Summer has to be one of the EASIEST seasons to get healthy & plan delicious meals, due in part to the amazing produce that grows in the hotter months. Things like: berries, avocados, tomatoes, peas, corn, and peppers are some of my favorites.
And, it’s lighter outside for a longer period of time, which means more playing, walking and moving your body – all great for your health.
If you’re looking for some ideas to improve your meals this season, maybe “up” the nutrition without sacrificing the Good Times?
Well then, this post is for you…
I know it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and go-go-go the summer season can bring, but I promise, with a little planning you’ll be able to eat well, have fun AND keep your healthy habits intact.
Below, I’ll cover 5 tips that will really improve your meal planning. Things like: How to take advantage of seasonal produce, How to include your family and friends in the process, How to plan a better picnic, and at the end share our Free 7-Day Seasonal Eating Plan.
1. Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce
This is the first step, because it should be the foundation of all of your meal planning.
When planning your meals, build them around what’s currently growing in your area.
If you’re not sure, take a trip to the farmers market, see what they’re selling, look at what produce is on sale at your grocery store – that’s usually what’s currently in season.
When you use seasonal produce as the base for your meals, they’ll taste better and contain WAY MORE nutrients.
Example Day Of Seasonal Eating:
- Breakfast – Smoothies and pancakes loaded with fresh berries and stone fruit would be wonderful for breakfast.
- Lunch – Green Salad with fresh tomatoes, basil, garbanzo beans, peppers, cooked quinoa and a lemon dressing would make a lovely lunch
- Dinner – Grilled fajitas with onion, red/green bell peppers and fresh guacamole would make a fantastic dinner.
*Need Recipes? Grab our Free 7-Day Seasonal Eating Plan w/ Recipes
2. Get your Family and Friends Involved
Eating healthy is challenging when those around you aren’t into eating healthy. The best way to get them on-board is to get them involved!
Just be sure to make it fun ;)
In the summertime, we love cooking outdoors. And, I’m all about giving everybody a different job to work on.
Usually, I put the men on grill duty – I love me some grilled vegetable kabobs, or black bean burgers. Put the little ones on chopping duty (they make kid friendly knives!), or put them in charge of mashing avocados, or stirring dressings & sauces.
I also recommend having fun music turned on, and tasty beverages on deck to share, like iced tea, mocktails, and fruit-infused waters are some of my favorites.
3. Get Outside (Picnic anyone?)
Sunshine makes everything better, trust me.
Try eating outside, in your backyard or planning a picnic. If you’re thinking it will be too much work, use the tips below for a painless picnic experience. If it seems like a lot of work, trust me it’s not.
Tips for the Ultimate Picnic
- Keep The Menu Simple – Grain-based salads (quinoa, millet) , sandwiches, or noodle dishes all seem to work well.
- Bring Lots Of Snacks – This way you don’t have to worry about the menu as much, just bring extra snacks: fresh fruit, hummus, crackers, vegetables and trail mix are some of our favorites.
- Invite Friends – ask them to bring something to share. Eating with friends is a lot of fun, but don’t take on all of the work, ask everyone to bring something to contribute.
- Don’t Forget The Utensils – Plates, bowls, forks, napkins are always good to bring with you. We have a plastic set we reuse every year, but there are lot’s of options, find something that works for you.
- Don’t Forget Something To Sit On – Sometimes there are benches, but it’s always good to bring a few blankets just in case.
- Bring Plenty Of Water – Bring a few gallons of water and encourage everyone to bring their water bottles for easy refills.
- Bring A Trash Bag – You don’t want to risk there not being anywhere to get rid of your waste – this also makes clean up easy.
- Bring Some Toys – Enjoy yourself, bring a football or a frisbee. They’re fun and will give you another opportunity to move your body.
4. Try Something New
When it comes to healthy eating, one the best way’s to stick with it long term is to keep it interesting.
One way to do that is try something new. Summer is a great season to try raw recipes (meaning nothing is heated or cooked), or try going gluten-free, or making smoothies instead of oatmeal for breakfast.
Whatever it is, be open to it and remember if you don’t like it you can try something else tomorrow.
5. Find Delicious Recipes
My last tip is to stock up on some new seasonal recipes. I’m all for throwing random ingredients into a bowl and calling it dinner. However, sometimes the inspiration isn’t there, or I just want a simple plan to follow.
If you’re anything like me, I highly suggest having some healthy recipes you can fall back on.