summer healthy recipes

Summer Healthy Recipes and Drinks

Eating lighter and smaller meals than usual is one of the most common health tips for summer. And for a reason! When you choose light, healthy meals instead of heavy foods, it’s much easier for your body to digest what you eat. So you won’t feel so sleepy or lazy once you finish your meal- especially on those hot days. Plus, it also has other great health benefits in the long term. Thus, to help you eat healthier this summer, I am bringing you some super easy summer healthy recipes.

For me, eating lighter meals in the summer just feels better on a heat strained body. I find myself craving more salads this time of year for replenishing everything I am sweating out and getting an extra dose of water and fiber. Anyone else? 🙂

1. Buddha bowls

summer healthy recipes

A buddha bowl is one of my favorite go-to recipes. This is because Buddha bowls are simple yet nutritious meals. If you are not familiar with these kinds of bowls, a Buddha bowl is a typically vegetarian (or even vegan) one-bowl meal that consists of a whole grain (rice, quinoa, etc.), fresh vegetables, legumes, and some plant proteins. The great thing about these meals is that you can serve them cold as well which – let’s admit it – can be a huge advantage on hot summer days.

If you would like to know how you can build a Buddha bowl, simply start with rice or some kind of whole grains (quinoa) as a base in a ceramic bowl. Then top it with your preferred plant-based protein (for example, tofu, tempeh, beans, or legumes) and/or sustainable meat, then and add lots of fresh or roasted veggies and leafy greens. And finally, drizzle it with some sauce or dressing, and add some nuts, seeds, or sprouts to the top. Voilà, your Buddha bowl is ready!

Of course, if you want to add some meat, you can. But make sure to pay attention to the quantity. You don’t want to ruin the perfect harmony of these bowls. 🙂

If you need some inspiration, here are a few great healthy Buddha bowl recipes.

Related read: 30 Day Health Challenge Ideas: The Nutrition Edition

2. Salads

summer healthy recipes

Salads are classic meals when it comes to summer healthy recipes. This is because in summer we can choose from a wide variety of seasonal veggies that are filled with nutrients. By preparing a salad rich in fiber, you can ensure that it will keep you feeling satisfied for a long time. Besides offering many nutritional benefits, salads are also very delicious. Salads are perfect for lunch and dinner as well. Plus, you can serve them as side dishes.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for a great salad recipe, it’s enough if you check out Eating Well’s formula that can help you make tons of different salad variations. I love this formula because it ensures that I get all the nutrients my body needs. Also, this way, I certainly won’t get bored of my summer salads.

The secret salad formula looks like this:

  • 3 cups salad greens such as baby spinach, baby kale, romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup other veggies (raw or cooked) like carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers
  • ½ cup grains/starch such as quinoa, bulgur, baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, couscous
  • 3 oz. lean protein, for example, chickpeas, chicken breast, salmon, tempeh
  • 1/2 oz. cheese (feta, cheddar, mozzarella)
  • 1/2 oz. garnish (avocado, olives, almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil-based dressing (lemon vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette)

However, to be totally honest I try to just keep my fridge stocked with fresh vegetables all summer and I throw whatever I have in a bowl that day. It gives me just enough variety to not get bored 😉

Related read: How to Get More Green Leafy Vegetables in Your Diet

3. Kebabs

Do you have some crazy cravings for junk food? Maybe you could cook a healthier version of a kebab. Kebabs are a great alternative to heavy grilled foods as you can prepare them without bread. Just pair some fresh, seasonal veggies and lean protein with some of your favorite spices. Then, simply grill the veggies and meat (or plant-based protein) on a skewer.

Need some summer recipes? Try out this Traffic light chicken shish kebabs.

4. Nice creams

Fortunately, you don’t have to give up eating desserts when changing your diet to a healthier one. One of my favorite dessert options for summer is nice cream because it gives the same experience as ice creams (which always sounds good when its hot!). Nice creams are healthier than regular ice-creams since they are dairy-free, sugar-free, and are made from frozen fruits and plant milk.

You can easily make banana nice cream at home following these steps:

  1. Freeze a few pieces of peeled bananas cut into chunks. (Ripe bananas are the best because they are sweeter.)
  2. Get 3 cups of frozen bananas and blend the chunks in a high-speed blender or food processor. You can also add some plant milk to make it creamier (about ¼ cup).
  3. Once it’s done, you can consume it immediately, or if you prefer a firmer texture, you can put it in the freezer for 1 or 2 hours.

This method can be used for other fruits such as mangoes, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and cherries as well. However, make sure to always clean the fruits properly before freezing them (peel and pit when necessary). Mix your favorite flavors all together. Plus, I love to add cocoa, cinnamon, and other yummy spices. You can even add frozen avocado for a delicious creamy texture.

Related read: 10 Simple Healthy Food Alternatives

5. Homemade popsicles

homemade popsicles

There is no summer without a few delicious and cold homemade popsicles!

What I love about homemade popsicles is that they offer a healthy dessert option since they can be made from seasonal fruits and don’t require added sugars.

One of my favorite summer healthy recipes is the 100% natural strawberry watermelon popsicle which requires only 3 ingredients: strawberries, watermelon, and lime.

If you don’t have a popsicle mold at hand, you can still make some healthy chocolate-covered bananas. You will love them!

6. Smoothies

summer healthy drinks

Do you need some ideas for summer healthy drinks? What about a delicious smoothie?

Smoothies are easy-to-make yet extremely nutritious drinks. As they are packed with vitamins, they keep you energized for hours. Plus, they are so delicious that having your daily fruits and veggies intake could not be easier than this.

You can make a smoothie anytime during the day but the best is to drink one for breakfast because it can give a good start to your day.

If you need some inspiration for smoothies, check out this healthy green smoothie recipe, or superfruit smoothie recipe.

Related read: Food Trivia: A Nutrition Quiz to Test Your Knowledge!

7. Infused water

We all know that it’s best to drink water. However, we all have some moments when we simply can’t resist and we need some flavors. In these cases, most people grab a can of soda. But the problem is that these drinks are loaded with sugar and preservatives which can lead to many health problems (for example, diabetes, weight gain, cardiovascular disease)- even most lemonades are packed with with sugar too!

If you would like to avoid the negative health effects but still satisfy your cravings, opt for a glass of infused water. Drinking infused water can help you stay hydrated because it tastes better than normal water.

If you want to make infused water at home, you can use fruits, vegetables, and herbs (consider using organic produce). Here are a few of my favorite taste combinations:

  • lime, cucumber, strawberry, mint
  • lemon, raspberry, rosemary
  • orange, blueberry, basil
  • lemon, thyme

For step-by-step instructions and a few extra tips, check out this post on how to make fruit-infused water. In the summer, when you are sweating a lot you might add some electrolytes to your drink by adding a splash of salt and honey too 🙂

The bottom line

Choosing healthy foods and drinks is the easiest during summertime. Take advantage of the seasonal produce and create some healthy, delicious meals that are filled with plenty of nutrients. And from time to time refresh yourself with some homemade drinks on the hot summer days. 🙂

Did you like my summer healthy recipes? What is your favorite go-to food or drink in summer? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

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