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Healthy Summer Recipes for Those Long, Hot Days!

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

healthy summer recipes

If you're seeking new ideas for healthy summer recipes, a wide array of options are at your fingertips. Recruit your family to help you plan nutritious summertime menus!

Summer is the perfect time to try fun, healthy summer recipes your entire family can enjoy.

Try unique recipes you might not have considered before, whether you're entertaining friends and family or simply want to prioritize nutritious eating.

Use the healthy summer recipes below when you're in a rut or planning a social gathering!

Need some sides? Check out these healthy side dishes!

Summer Salad Recipes

Summertime is an ideal time to try new, refreshing summer salad recipes!

The tasty dishes below are loaded with essential nutrients, and can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight!

Smoked Duck, Raspberry, and Walnut Salad

This protein-rich smoked duck salad recipe is the perfect way to optimize nutrition and satisfy your hunger without the extra calories.

Friends and family alike will enjoy this unique blend of smoked duck, fruits, walnuts, and greens.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of skinless smoked duck breast, thinly sliced
  • 9 cups of lettuce
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spread the walnuts on a pie pan a toast them for about 8 minutes.
  • Combine the vinegar with shallots and mustard in a bowl.
  • Whisk in the vegetable oil and walnut oil, and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Add lettuce and walnuts to the bowl and toss well.
  • Top your salad with raspberries and smoked duck, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Charred Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Put a unique spin on traditional summer salads and impress your loved ones by choosing this charred shrimp and avocado salad recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds of peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 1/2 small pineapple, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of watercress
  • 1 avocado, quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of pepper

Instructions

  • Toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Brush the pineapple with 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Grill the pineapple and shrimp until the pineapple is lightly charred and the shrimp is opaque throughout (about 3 minutes per side on a grill).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Add the onion.
  • Cut the pineapple into small pieces.
  • Toss it in the bowl with the onion and add cucumber slices and shrimp.
  • Fold in the avocado and watercress, serve, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Chicken and Red Plum Salad

Chicken and red plum salad is the perfect satiating healthy summer recipe that works well for just about any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups of baby arugula
  • 4 red plums, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  • Heat your grill to medium heat and coat the chicken with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season it with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Toss the plums in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Grill the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Let it cool for 5 minutes and slice it.
  • Add the plums to the grill and cook them 2-3 minutes per side until just charred. Place them in the bowl and toss with the scallions and 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Add chicken to the bowl and toss the mixture.
  • old in the dill, arugula, and almonds, serve, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

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Healthy Summer Recipes for the Grill

Cook some of these savory grilled meats when you're ready to enjoy delicious, satiating, protein-rich healthy summer recipes!

Italian Chicken Skewers

Change up your usual grilled chicken recipe by choosing Italian chicken skewers instead!

This healthy summer recipe is simple but tastes delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped
  • 1 French bread baguette, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 8 skewers

Instructions

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper
  • Combine the tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, and chopped parsley in a large bowl to make the marinade.
  • Add the chicken, coat it with the marinade, and refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  • Place the chicken and bread (optional) on the skewers and drizzle them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. You can use vegetables in place of bread if you'd like a lower-carb option.
  • Grill the chicken skewers, turning them occasionally, until your chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  • Garnish the skewers with parsley for serving if you'd like and enjoy!

Servings: 8

Grilled Skirt Steak with Tomatoes and Guacamole

Your entire family will love this mouth-watering grilled skirt steak recipe that puts a unique spin on the traditional steak on the grill.

Make food prep and grilling an activity your entire family can enjoy together!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of skirt steak
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 3/4 cup of red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Place the steak in a glass baking dish.
  • Whisk together coriander, garlic, cumin, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  • Pour the mixture over the steak and marinate it for about 10 minutes.
  • Make your guacamole by mashing together avocado, cilantro, onion, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt.
  • Mix together the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. Season them with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill over medium-high heat and grill the tomatoes for about 4 minutes until they blister.
  • Remove the tomatoes and heat your grill to high heat.
  • Add steak to the grill, season it with salt and pepper, and grill it for about 3-5 minutes on each side.
  • After letting the steak sit for about 5 minutes, thinly slice it and top it with tomatoes and cilantro.
  • Serve the steak and tomatoes with guacamole, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Grilled Halibut

Try this heart-healthy, savory grilled halibut recipe that's sure to be a hit with friends and loved ones alike.

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce halibut fillets
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

    Instructions

    • In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper to make a marinade.
    • Place the halibut fillets in a glass dish and pour the marinade over the top. Cover it and place it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
    • Preheat your grill to high heat and grill the fish for about 5 minutes per side until it easily flakes with a fork.
    • Serve the halibut with mixed veggies and whole-grain rice or quinoa if you'd like!

    Servings: 2

    Summer Sides

    Combine the healthy summer recipes above with these mouth-watering side dishes to complete your meals, impress friends and family, and adhere to a healthy meal plan.

    Cucumber Salad

    Pair this refreshing cucumber salad recipe with any grilled meat or another main course dish.

    It's loaded with flavor and friends and family of all ages will enjoy it!

    Ingredients

    • 1-2 large cucumbers or 4-5 small cucumbers, peeled and sliced
    • 2-3 tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar
    • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil or dill
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss until the cucumbers are fully coated with the vinegar and seasonings.
    • Chill the mixture in the refrigerator before serving it if you'd like.

    Servings: 2-4

    Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

    Combine this grilled sweet potato fries healthy summer recipe, which is loaded with essential nutrients and flavor, with grilled meats and veggies to create the perfect satiating meal.

    Ingredients

    • 6 large sweet potatoes
    • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
    • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
    • Salt

    Instructions

    • Cook the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water until they are tender but still firm (about 15 minutes), drain, and let the potatoes cool.
    • Heat your grill to high heat.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan on the grill grates. Add thyme, garlic, and chili flakes. Cook the mixture for about 45 seconds until the garlic is soft. Remove from heat.
    • Slice the potatoes into wedges and brush them with 3 tablespoons of oil and salt. Grill the potatoes until they are lightly golden brown (about 6 minutes).
    • Remove the potatoes from the grill, toss them with your garlic mixture, serve with chopped parsley, and enjoy!

    Servings: 6

    Grilled Zucchini Salad with Pine Nuts

    Your friends and family will love this refreshing, flavorful, nutritious grilled zucchini salad recipe topped with pine nuts and shaved Romano cheese.

    Ingredients

    • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips
    • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup of olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
    • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
    • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
    • Honey (optional)
    • Romano cheese for shaving
    • Canola oil
    • Salt pepper to taste
    • Fresh mint leaves

    Instructions

    • Heat your grill to high heat.
    • Brush the zucchini with canola oil and season it with salt and pepper.
    • Grill it for about 1 minute on each side until the zucchini is slightly wilted and charred.
    • Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, honey (optional), salt and pepper to taste, and parsley in a bowl to create a vinaigrette.
    • Add olive oil and whisk the mixture until emulsified.
    • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the zucchini. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes and top it with shaved cheese, mint leaves, parsley, and pine nuts.

    Servings: 4

    Baked Potato Salad

    Instead of traditional potato salad, consider this healthy summer recipe that yields nutritious baked potato salad instead!

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds of small Yukon gold potatoes, washed and dried
    • 1 large bunch of parsley with 1-inch stems still attached, washed, and chopped
    • 1 bunch of basil with the 1-inch stem attached, washed, dried, and chopped
    • 4-6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
    • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons of water
    • 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
    • 1/2 cup of olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • A pinch of sugar (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon of capers
    • 1 teaspoon of caper liquid
    • 4-6 gherkins, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon of gherkin liquid

    Instructions

    • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Place the potatoes in a baking dish, place them in the center of your oven, and bake the potatoes for about 50 minutes.
    • Place the parsley and basil leaves in a food processor or blender, season with salt and pepper, and add water. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and a pinch of sugar (optional). Pulse the mixture in a blender to combine well.
    • In a large bowl, stir together the shallots, red wine vinegar, capers, and liquid, mustard, and gherkins.
    • Add half of the herb/oil mixture and toss well.
    • Cut the potatoes into quarters and toss them in the bowl with your dressing.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Serve the remaining basil/parsley puree on the side.

    Servings: 4-6

    Staying Slim During the Summer Months

    In addition to preparing healthy summer recipes, do the following to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or lose weight:

    • Avoid highly processed foods and other junk food
    • Get regular exercise
    • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
    • Stay active all throughout the day in addition to workouts
    • Eat more protein and non-starchy vegetables
    • Increase your water intake
    • Reduce stress

    If you struggle to maintain healthy lifestyle habits or lose weight, health experts at the Fit Mother Project can help.

    FMP offers weight loss programs designed just for women to help you reach your goal weight, feel great, and gain the confidence you deserve.

    In addition to choosing healthy summer recipes, sign up for the free Fit Mom Jumpstart to get started on the journey toward a healthier life today!

    Erin Coleman

    Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

    Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

    She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

    Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

    Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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    *Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on healthy summer recipes.

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