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Summer Eating: Tips from a Registered Dietitian

As the summer heats up, we can lose sight of a balanced eating pattern. However, it’s the perfect time to refresh your diet with vibrant, nutrient-packed foods that not only nourish your body, but keep you energized and hydrated as well! Let’s dive into how to maintain a healthy eating pattern, even during these fun summer months.

Woman eating watermelon outside during the summer

1.Hydrate with Fruits and Vegetables

Hydration is crucial in the summer heat, and what better way to stay hydrated than with water-rich fruits and vegetables? Cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, and tomatoes are excellent choices. They not only help replenish lost fluids but also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Try eating a bowl of mixed berries or melon as a hydrating snack.

2. Embrace Seasonal Produce

Summer is the peak season for many delicious fruits and vegetables. Visit your local farmers’ market to explore a variety of fresh, seasonal produce. Some summer favorites to eat include:

  • Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants.
  • Stone Fruits: Peaches, plums, and cherries are sweet and full of vitamins.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and arugula are perfect for light, crisp salads.
  • Squashes: summer squash and zucchini are wonderful on the grill and loaded with vitamins!

Try mixing up the way you eat them! They can be frozen for smoothies, eaten fresh, or added to desserts or savory sauces. 

3. Take Advantage of the Grill

Summer is synonymous with grilling, and it’s an excellent opportunity to cook healthily. Instead of the usual burgers and hot dogs, try grilling fish, chicken, or plant-based options like portobello mushrooms or veggie skewers. Pair them with grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and corn on the cob for a nutritious and flavorful meal.

4. Liven up your Salads

Salads are a versatile option that can be both satisfying and refreshing. Mix up your greens with a variety of toppings like nuts, seeds, avocados, and lean proteins such as grilled chicken or chickpeas. Consider making your own salad dressing, like olive oil, vinegar, and some fresh herbs to limit added salt and sugar.

5. Snack Smart

Summer activities often lead to excess snacking, so choose snacks that provide nutrition and energy. Some great options include:

  • Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit: A protein-packed choice that helps keep you full.
  • Hummus with Veggie Sticks: A crunchy, fiber-rich snack that’s perfect for on-the-go.
  • Frozen Grapes or Bananas: A cool and naturally sweet treat.
  • Homemade Trail Mix: nuts are a great source of healthy fat, easy to pack, and will help keep you full!

6. Stay Mindful of Portion Sizes

With all the delicious food around, it’s easy to overeat. Be mindful of portion sizes and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

7. Practice Moderation

Summer is a time for fun and celebration, which often includes treats like ice cream and BBQ fare. Try to avoid the “all or nothing” mentality that often causes us to over-indulge. Instead, enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, and do your best to add nutritious options where you can! For instance, include a side salad with your BBQ, and enjoy a small desert bowl of ice cream instead of a large.

8. Stay Active

A healthy eating pattern goes hand-in-hand with staying active. Summer offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, hiking, and biking. Staying active not only supports a healthy metabolism but also enhances your overall well-being.

9. Experiment with New Recipes

Take advantage of the abundance of fresh ingredients and try new recipes. Make a vibrant gazpacho, a chilled soup that’s perfect for hot days, or a quinoa salad loaded with colorful vegetables. Experimenting in the kitchen can be a fun way to discover new favorites and keep your meals exciting.

10. Drink Plenty of Water!

As detailed above, enjoying fruits and vegetables can be a great way to increase your hydration in the summer months. Make sure to also keep up with your water intake! Ideally, we should all get about half of our body weight in fluid ounces (i.e. a 130 lb person should aim for approximately 65 oz of water daily). Infuse your water with herbs, fruits, or vegetables to make it more exciting!

Sometimes we think of the summer as a time to let lose due to all the fun foods and drinks in season. Try to embrace the season’s fresh and vibrant flavors while staying mindful of your choices and using moderation. By incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, staying hydrated, and enjoying seasonal produce, you can nourish your body and get the most out of sunny months. 

If you have additional questions about healthy eating patterns, reach out to one of our nutrition experts today!

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