6 Healthy Summer Eating Tips And A Sample Summer Meal Plan From A Dietitian

by Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT

Last Updated: June 8, 2021

Summer is a true treat with the fun of family vacations, dime-a-dog nights, and cookouts for holiday weekends. Summer festivities provide a ream of opportunity for indulgence in our favorite dishes, but how do we continue to truly experience all the flavors of summer without feeling like we’ve sabotaged all our hard work? Hop in the passenger's seat and let me steer you in the right direction towards some healthy, flavorful tips.

First and foremost, take a deep breath! Small steps to better change have brought you here today, and we won't get far with continuing strict diet plans. Being restrictive will only put the car in reverse. It's important to be realistic with your current and future goals, no matter the season. Navigate through the tools that have encouraged you to live a healthier lifestyle in the first place. Maybe it was logging your food using a food app, trying new healthy recipes every Monday, or being inspired by a motivational blog that sparked ideas for attainable goals. Once you pinpoint the North Star, take note of how you can continue implementing that tool in the future. Reflect, then build off those habits with these suggestions below:
  1. Incorporate more water, especially in the summer heat, to prevent dehydration. Add some jazz to your drink by creating fruit-infused water or choose flavored sparkling water instead. Water helps better absorb nutrients found in foods. Fruit-infused water can help you eat and drink more nutrients.
  2. Choose more fruits & vegetables! Set a long-term goal of incorporating them in all meals. Start slowly by adding fruits and vegetables to foods you’re already consuming. Add peaches to your overnight oats or pears to your ham sandwich. Spice up your summer vegetables by trying a blend of distinct flavors using chipotle chili pepper or curry. Make sure to tie in seasonal fruits & vegetables to add more flavor to your recipes.
  3. It’s time to enjoy the warm weather and get involved in more physical activity. Play a game of sand volleyball with your neighbors, go on a bike ride with your kids, or enjoy an evening hike with your husband. The nice weather gives you an advantage to burn more calories and move more towards maintaining an active lifestyle. To execute your physical activity goals, have a plan the day before your workout specifying when and what exactly you will do. Write it down to hold yourself accountable and include a workout buddy to share a common goal.
  4. Keep well-balanced food items with you while on the go. Snack packs for nuts and tuna packets provide a good source of protein that helps to sustain energy. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack and a sweet treat for a boost of nutrition.
  5. Designate a day that works best for you to prepare a couple of meals for the workweek. If you enjoy making dinner each night, get your Tupperware containers out when cleaning up and portion your servings out for lunch the next day. This always cuts some time out of your morning rush and makes the clean-up process more productive.
  6. Have fun on the weekends. Enjoy summer cookouts and graduation parties while they last! While you’re enjoying these special days, remember: all foods can fit into your eating pattern--practice mindful eating to help you eat what’s best for you.

All in all, by pursuing a healthy lifestyle, you are continuing your journey to a better you. Explore and adapt to changes along the way but make sure to learn as you go. You may not make all the right turns, but it’s important to understand the road to your end goal ahead. Below is a meal guide that maps out a well-balanced summer eating plan. Make sure to reach out to a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area if you need a more individualized plan with specific attributes. Good luck and enjoy your summer!

Meal Suggestions

Option 1: 1 cup Greek Yogurt + 1/4 cup whole grain granola + 1 TBSP chia seeds + 1/2 cup seasonal fruit
Option 2: Baked Honey-Granola Protein Bites + 1 cup skim milk + 1/2 cup nectarines
Option 3: Blueberry-Acai Smoothie Bowl with Collagen
Option 4: Overnight Oats + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Option 1: 2 pistachio protein balls + ¾ cup blueberries
Option 2: 2 TBSP mango-red pepper hummus + 1 cup carrot sticks
Option 3: 1 serving of Harvest Snap Pea Crisps + 1 low-fat cheese stick

Option 1: 1 serving of Summer Slaw with Salmon
Option 2: Tuna Wrap, 1 whole wheat wrap, 1 tuna packet, 1/3 avocado, ½ cup spinach, ¼ cup cucumber, ¼ cup red pepper with 1 cup spicy carrot chips
Option 3: Thai-Style Coleslaw with Chicken & Mint

Option 1: 4oz of Baked cod with Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Summer Seasonings
Option 2: 1 Turkey burger patty +1 whole wheat bun +1 slice of grilled pineapple + 4oz sweet potato fries
Option 3: 1 serving of Easy Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos

Option 1: 1 French Vanilla-Mixed Berry Ice Pops
Option 2: 1 cup Yogurt with grilled peaches
Option 3: 3 Chocolate dipped strawberries

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

Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT

Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT

Eating is all about the experience, and Ashley believes no food should be off limits. As a non-diet, culinary-focused dietitian, Ashley helps others practice the art of intuitive eating, leading to a successful, guilt-free relationship with food. As a personal trainer, incorporating fitness into her routine is also an important part of Ashley’s balanced approach to wellness. She’s got you covered with expert info on everything from blueberries to burpees.