Zucchini season has arrived and I could not be happier about it. I recently picked up a couple of zukes at the PSU Farmer’s Market and instantly got busy in the kitchen creating these gluten free, paleo Zucchini Pancakes with Tzatziki Sauce. What I LOVE most about summer squash is 1) how ridiculously inexpensive it is (a 12-inch zucchini cost $0.75 each at the farmer’s market), 2) the versatility — it can be used for everything from breads to perfectly grilled veggies to zoodles, and 3) the taste! I love raw, cooked, grilled, steamed, roasted — you name it and I love it. During the summer I always have a variety of squash on hand for easy weeknight meals.
While I’m stoked about all of these delicious summer fruits and veggies hitting the farmer’s market and grocery store stands, along with the arrival of summer comes the HEAT! I love hot summer days (it’s currently 90-degrees in Portland!) but noticed I have to pay extra attention to hydration, sleep quality, and foods that I’m eating in order to feel my best during a heat wave. Whether you’re traveling to somewhere tropical or sticking around your neighborhood and find yourself lethargic or low energy in the hot summer months, here are a few tips to beat the heat this summer.
- Understand how much water you really need: We’ve all heard that we need to drink more water to stay hydrated in the summer months, but many might not know exactly how much is the right amount. As a general rule, start by taking your body weight divided by two. That’s the starting point for the number of ounces you should drink each day. For any caffeinated beverages (soda, coffee, tea, etc.) that you drink, add 12-16 additional ounces to that number. Note that if you weigh over 200 pounds, in general you will stick to 100 ounces as a starting point for water consumption.
- Maintain electrolyte balance with proper hydration. It’s not enough to simply up your water intake — you have to pay close attention to balancing electrolytes as well. Too much water (or even filtered and distilled water) can strip the body of the important minerals needed for proper balance. Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt to 1-2 glasses of water per day to keep electrolytes in balance. Of course, this will differ for every individual and if you have any concerns about it, please consult your doctor for more info. Proper fueling after a sweaty workout is also very important — you can find 35+ pre- and post-workout meal and snack ideas in our Guide to Pre and Post Workout Meals for more inspiration. After a tough workout, my favorite homemade “Gatorade” drink to restore electrolytes is usually a combination of:
- Coconut water
- Lemon juice
- A teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- Get more sleep: The best way to fuel your summer goals? Sleep! Whether it’s after a long day hiking in the sun or playing on the beach, your body needs the extra Z’s after sweating hard all day. A proper sleep environment will promote the most refreshing, deep sleep you can achieve, so make sure to keep the room dark, quiet, and cool (aim for 68 degrees F).
- Listen to your body: Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re feeling ill to take a break. If you’re mid workout (especially if it’s outside) and you aren’t feeling well, take a few minutes out of the sun to rest up and re-hydrate. While the summer is a great time to up your fitness game, it’s just as important to rest when you need it, especially if you’re feeling overheated.
- Incorporate lots of fresh, seasonal produce: Summer produce has a high water content (think juicy tomatoes, fresh watermelon, and delicious cucumber), so make sure to shop seasonally for the extra boost of hydration. Stay away from packaged, sodium-heavy meals (such as frozen dinners or cereals) in particular because they will suck your body dry of water! This is a guideline I like to follow in general but in the summer particularly, it’s extra important for proper hydration.
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Things you’ll need for this recipe:
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 tbsp Primal Palate Super Gyro seasoning
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 tbsp tapioca flour
- 4 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (plain)
- 1 tbsp dried dill
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 large cucumber, chopped, peeled, and de-seeded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the tzatziki sauce. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge until ready to eat.
- Next, make the zucchini pancakes. Begin by grating one large zucchini in a large bowl.
- Once the zucchini has been grated, use a cheesecloth or towel to ring out as much water as possible. Set back in the bowl.
- Add seasoning and slightly beaten eggs to the zucchini. Mix together.
- In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt). Add to the large bowl with the zucchini mixture.
- Whisk everything together until smooth.
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of batter to the pan, forming a pancake shape. Repeat, adding 4-5 small pancakes to the pan (be careful to spread out so they do not run together).
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Set aside and cover with foil to maintain temperature. Repeat until all batter has been used. Recipe makes 15-18 small pancakes.
- Serve with tzatziki sauce.
More easy veggie recipes!