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Fitness / Food & Beverages

Beat the Heat, Eat Smart: A Foodie Survival Guide for Delhi NCR's Heatwave

By Vidhi

Updated - May 29, 20248 min read

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The relentless Delhi NCR sun beats down, transforming the bustling metropolis into a furnace. While we crank up the air conditioners and guzzle down cooling drinks, one crucial defense against the scorching heat often gets overlooked: our food choices! What we eat can significantly impact how we feel during this annual trial by fire. This blog post is your survival guide, packed with delicious and heat-busting food strategies to navigate the Delhi NCR heatwave.


Understanding the Science of Heat and Food

Before diving into specific foods, let's understand the science behind how food choices affect us during a heatwave.  Our bodies work tirelessly to maintain a constant internal temperature. During a heatwave, this process goes into overdrive. Increased sweating is the body's natural cooling mechanism, but it also leads to dehydration and electrolyte loss. The food we eat plays a crucial role in replenishing these lost fluids and electrolytes, keeping our energy levels up, and aiding digestion – all vital for combating the heat.


Image courtesy: Mint


Embracing Cooling Cuisines: Ditch the Spice (Temporarily!)

While Delhi's fiery curries are a source of immense culinary pride, they might not be the best allies during this heatwave. Spicy food can raise your internal body temperature, adding to the discomfort.  Instead, explore the vibrant tapestry of Indian cuisine and embrace cooling dishes from coastal regions, renowned for their focus on:

Light, Soupy Dishes:  These are easily digestible and won't weigh you down. Consider South India's comforting Rasam, a tangy, lentil-based soup, or North India's Kadhi Pakora, a yogurt-based curry with gram flour fritters. Both are perfect for a light lunch or dinner.

Coconut Power: South Indian cuisine heavily utilizes coconut milk, known for its cooling properties. Indulge in a plate of flavorful coconut rice or explore fish curries simmered in creamy coconut milk for a refreshing and flavorful meal.

Fresh Herbs & Vegetables:  Dishes rich in fresh coriander, mint, and cucumbers add a touch of visual and culinary coolness. Think refreshing salads adorned with mint and coriander or vegetable curries infused with their subtle, cooling flavors. 


Image courtesy: The US health news


Hydration Heroes: Fruits & Vegetables Take Center Stage

Nature provides the perfect solution to combat dehydration during a heatwave: fruits and vegetables with high water content!  These watery wonders not only replenish lost fluids but also offer essential vitamins and minerals: 


Watermelon & Cucumber: These summer classics deserve their reputation. They're about 90% water and naturally cooling. Enjoy them sliced, juiced, or incorporated into refreshing salads.

Leafy Greens: Don't underestimate the power of spinach, lettuce, and kale. Packed with water, vitamins, and minerals, they keep you energized and hydrated throughout the day. 

Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, and melons are a delightful source of Vitamin C and hydration. Enjoy them whole, juiced, or frozen for a delicious and refreshing way to beat the heat. 


Image courtesy:


Electrolyte Boost: Rethink Your Drinks

Sugary sodas and processed juices might offer a temporary burst of sweetness, but they'll leave you feeling dehydrated in the long run.  Opt for these hydrating and electrolyte-rich beverages to keep your body in top shape:


Lassi: This North Indian yogurt-based drink is a delicious source of probiotics and electrolytes.  The cool, creamy texture is a welcome respite from the heat, while the probiotics aid digestion. 

Coconut Water:  Nature's sports drink replenishes electrolytes lost through sweat.  Enjoy it chilled for a refreshing and hydrating boost.

Buttermilk: A traditional Indian beverage made by churning curd, buttermilk is a cooling and refreshing drink. It aids digestion and keeps you hydrated throughout the day. 

coconut water

Image courtesy: Healthline


Smart Snacking: Beat the Afternoon Slump

Heavy meals can leave you feeling sluggish and bogged down, especially during a heatwave.  Opt for lighter, energy-boosting snacks to keep your body fueled and your mind sharp:


Sprouted Moong Dal (Lentils): A protein-packed snack that's easy to digest, perfect for keeping you fueled throughout the afternoon.  Sprinkle them with a dash of lemon and chaat masala for a burst of flavor.

Roasted Makhana (Fox Nuts): High in fiber and antioxidants, Makhana is a healthy and satisfying snack option.  Roast them with a touch of ghee and spices for a delightful crunchy treat.

Fresh Fruits & Yogurt Parfait: Layer your favorite seasonal fruits with chilled yogurt for a delicious and nutritious combination of protein and hydration.  Top it with chopped nuts or granola for added texture and flavor.

yogurt bowl

Image courtesy: Gather and Dine


Lighten Up Your Cooking Methods: Embrace the Heat-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen can quickly become an extension of the scorching outdoors. To avoid adding to the heat, simplify your cooking routine with these heatwave-friendly methods:


Grilling & Salads:  Fire up the grill for a quick and flavorful meal.  Marinate chicken, fish, or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in cooling yogurt-based marinades and grill them to perfection. Pair them with fresh salads tossed with a light vinaigrette for a satisfying and refreshing meal.

No-Cook Salads:  Sometimes, even the thought of turning on the stove can feel daunting.  Embrace the convenience and coolness of no-cook salads. Throw together a salad with cold cuts like grilled chicken or boiled eggs, chopped vegetables, and a light dressing for a quick and refreshing lunch. 

Soups & Salads: Cold soups are a delightful way to stay cool and enjoy a satisfying meal.  Explore Gazpacho, the famous Spanish chilled  tomato soup, or experiment with chilled cucumber raita (yogurt-based dip) with chopped vegetables for a refreshing and light Indian option. Pair them with a side salad for a complete and healthy meal.

cooking technique

Image courtesy: Health


Beyond the Kitchen: Embrace Delhi NCR's Street Food Scene

Delhi NCR boasts a vibrant street food scene, and during a heatwave, it can be your saving grace. Many traditional street food options are not only delicious but also perfectly suited to combat the heat:


Dahi Bhalla: These lentil fritters immersed in creamy yogurt and topped with chutneys are a classic Delhi street food. The yogurt base is cooling and hydrating, while the chutneys add a burst of flavor.

Aloo Chaat: This tangy potato salad is a delightful explosion of textures and flavors. Boiled potatoes are tossed with chopped onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, chutneys, and spices, offering a refreshing and light snack.

Bhalla Papdi Chaat: A deconstructed version of Dahi Bhalla, this chaat features crispy lentil fritters (bhalla) and crispy fried flatbreads (papdi) drizzled with yogurt and chutneys.  The combination of textures and cooling yogurt makes it a perfect heatwave treat.


Image courtesy: chef Kunal Kapoor


Planning & Prepping: Be a Heatwave Hero

A little planning goes a long way during a heatwave. Here are some tips to stay ahead of the heat and make healthy choices:


Meal Prep for the Week: Dedicate some time over the weekend to prepping chopped vegetables, marinating proteins, and cooking grains like brown rice or quinoa in advance.  This will save you time and effort during the hot days, encouraging you to make healthy choices.

Stock Up on Essentials: Keep your refrigerator stocked with hydrating fruits and vegetables, yogurt, buttermilk, and coconut water. Having these readily available will prevent unhealthy snacking choices when hunger strikes.

Frozen Treats: Frozen fruits make delightful and refreshing treats.  Blend them into smoothies or simply enjoy them frozen for a cool and hydrating snack.  You can even freeze yogurt in popsicle molds for a homemade frozen treat.


Image courtesy: Food network


Final Thoughts: Embrace the Heat with Flavor

The Delhi NCR heatwave doesn't have to be a culinary nightmare. You can navigate this period with delicious and healthy food choices by embracing cooling ingredients, smart cooking methods, and the city's vibrant street food scene. Remember, staying hydrated, eating light, and making smart choices are key to beating the heat. So, crank up the AC, grab a refreshing drink, and explore the world of heat-busting cuisine! With a little creativity and planning, you can turn this heatwave into a delicious adventure.