There are so many things to love about summer—the sunshine, the slower schedules, the super fun vacations. But another thing we love? The delicious summer slimdown foods. Yes, it IS possible to enjoy everything the season has to offer while maintaining your weight or even losing a few pounds.
Here are some favorite summer offerings that can help.
Green peppers are a staple of backyard gardens and CSA programs alike. And that’s a good thing. As Authority Nutrition notes, green peppers “are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.” Green peppers make a great snack as is. Or if you want an easy and healthful side dish, try sautéing them with onions in a little olive oil (smells delish, too).
- Zucchinis and yellow squash.
Zucchini and yellow squash are also great items to add to your summer slimdown menu. Wondering what to do with them? Well, we’re kind of addicted to our spiral veggie cutter that turns vegetables like squash, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, and more into yummy pasta—without all the carbs. Bonus: if you have kids, they’ll love to help.
Check out the video below that shows one such spiral machine, the Veggetti, in action.
The Veggetti website notes that a four-cup serving of pasta has 800 calories and 160 grams of carbs, while your 4 cups of spiraled veggies typically contain 60 calories and 8 grams of carbs.
- Grilled veggies.
OK, so we gave a little extra love to peppers and yellow/green squash above, but ALL veggies are your friends, especially when they’re summer fresh. Grill up a bunch of veggies for the evening meal and put the leftovers in the fridge so you can easily add them to salads, sandwiches, and breakfast omelets throughout the week. Tasty, healthy, and handy—what’s not to like, right?
Oh, berries! How we love thee! Let us count the ways. Summer is resplendent with so many different types of berries that you’re bound to find just the one that makes your heart sing. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries—all have their health benefits and make a wonderful dessert or snack without breaking your calorie bank. Plus, going berry picking is a fun activity for the whole family.
Watermelon is nature’s candy, but it’s GOOD candy. As Live Science points out, “Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. There’s even a modest amount of potassium. Plus, this quintessential summer snack is fat-free, very low in sodium and has only 40 calories per cup.”
By the way, watermelon isn’t your only choice. Consider cantaloupes and honey dew melons as well. Wondering what you can do with them? Try this refreshing Summer Melon Soup, which you can serve as an entrée or as dessert.
- Summer salads.
With all the fresh produce available, you don’t have any excuses about not having the necessary ingredients to make a yummy salad. Simply rinse, chop, toss, and add in some low-fat cheese and crunch (e.g. nuts, seeds, so forth).
This article from WebMD discusses the six best summer foods for weight loss and suggests “flavoring your salads with herbs from the garden so you can go light on the dressing.” Not sure which herbs to start with? Check out these three “classic” herbs: fresh basil, cilantro, and peppermint—perfect accompaniments to your summer salad menu.
What sorts of foods do you add to your summer menu this time of year? Share your favorite recipes and ideas in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.
And good luck with your summer slimdown!