Did you know that summer is the perfect time to eat healthier? That’s because when the weather heats up, so do our cravings for delicious, refreshing foods—a survey by Food and Knowledge.
What’s so great about summer food?
When people think of “summer food,” they tend to picture hot dogs and hamburgers, ice cream and popsicles, and potato salad and coleslaw. While these dishes are delicious and quintessential summer fare, they’re also loaded with calories, saturated fats, and other unhealthy ingredients. You can cut back on these less healthy ingredients during the summer and still enjoy delicious, flavorful dishes. Plus, when you eat more beneficial in the summer, you’ll also be setting yourself up for success during the colder months when you want to eat healthier again.
Why is it important to eat healthily during the summer?
You may crave a hearty stew or a baked casserole in the winter. But in the summer, you want light, fresh foods that won’t make you feel hot and heavy. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy salads, fresh vegetables (especially tomatoes and corn), and grilled foods. Summer is also the ideal time to get your kids to eat healthily. Kids naturally crave sugar, so when it’s hot outside, they might want a popsicle or ice cream daily. But with some planning, you can substitute healthy, nutritious foods for these treats without fuss.
Tips for eating healthy in the summer and all year-round
- Make veggies the star of your plate. You can enjoy a wide variety of fresh, delicious summer veggies like corn, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
- Skip the butter and heavy cream. If you’re making a baked potato, corn on the cob, or another dish that calls for butter, try using a light, low-calorie butter substitute instead.
- Replace heavy, creamy soups with broth-based ones. If you’re craving a warm, creamy soup, try making a lighter, brothy option like miso soup or corn chowder.
- Try eating a wide variety of foods. Eating a balanced diet means consuming a wide variety of foods that provide a good mix of nutrients.
- Get plenty of fruits and vegetables.
No matter what time of year, you should aim to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Healthy dinner recipes you can make in 20 minutes or less
- Steak and Sweet Potato Salad - This delicious salad is hearty enough to make for the main dish but is light enough to enjoy as a side with grilled chicken or fish.
- Spicy Braised Chicken - This one-pot meal is perfect if you want to keep dinner simple but delicious. You can make it in under 30 minutes, and it’s also incredibly affordable.
- Easy Pasta Salad - If you’re looking for something quick and easy to bring to a summer potluck or picnic is the perfect choice.
- Lemon and Herb Salmon - This simple salmon recipe is ready in just 20 minutes, and it’s perfect if you’re trying to eat healthier while still indulging in something delicious.
The main takeaway is that you should try to eat healthy all year, not just in the winter! That said, summer is the best time to start if you’ve been meaning to make some changes. The weather is warm, and tons of fresh fruits and veggies are available, making it easy to transition to healthier eating. Plus, you’re more likely to crave fresh, light foods like salads or smoothies when it's warm out. So take advantage of the summer weather and the abundance of fresh produce by making healthy changes to your diet. You’ll feel better, look better, and have more energy when summer is over.