10 Healthy Staples To Have on Hand this Summer

by Emily Harland, RDN, CSO, LDN

Last Updated: July 13, 2020

Many of us stocked up on pantry staples throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but with life turning to a “new normal” and the weather starting to heat up, you may be wondering what foods to stock up on this season. Fresh summer foods are delicious and satisfying, making it fun and easy to eat healthier during the season. We’ve put together ten staples to toss in your shopping cart that can be mixed-and-matched into lots of unique, tasty, and healthy meals.
  1. Summer squash and zucchini: summer squash and zucchini are incredibly delicious and versatile vegetables for the season that can be transformed into “pasta” dishes, casseroles, summer salads, and even pizza toppings.
  2. Plain Greek yogurt: not just for breakfast, plain Greek yogurt can be used as a healthier base for sauces and dressings. A light and creamy Greek yogurt dressing is a cinch to make and is a delicious addition to greens, roasted vegetables, or grilled chicken or fish.
  3. Hummus: perfect for pairing with veggies, whole grain crackers, or as a sandwich spread, a tasty hummus is a summer staple. You can even try making your own using the beans of your choice (chickpeas are the traditional option) with tahini, lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil, and spices and you will have a healthy summer snack ready in no time.
  4. Sweet potatoes: whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, sweet potatoes act as a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal of the day. They are packed with potassium, fiber, and help stabilize your blood sugar, giving you energy for hours on end. For a summer twist, try tossing sliced sweet potatoes on the grill and topping with avocado, salt, and pepper for a fun take on the classic avocado toast.
  5. Frozen turkey burgers: a frozen turkey burger, like these from Simple Truth are great for those nights that you need to get dinner on the table in a pinch. Throw on the grill or in the oven and top with avocado or fresh greens for a healthy summer meal on the fly.
  6. Nut butter: great for a quick snack or part of a balanced breakfast, a good nut butter is the perfect way to add healthy, filling fat to any meal. Try topping your toast with almond butter and fruit in the morning or mixing peanut butter into your morning yogurt for an energizing twist.
  7. Frozen brown rice: a true staple for weeknights, this Simple Truth Frozen Brown Rice makes a great base for burrito bowls, grain bowls, or as a quick side dish when you are in a pinch.
  8. Sparkling water: a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and sodas, a fruit flavored sparkling water is a refreshing summer treat that can be used as a cocktail mixer or enjoyed solo for a hydrating hot weather drink.
  9. Leafy greens: celebrate this wonderful time of the year for fresh produce with a wide range of fresh, colorful greens. Experiment with different lettuce greens like collards, kale, and arugula and use for salads, sandwiches, and wraps all summer long.
  10. Citrus: lemons and limes are the perfect way to add flavor to plain water or as a tangy addition to your smoothie or shake. Try blending up a mix of almond milk, Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, and fresh lemon juice for a refreshing summer smoothie.

We always encourage including as many colors on our plates as possible for a healthy variety. Try incorporating any or all of these summer staples to add a mix of vitamins and minerals into your daily plate.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Emily Harland, RDN, CSO, LDN

Emily Harland, RDN, CSO, LDN

Emily is a passionate clinical dietitian who strives to make nutrition changes sustainable while improving peoples’ relationship with food. She makes every effort to get to know each one of her clients on a personal level to ensure whole-person care. Emily is specialized in nutrition for oncology and cancer prevention/treatment. She has expertise from diabetes and heart health to hormonal health and fertility issues. Emily is an avid indoor cyclist and loves spending time in the kitchen cooking up nutritious and energizing meals.