, minty water. You can also add cucumber, strawberries, or other fruits to it, just make sure anything you slice or add is clean first. I also like to add lemon balm leaves for a bit of citrusy flavor, plus it's calming.
Outdoor and Body-Care Items
- Garden hose or plastic kiddie pool—even if you don't have kids, your dogs may like it. And if they don't, trust me, there is something refreshing about sitting outside with your feet in some cool water, even if it's only up to your ankles, while you're wearing shorts and a tank top.
- Cold showers—wait until afternoon or the hottest part of the day, or if you've been outside gardening (although if you were exercising outdoors, allow your body to cool off at least half an hour first). Then hop into a cold (or as cool as you can stand it) shower and let that stinky sweat disappear and your body temperature come down.
- Peppermint essential oil—for those suffering from hot flashes or anyone who wants to cool down, grab a clean, empty refillable body spray bottle and add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil (the best quality brands are DoTerra and Young Living, but if you're concerned about the cost, Eden's Garden is about 1/4 of their prices, is good quality, and always free shipping), then fill the rest of the way with purified or distilled water. I like to spritz it on my legs, my neck, and my shoulders for a quick cooling option. (I kept it by my bed for hot flashes during the night). But be careful not to spray it on the face, near the eyes or sensitive areas, or anywhere where it could drip into a sensitive place.
- Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap—this may seem strange, but this soap has a very cooling after-effect on the body. I wouldn't use it on any sensitive areas, and test it on your hands first to be sure you don't have any negative reactions. But if used on your back and legs especially, after you towel off, it feels very cooling and reinvigorating!
- Grill as many of your foods as you can. It helps the house stay cooler. Or you can use a toaster oven for snacks like pizza bites that need an oven for crunchiness.
- Shorts and tank tops
- Flip flops or sandals —but comfy ones!
- Spritz fans
- Cooling towels
- Water guns—these are even fun for adults! Challenge your spouse or friends to a water gun fight!
- Kimonos or thin wraps—I like to wear the thinnest layers possible, but I still like to look put together and modest, not like I haven't changed clothes in a week. A long, thin wrap or kimono top over a tank top (even a spaghetti strap) looks nice and put together, while still feeling a lot cooler than a t-shirt. Plus there are so many cute styles out now (and the ones with sleeves help hide under-arm jiggle, if that's ever your concern too). Shop around, you might even find some that are July 4th themed! I found the patriotic one below at Target, but Amazon has super cute kimonos too .
- Palazzo pants and maxi skirts—thin, cool, available in lots of fun prints or solids, and no one will know if you didn't want to shave your legs today, again!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Amanda Leitch
Liz Westwood from UK on June 22, 2019:
You give some great tips. I once read that freezing grapes was a good idea for anyone dieting. They are a healthier alternative to chocolate which would melt anyway in the heat.
Naude Lorenzo on June 20, 2019:
A very interesting article and healthy eating habits for all of us in Florida and beyond, very good details we probably wouldn't think about without this suggestions, thanks Amanda.
Patricia Lewis on June 19, 2019:
Thats pretty thorough!
RTalloni on June 19, 2019:
Super ideas to think through and use for cooling off in Florida's hot summers. It's the kind of heat one must be careful in and you've provided great tips.