Summer is the perfect time to eat clean and healthy. And it’s easy because there are so many fresh and delicious options right now. The important word here is fresh, and that’s never more available than in the summertime. So no excuses!
Here are some delicious snacks and drinks to add to your healthy-eating menu this summer!
This salad is one of those dishes that is so much better when the ingredients are in season. And right now, they are! Fresh tomatoes make this salad amazing, and it’s super-easy to make:
Slice fresh tomatoes. Top each slice with a small piece of fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. This low-calorie dish is loaded with Vitamin C and other nutrients. Easy and delicious—you can’t beat that!
Cottage cheese with pineapple slices
Cottage cheese has an excellent protein to calorie ratio, and it’s a great post-workout recovery food. Put cottage cheese on top of sliced pineapple for a delicious treat. Or instead of pineapple, you can mix the cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Try it both ways for a low-calorie, nutrient-rich snack.
Apple slices with almond butter
Almond butter (besides being delicious!) is packed with protein, fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. Some weight-loss experts even believe that eating it helps people lose weight. Make sure to buy an almond butter that doesn’t have added sugar or salt—it doesn’t need those ingredients to be delicious. Then dip your favorite fruits in it for a yummy and healthy snack. Apples are great with almond butter, but you can also try pear slices, banana slices, or whatever other fruit you like!
Ditch the crackers and chips
Summer is also the perfect time to replace crackers and chips with vegetable slices for healthier dip partners. Try these fresh, healthier alternatives this summer and see if you even miss the chips and crackers!
Hummus and fresh vegetables
Hold off on the pita chips and learn to enjoy hummus with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, or any raw fresh veggie that is your favorite. Hummus is full of protein and fiber and is low in calories. When you leave the chips out, you’ve got a super-healthy summer snack!
String cheese with fruit slices
Who doesn’t love cheese and crackers? But swapping the crackers out for fiber-rich fruit slices (like apple or pear) gives you a more nutritious snack—and one that’s more satisfying, too!
Guacamole with vegetables
Here’s another swap that will leave you feeling satisfied with far fewer calories—skip the tortilla chips and dip veggies in that delicious and nutritious guacamole. When you eat guacamole with vegetables, the healthy fat in avocados helps boost the absorption of important antioxidants in the vegetables. And it makes it a low-calorie healthy snack, too. Carrot sticks and bell pepper slices are popular with guacamole, but again, try whatever vegetables are your favorite!
Lastly, the obvious one…fresh fruit of summer
Don’t overlook the amazing seasonal summer fruit that will be in abundance at your grocery store or farmer’s market. Some fruit is available year-round, but the fruit that’s being picked in-season this summer is something to take advantage of while you can. Think of strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums, watermelon, and more. These are not only tastier, but less expensive now. Enjoy—you can’t go wrong with seasonal fruit!
Healthy summer drinks
Poolside, or for an evening outside on warm nights ahead, try these as healthier replacements for sugary soft drinks. (Drink recipes and photos are from EatingWell.com.)
Pomegranate juice is a great option for refreshing and healthy beverages because it’s high in antioxidants and vitamin C. We think you’ll love this fruity, tropical-inspired thirst quencher!
· 1 cup pomegranate juice, chilled
· ½ cup chopped fresh pineapple
· 2 cups ice cubes
· 1 cup diet lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled (Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist)
In a blender, combine pomegranate juice and pineapple. Cover and blend until smooth. Gradually add ice cubes, blending until slushy. Transfer to a pitcher and slowly pour in the carbonated beverage. Serve immediately.
This one’s super easy to make—only three ingredients. But it’s delicious and refreshing!
· Choose your favorite among these juices: grape, cranberry, or pomegranate
· Sparkling water
· Fresh fruit
Half-fill tall glasses with ice cubes. Pour juice evenly among glasses. Then pour sparkling water evenly into glasses. Stir gently. If desired, float grapes or other fruits in the drinks.
Here’s another simple drink to make that’s cool and refreshing for the summer days ahead.
· 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (easy to grow!)
· 3 cups light cranberry juice (or light cranberry-raspberry juice if you prefer)
· 1 cup club soda, chilled
· Ice cubes
· ½ cup raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries
· Fresh mint sprigs
Place the 3 tablespoons of mint leaves in a pitcher. Use the back of a large spoon to lightly bruise the leaves. Stir in the juice. Cover and chill.
Then strain mint from the juice and discard. Stir club soda into the juice. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Top with fresh berries and mint springs.
Summer: The Easiest Time for Healthy Eating
Summer really is the easiest time to eat healthy. Some of the most delicious fruits are in season right now making them more available, tastier, and less expensive. So take advantage of this, and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. If you haven’t yet, try some of the recipes we’ve listed and let us know which are your favorites.