What should you eat this summer? Get this nutritionist-approved diet for summer so you can eat well and still achieve health.
Nutritionist-Approved Diet for Summer
Nutrition can be nitty-gritty. Another measure of perfection that is hard to add up to. Something that can be exceptionally boring and joy-sucking in the summer.
That’s why, as a nutritionist, I believe the most important thing is not perfection but balancing—looking at food as nutrients and nourishment rather than good or bad. Plus, it can be a lot of fun. Summer is a great time to add all kinds of flavors.
If you’re looking for bold flavors, nutrient density, and something you can sustain all summer long, here is, my ‘nutritionist approved’ diet for summer. And an actual look inside my diet.
DISCLAIMER: Make sure you leave room for those summer BBQs, brunch spreads by the pool and late-night s’mores over the campfire. Health is more about living and less about perfecting.
Breakfast: How to Break Your Fast
I’m always a fan of circadian fasting, meaning you eat your meals with the rising of the sun. As the day begins, your body begins to wake up and get busy processing nutrients and mobilizing energy for the day ahead, which makes breakfast the perfect time to introduce a hearty meal. I believe breakfast should be one of the largest meals of your day, only second to lunch.
My summer go-to breakfast is fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible. While I don’t love smoothies all year, a cool smoothie on a warm summer day is a perfect way to produce quick energy.
My Summer Go-To Breakfast Choices:
- Cherry Almond Smoothie + Morning Glory Muffin
- Super Energizing Green Smoothie + Homemade Granola Bar
- Sweet potato & kale breakfast hash with fresh pesto
- Pan-fried plantains, breakfast sausage, and fresh chimichurri sauce
- Easy Green Breakfast Sandwich (gluten-free English muffin, ham, swiss cheese, fried egg, spinach, tomato, sprouts and pesto)
- Iced or warm matcha if I’m looking for something on the lighter side
After breakfast, I follow that up by filling my water bottle and adding some frozen fruit slices to keep it fresh. I carry that with me all morning.
Lunch: The Best Summer Lunch Options
Lunch is my largest meal of the day. It’s also the one when my body is usually screaming at me for food. If you plan your meals right, you should be hungry by lunch but fill your plate well enough that you’re hungry but not starving by the last meal of the day. Making it easy to keep that meal to be your smallest.
Just like breakfast, summer is a time for fresh, raw, simple, and cool. I like to think that way while still adding healthy fats, protein, and a few starchy carbohydrates for extra energy and satiety.
My Summer Go-To Lunch Choices:
- Summer snack plate with sliced peppers, cucumbers, homemade chicken salad, and rice crackers
- Chopped salads with all the toppings, including grilled BBQ chicken (leftover), avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a pinch of fresh cilantro
- Deli sandwich lettuce wrap (your favorite deli sub wrapped in lettuce leaves) and a handful of chips
- Burger (no bun) with sweet potato fries and a fresh salad
- Zoodles (or sweet potato noodles) with sauteed tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and peppers
After lunch, I sip on some sun-brewed herbal tea, like nettles or green tea. Depending on the day and the weather patterns, I may find I get hungry around 2:30-4:00 and often grab another small meal to make sure I’m not ravenous by supper time.
Snacks: Healthy Summer Snack Ideas
- Fresh berries + Coconut whipped cream
- Coconut milk yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola
- Granola Bar + green smoothie
- Homemade guacamole + peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and organic corn tortilla chips
- Loaded veggie sandwich half (gluten-free sourdough bread slice toasted with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and turkey)
- A bowl of melon
Supper: The Smallest Meal of The Day
My goal is to eat enough all day that by supper time, I’m not that hungry. Again, the last meal of the day needs to be the smallest. However, the last meal tends to be the only time I have space to cook throughout the day. So it often turns out to be the largest meal I cook. That’s why I make sure to cook meals that are easy to reheat for leftovers.
Aim to eat half the amount you did at lunch for supper.
Here are some of my go-to summer supper options:
- Grilled brats, potatoes, and fresh green beans
- Slow-cooker chicken tinga taco bowls
- Sheet pan salmon + roasted potatoes
- Chopped Italian salad
- Baked fajita rice bowls
- Summer pasta caesar salad
- Grilled meat and roasted vegetables
- Chip crusted Caesar chicken wraps + Sweet potato fries
Don’t overcomplicate it or think too hard about it.
I love good food and bold flavor, but there are a few rules of the trade when it comes to healthy eating.
- Too many processed ingredients and processed foods like granola bars (unless homemade), chips, breads, and crackers. I eat them, but I don’t eat them more than once a day.
- Focus your attention on getting vegetables as often as possible. Making the majority of what you eat produce.
- Pay attention to how your body feels. Sometimes I’m craving a healthier meal, and other days, especially when it gets overly hot, I may opt for more smoothies and snack plates.
- Stay hydrated! Try adding some fruit to your water, a pinch of salt, and brew some sun tea to keep you well hydrated.
- Add flavor. Summer is the time of fresh herbs. Use them to your advantage, and don’t overthink them. The more you try to use them, the more you will understand them and know how to use them.
- Have fun with it. Stick with flavors and foods you love. Just make them healthy, which comes from adding in more fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t overeat. There is always the next meal and more food. Aim for 80% fullness and let yourself be.
Remember, your diet will not change your health. Food is not meant to transform you but to support you. Start looking at food as supporting your body with nutrients and energy. It’s not about right or wrong, good or bad, but how it enhances your flow of energy.
When you take the pressure off of food to change you, you can start to eat with fewer strings attached.
Food is nourishment. Nothing more and nothing less!