13 healthy summer foods and ways to enjoy

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Summer is a time of abundance, and with the warm weather comes an array of delicious and nutritious foods to savor. Incorporate seasonal produce for a healthy, energised summer diet, whether to maintain or lose weight.

This article delves into 13 wholesome summer foods with delightful tastes and numerous health benefits. From hydrating watermelon to nutrient-packed berries and grilled fish, savor the season's bounty for a nourished and energised you.

1. Watermelon

healthy summer foods

What's summer without watermelon? This juicy and refreshing fruit is a classic summer staple, and it's also incredibly hydrating, making it perfect for staying cool on hot days. Watermelon is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants like lycopene, which can promote heart health and reduce inflammation.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Watermelon Smoothie: Blend watermelon chunks with frozen strawberries, a splash of coconut water, and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing and hydrating smoothie.
  • Watermelon Popsicles: Puree watermelon and pour it into popsicle molds. Add a few blueberries or mint leaves for extra flavor and freeze for a cool and healthy summer treat.
  • Watermelon Gazpacho: Combine diced watermelon with cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onion, and a dash of balsamic vinegar for a unique and chilled gazpacho soup.

2. Cucumbers

healthy summer foods

Crisp and cool, cucumbers are an excellent choice for summer snacking. They have a high water content, making them hydrating, and are low in calories, making them a weight-conscious option. Cucumbers also contain silica, a mineral that supports healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Cucumber and Mint Infused Water: Slice cucumbers and add them, along with fresh mint leaves, to a pitcher of water. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours for a refreshing and detoxifying drink.
  • Cucumber Ribbon Salad: Use a vegetable peeler to create thin cucumber ribbons. Toss them with cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette for a light and elegant salad.
  • Cucumber and Yogurt Dip: Grate cucumbers and mix them with Greek yogurt, minced garlic, dill, and a pinch of salt. Serve with pita bread or vegetable sticks for a delightful and healthy dip.

3. Berries

Summer offers a colourful berry bounty – strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries – packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. These nutrient powerhouses can boost your immune system and contribute to improved brain health.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Berry Parfait: For a delightful and visually appealing parfait, layer mixed berries, vanilla yogurt, and granola in a glass or bowl—ideal for breakfast or dessert.
  • Mixed Berry Salad: Mix strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with baby spinach, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing, nutrient-packed salad.
  • Berry Chia Seed Jam: Cook mixed berries with honey or maple syrup until softened, then stir in chia seeds. Cool and refrigerate for a homemade, healthy jam—great on toast or as a yogurt topping.

4.Tomatoes

healthy summer foods

Tomatoes are at their peak during summer, and they're not just a versatile ingredient; they're also brimming with nutrients. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Caprese Skewers: Thread cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and basil leaves onto skewers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a delightful and bite-sized appetizer.
  • Tomato and Basil Bruschetta: Dice tomatoes and mix them with fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil. Spoon the mixture over toasted baguette slices for a classic and delicious bruschetta.
  • Stuffed Tomatoes: Hollow out large tomatoes and fill them with quinoa, sautéed vegetables, and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake until tender for a savoury and satisfying meal.

5. Peppers

healthy summer foods

Whether they are red, green, or yellow, peppers are a vibrant addition to your summer diet. They are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, promoting skin health and immune support.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers: Cut the tops off bell peppers and fill them with cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through for a hearty and nutritious dinner.
  • Pepper and Hummus Snack: Slice bell peppers into strips and serve them with a side of hummus for a crunchy and nutritious snack.
  • Grilled Stuffed Peppers: Halve bell peppers and stuff them with a mixture of ground turkey, diced onions, garlic, and spices. Grill until the peppers are charred and the filling is cooked through for a flavourful and healthy main course.

6. Zucchini

healthy summer foods

Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that thrives during the summer months. It's low in calories and high in fiber, contributing to better digestion and weight management. Spiralize zucchini to make “zoodles” as a healthy alternative to pasta or grill them for a delicious and nutritious side dish.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Zucchini Noodles with Pesto: Use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles and toss them with homemade pesto sauce for a light and flavorful pasta alternative.
  • Zucchini Chips: Slice zucchini into thin rounds, lightly coat them with olive oil, and bake until crispy for a guilt-free and delicious snack.
  • Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups: Grill zucchini slices until tender, then roll them up with a mixture of ricotta cheese, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for an appetising and healthy appetiser.

7. Avocado

healthy summer foods

Creamy and packed with healthy fats, avocados are a great addition to your summer menu. They are a good source of potassium, essential for maintaining proper hydration and muscle function.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Avocado Smoothie Bowl: Blend avocado with frozen bananas, spinach, and almond milk, then top with granola, sliced fruit, and a sprinkle of chia seeds for a filling and nutritious breakfast bowl.
  • Avocado Egg Salad: Mash ripe avocado with boiled eggs, diced red onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a creamy and protein-rich egg salad.
  • Avocado Chocolate Mousse: Puree avocado with cocoa powder, a touch of honey, and vanilla extract for a decadent and healthier chocolate mousse.

8. Corn

healthy summer foods

Freshly grilled corn on the cob is a quintessential summer delight. Corn is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamine, and folate. Avoid drowning it in butter and salt; opt for brushing with olive oil and sprinkling herbs for a healthier and flavorful twist.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Corn and Black Bean Salad: Combine grilled corn with black beans, diced red bell peppers, cilantro, and a lime dressing for a vibrant and protein-packed salad.
  • Corn Chowder: Cook corn kernels with onions, celery, potatoes, and vegetable broth. Blend half the mixture for a creamy base, then add the remaining kernels for a comforting and flavorful soup.
  • Corn and Tomato Salsa: Mix grilled corn with diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for a zesty and satisfying salsa.

9. Spinach

healthy summer foods

Leafy greens like spinach are loaded with nutrients and have a lighter texture that's perfect for summer salads. They are a great source of iron, calcium, and vitamins A and K, promoting bone and eye health.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken: Butterfly chicken breasts and stuff them with a mixture of sautéed spinach, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake until the chicken is cooked and the filling is melty and delicious.
  • Spinach Pesto: Blend fresh spinach with pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil to create a vibrant and nutrient-packed pesto sauce. Toss it with pasta or use it as a spread for sandwiches.
  • Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas: Sauté spinach and mushrooms with garlic and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Place the mixture between two tortillas with shredded cheese and cook until the cheese is melted and gooey.

10. Grilled fish

healthy summer foods

Summer brings an abundance of fish, such as salmon, trout, and sardines, offering a lean source of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Grilling fish with some citrus and herbs enhances its flavour while keeping it light and healthy.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Fish and Mango Salsa Tacos: Grill fish fillets and serve them in corn tortillas topped with mango salsa, shredded cabbage, and a drizzle of lime crema for a tropical and delicious taco night.
  • Grilled Fish Skewers: Cut fish into chunks and thread them onto skewers with colorful bell peppers and red onions. Grill until the fish is cooked through and serve with a side of cilantro-lime rice for a delightful and balanced meal.
  • Fish Lettuce Wraps: Use grilled fish as a filling for lettuce wraps, along with sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and a peanut sauce for a light and flavourful Asian-inspired dish.

11. Mangoes

healthy summer foods

Mangoes are the epitome of tropical goodness, and their peak season falls during summer. Packed with vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, mangoes can support your immune system and aid in digestion.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: Blend ripe mangoes with coconut milk and mix it with chia seeds. Refrigerate overnight for a creamy and tropical chia pudding.
  • Mango and Shrimp Salad: Toss diced mangoes with cooked shrimp, avocado, red onions, and lime dressing for a refreshing and protein-rich salad.
  • Mango Lassi: Blend mango chunks with yogurt, a pinch of cardamom, and a touch of honey for a refreshing and traditional Indian beverage.

12. Iced herbal teas

healthy summer foods

During hot summer months, staying hydrated is crucial. Opt for iced herbal teas as a delightful and healthy alternative to sugary drinks. Choose herbal teas like mint, chamomile, or hibiscus, which offer various health benefits and are naturally caffeine and calorie free.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Fruity Iced Hibiscus Tea: Brew hibiscus tea and add sliced oranges, strawberries, and mint leaves for a naturally sweet and vibrant iced tea.
  • Lemon-Mint Iced Chamomile Tea: Steep chamomile tea bags in cold water and add lemon slices and fresh mint leaves for a soothing and citrusy iced tea.
  • Mixed Berry Iced Rooibos Tea: Brew rooibos tea and mix it with a medley of mixed berries and a hint of agave syrup for a naturally sweet and antioxidant-rich iced tea.

13. Greek Yogurt

healthy summer foods

Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein and probiotics, which support gut health. In summer, savor a bowl of Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a cool and nutritious breakfast or snack.

Ways to enjoy it:

  • Greek Yogurt Parfait Popsicles: Layer Greek yogurt with granola and mixed berries in popsicle molds. Freeze for a refreshing and nutritious summer treat.
  • Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Tzatziki: Create a tangy and versatile dip by mixing Greek yogurt with grated cucumbers, garlic, dill, and a splash of lemon juice. It pairs perfectly with grilled meats or pita bread.
  • Greek Yogurt and Berry Smoothie Bowl: Blend frozen berries and banana with Greek yogurt, then top it with sliced kiwi, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey for a nourishing and vibrant smoothie bowl.

Embrace creative and delicious ways to enjoy healthy summer foods for nourishing meals and delightful treats. Make the most of vibrant flavors and health benefits in seasonal produce, whether it's a BBQ or a picnic. Enjoy a fresh and exciting summer dining experience. Happy summer and happy eating!

You might not want to miss another article on summer desserts – 11 refreshing summer desserts: cool recipes for hot days

Author

  • Emily Z

    Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Emily has years of experiences in writing articles under the scopes of her professional knowledge. She has expert knowledge of nutrition principles, including macronutrients, micronutrients, and dietary guidelines; proficient in assessing and addressing nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and intolerances. She also has experience in developing meal plans for various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. She has the ability to effectively communicate complex nutrition information in a clear and understandable manner.

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Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Emily has years of experiences in writing articles under the scopes of her professional knowledge. She has expert knowledge of nutrition principles, including macronutrients, micronutrients, and dietary guidelines; proficient in assessing and addressing nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and intolerances. She also has experience in developing meal plans for various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. She has the ability to effectively communicate complex nutrition information in a clear and understandable manner.

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