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Jul 6, 2013 10:48 AM

Does weather affect your appetite?

Most people seem to eat more in cold weather/climates, which makes sense since calories are expended in maintaining normal body temperature. But how about hot weather? It's been 90 and humid in New England for over a week, which may be the new normal but is not what most of us are used to. I can't bear the thought of a full hot meal, much less using the oven. Since I am retired I can avoid exertion in this heat wave but even when working as a mail carrier, if it was hot and humid I either skipped lunch entirely or had a small cold meal like yogurt or a piece of fruit. This week I have no appetite at all. I am eating a single, mostly vegetable meal, in the evening, only because of an increasing headache if I eat nothing. Other than that, decaf iced coffee/tea, and a mid-afternoon snack containing fat, like a small scoop of ice cream, because I take a medicine that is best absorbed with a meal containing fat. Since I need to lose weight, the humuggly weather does have one thing in its favor.

Most folks prefer to eat *lighter* in summer, but how many eat *less*?

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  1. <Does weather affect your appetite?>

    Yes, yes, yes.

    1. Living in an area where 85 to 95 degrees is the norm for at least 5 months a year, I find the abrupt change will also alter my eating habits.

      That first cold front in January dictates either a beef stew or Bahamian sous. But my caloric intake of meat and poultry do not seem to fluctuate.

        1. I do eat 'lighter' in summer - more fruits and vegetables but I'll entirely skip dinner much more often when the heat hits. Even if I've made a proper dinner, sometimes I'll just put it all away and have it for breakfast the next day.

          Summer's are brutal here and although our winters are not blizzards, once it gets below 80, I start thinking of soup and stews.

          That said, I try not to eat unless I'm hungry. I think the increase in water, in the summer, may offset any hunger.

          11 Replies
          1. re: JerryMe

            "...once it gets below 80, I start thinking of soup and stews."

            I'm in Minnesota and I prefer the temp to be below 80.

            I have been in Mesa quite often in the winter and I suppose I can be seen as someone from outside the state because if it's 50° and sunny, I'll be wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

            I heard a guy on Phoenix radio te a story about how he saw some people swimming in a pool at 75° and he wanted to ask them "what part of Minnesota are you from".

            We definately eat lighter in hot weather. Today it was 90° but the dewpoint was over 70°. (Hint, that's quite 'sticky'.)

            1. re: John E.

              Ha Ha! I've seen those people and made the same comments! You have to admit that the Valley of the Sun is a welcome respite from a Minnesota winter (I'm from Montana)!

              1. re: JerryMe

                I love it down there when I visit in the winter. However, I was there for two months a couple of years ago to take care of my father after some serious heart surgery. I am pretty sure the temperature did not get above 70 that January and February, at least not until the day I flew home, it was 77. Don't get me wrong, it didn't bother me but I saw a lot of the locals wearing sweatshirts and jackets all the time.

                The problem I have with Mesa is that there a ton of places to eat, but not many of them are all that memorable. I guess they are mostly there for the snowbirds.

              2. re: John E.

                Reminds me of an episode of Top Chef, where a chef made a braised dish that was criticized as not being appropriate for hot weather. The chef didn't explain himself very well, but the gist was that he was from Florida, and thus if he waited for it to be cold to cook something braised, then he'd never cook anything braised!

                Conversely, I was in Tierra del Fuego, and my guide joked that when it hit 15 Celsius -- about 60 degrees Fahrenheit -- the locals all stripped off their clothes and jumped in the channel.

                As for me, I definitely eat not only lighter but less when it's hot. I'm from the temperate Bay Area, so I'm a complete wuss when it comes to heat!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I can totally relate to the Top Chef story. I live in FL and just eat what sounds good or better yet, what's on sale. If I want a big salad in January or pot roast tonight, I make it. I love braised foods and make them quite often. Lucky me, my man eats everything without compliant

                  1. re: suzigirl

                    and thank heavens for pressure cookers -- moist, tender braises without heating up the whole house.

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                    The interesting thing about Tierra del Fuego is that it has a fairly temperate climate. It's winter there now and it's 41 degrees there right now (I looked it up). So while they may not get too warm in the summer, they don't get too cold in the winter either. I understand they have some storms down thataway. : )

                    1. re: John E.

                      I was there in early spring, and it snowed (at sea level). But you're right, because it's surrounded by water and not shielded by any continental land mass, it's a temperate (although cool) marine climate.

                      And to keep this on topic, I had one of the best steaks ever in a hut next to a lake in Tierra Del Fuego. Or maybe it just tasted great after a very cold walk along the lakeshore!

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        I don't know if you were in Chile or Argentina, but the latter country is of course known for their beef, so it may have a little of both the quality of beef and the location.

                        1. re: John E.

                          Argentina. And yes, known for its beef, although in Patagonia I preferred the awesome lamb.

              3. too hot to eat much here in boston, much less turn on the oven.

                thankfully, i had a couple of containers of one of my favorite summertime soups, roasted tomato-fennel, in the freezer to see me through this heat wave.

                my other warm weather go tos, cauliflower ceviche. and white bean and kale salad, are well worth the stovetop time required.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wonderwoman

                  We've split wonderwoman's cauliflower ceviche recipe to its own thread on Home Cooking. You'll find it here: .