Summer is the time when most of us bring out our swimwear and hit the beach to beat the rising temperatures and searing heat of summer. Well it's also the right time to shed few pounds as well! However instead of going for a strict diet regime that will dampen your sunshine, try to avail of a variety of wonderful summer foods which the summer brings along. The secret is that these summer foods will help you to stay fit and healthy. Heavy, high calorie foods as it is seem less appealing in summer so you can easily eat light, healthy food. Listed below are 30 cool summer food suggestions, which are healthy, refreshing and most importantly will help you to stay energized and avoid the ill effects of summer.
1. Watermelon - Watermelon has more than 80 percent water, so this summer fruit is an excellent way to satisfy your thirst and keep you hydrated during summers
2. Grilled vegetables - Keep your refrigerator stocked with a plate of prepared grilled peppers, grilled onions, carrots, zucchini, garlic, eggplant, celery and asparagus. The antioxidant properties present in these summer vegetables can help to minimize skin damage caused due to sun exposure during summer days.
3. Grilled salads - Use grilled summer vegetables to prepare a variety of dishes like grilled vegetable pitas, grilled vegetable and fresh herb pasta or ricotta or frittatas and grilled vegetable and reduced calorie cheese salads.
4. Chilled soups - Chilled soups are great appetizers to start your meal. Choose chilled soups like cucumber-dill or gazpacho which are loaded with crunchy vegetables. Moreover soups also account to your total fluid intake and thus can help you stay hydrated.
5. Whole grain salads - Whole grain salads like tabouli and wheat berry are also excellent summer choices.
6. Vegetable salads - Like chilled soups, salads are also great way to kick start your meals. Almost all the salads need minimum preparation time and are considered healthy, quick meals provided you don’t load them with heavy dressings. Remember the more the number of fresh vegetables in the diet the healthier you will be during summer.
7. Bean and sprout salads - Toss some beans or sprouts along with sliced or diced vegetables and fruits to increase the protein content of the salads.
8. Vegetable cheese salads - Toss some reduced calorie cheese chunks in your chopped vegetables to increase the calcium as well as protein content of the salads.
9. Herbs and low calorie dressings - Choose fresh herbs from your garden and low fat dressings for your salad like basil, parsley, saga, dill, thyme, mint, lemon juice and vinegar instead of heavy fat dressings.
10. Low fat drinks - Generally we tend to drink sweetened and creamy coffees, teas, sodas and smoothies in summer to such an extent that we forget about the calories we take in. Remember, any liquid will only help to quench your thirst and not your hunger. So choose wisely –orange dream float, root beer and ice skim latte are some good choices.
11. Fruit based desserts - Forget your creamy heavy desserts, instead satisfy your ferocious sweet tooth with healthy fruit based desserts.
12. Low calorie desserts like dark frozen sweet cherries, frozen grapes, chocolate covered frozen banana, grilled blackberries with white peaches and honey, grilled pineapple with pecans and rum, low fat fresh fruit ice creams and grilled banana sundaes made from low fat ice creams are also some good summer food choices.
13. Try low fat fresh fruit yogurts and low fat fresh fruit custards for protein and calcium in your diet.
14. Get your vitamin A and lycopene dose from tomato sauce, tomatoes, ketchups, papaya and peppers.
15. Save the apples, bananas and oranges for the fall, instead satiate your appetite on a variety of fresh summer fruits like different berries and melons.
16. Try different summer vegetables like zucchini, greens, tomatoes, pea pods and beets which are not only super nutritious but also low in calories.
17. Cool cucumber - Cucumber is rightly called cool as it is about 20% naturally cooler than other vegetables. A chilled or fresh cucumber slice in your salads or vegetables can be truly refreshing.
18. Mangoes - This fruit is available only in summers and is loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber.
19. Berries are tasty, tangy and convenient little summer fruits which can be easily blended with yogurts and smoothies.
20. Spinach and other summer greens like kale, romaine lettuce, bok choy are some other healthy food choices.
21. Cottage cheese can be a prudent substitute for yogurt and regular cheese. Cottage cheese like the other two is loaded with proteins and calcium.
22. Walnuts - Try to include a small handful of healthy nuts including walnuts. Walnuts are a good source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
23. Oats - Oats are rich in fiber and also provide a good amount of proteins. They can be an excellent choice for your morning cereals.
24. Whole cereals, grains and its products - Ditch the refined ones and go for the whole options.
25. Beans and legumes - Substitute animal protein (mainly red meats) with beans. This change can not only add fiber to your diet but also help lower total calories, cholesterol and saturated fat from your diet.
26. Greasy and fried foods can actually increase the thermal effect of your system causing discomfort. So summer is the best time to avoid junk and fried foods.
27. Fish - Fish is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Go for grilled or broiled fish instead of fried fish.
28. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and heart and skin healthy carotenoids. Especially great for your eyes.
29. Red, orange and yellow vegetables like pumpkin, butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers are loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C, vital antioxidants.
30. Water - Lastly nothing can be as refreshing and satisfying as a glass of water on a hot summer day. Keep yourself well hydrated.