What Dietitians are Eating this Summer
Summer is here, and I can already hear the ice cream truck rolling down the street. With treats like ice cream sandwiches, grilled hot dogs, and frozen margaritas calling our names, it can feel impossible to eat healthy. I’m always on the lookout for ways to indulge in seasonal treats without overdoing it. That’s why I asked some of the leading dietitians and health experts what they’re eating this summer to stay satisfied and fit.
Summer is all about easy, no-bake dishes, so fresh fruits and vegetables are high on the list. “Although not a seasonal summer food, I love munching on jicama slices on hot days,” Meg Hagar, an author, registered dietitian, and the founder of No Diet Nutrition, told me.
“It’s cool, watery, and crisp to bite into, and a great source of fiber and micronutrients such as folate and vitamin C! It’s also low in sugar and fat.” Try dipping the slices in salsa or enjoying them on their own.
If you’re an ice cream junkie like me, try keeping some grapes in your freezer at all times. They’re the perfect sweet and frozen snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.
“If jicama is not available, another one of my favorite summer treats is frozen grapes,” shared Hagar. “Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, frozen grapes are a cooling snack to munch on during hot summer days!”
It wouldn’t be summer without a big bowl of fresh berries in the refrigerator. “Berries are among the highest fiber fruits, and many Americans struggle to get enough fiber in their diets. They’re also packed with antioxidants and boast a high water content, which can help you feel refreshed on hot, humid days,” Dietitian Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart Nutrition told me.
“Try adding a few extra berries to your morning smoothie, layer into a yogurt parfait, or freeze for a simple addition to infused water. You can also get creative with berries by muddling them with fresh herbs for cocktails or mocktails or adding to a compote or marinade for grilled meats.”
Stock up at your local farmers market and start getting creative.
Another summer staple we can’t get enough of is fresh watermelon slices. You can enjoy them fresh or freeze them for a healthy popsicle.
“Watermelon is 92 percent water, which means it is low-calorie and hydrating. Fluids can hydrate you on a hot day, but so can water-rich foods like watermelon,” Registered Dietitian Christen Cooper told me.
Not only are they hydrating, but watermelons pack a vitamin punch as well. “Watermelons contain Vitamins A, B, and C. These vitamins are essential for many functions, including proper immune system function, skin health, and increased metabolism,” Sarah Frey, the founder of Frey Farms and Tsamma Watermelon Juice, told me. “They also have antioxidant properties to remove harmful free radicals. Watermelons contain four times the amount of lycopene of a tomato, a powerful antioxidant.”
You don’t only have to stick to fruit all summer. Even dietitians want to indulge sometimes! “There is nothing like a frosty margarita or ice cold beer on a hot day, but the fastest way to too many calories is through sugar-laden alcoholic drinks,” Jennifer Gibson, the head of Nutrition and Coaching at Vida Health, told me.
“Skip the sweet drinks such as margaritas, blended beverages, or mojitos, and go for a drink mixed with soda water instead. Save your beverages for optimal times, adding limits on your drinking hours, and avoid starting early in the day.”
If you do indulge in a little day drinking, we won’t judge you. Just be sure to drink plenty of water as well.
A great way to take advantage of warm summer days is to prepare meals and snacks over the weekend. This way you’ll be able to grab your healthy dishes and go.
“The last thing I want to do on hot summer days is cook, so my go-to summer dish is an easy chickpea salad,” Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the owner of Cultivate Healthy, Andrea Goergen, told me. “Just mix a can of chickpeas with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions, squeeze some lemon juice on top or use a little balsamic vinaigrette, and that’s it!”
Not only is this salad delicious and easy, it’s loaded with nutrients for your bikini bod. “This crisp, fresh salad is low in fat and calories, and loaded with protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium,” explained Goergen. “Add avocado for a creamier version that boosts the vitamin C and fiber with a delicious dose of healthy fat.”