Summer Nutrition Tips: 15 Ways to Beat the Heat and Stay Healthy!

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

summer nutrition tips

Following important summer nutrition tips can help you navigate through the hot summer months and stay healthy, regardless of what your busy schedule holds.

Don't let the sun and fun distract you from healthy living!

Social gatherings, family vacations, and other events can provide a lot of temptations.

But, if you keep these summer nutrition tips in mind, you'll optimize your health, wellness, and overall quality of life!

Don't know what to cook? Try these healthy summer recipes!

Our Top 15 Summer Nutrition Tips

1. Bring a Healthy Dish to Social Gatherings

If you're attending a social gathering where eating is involved, bring a healthy side dish to share.

That way if too much of the food offered is unhealthy, you can fall back on your nutritious side dish as a go-to-option for staying lean.

Consider bringing:

  • Vegetable salad with protein
  • Vegetable tray or side dish
  • Fruit plate
  • Mixed nuts
  • Chicken or fish for grilling

These and other nutrient-dense foods can help you achieve or maintain your goal weight this summer season.

Eat unhealthy foods, including hot dogs, brats, chips, fried foods, sodas, and desserts available at social gatherings in moderation or not at all.

2. Limit or Avoid Alcoholic Drinks

Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to unwanted weight gain, as alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (versus 4 calories per gram each in carbohydrates and protein).

While drinking alcohol during summertime social gatherings might sound temping, some mixed or frozen drinks can contain up to 500 calories or more per serving.

If you do drink alcohol this summer season, do so in moderation and choose lower-calorie drinks like light beer, a small glass of wine, or hard liquor mixed with calorie-free club soda, ice, or water.

Limit alcohol to just one drink or less, and consume water before and after drinking alcoholic beverages.

3. Drink Water Consistently

Insufficient water intake isn't just a concern for dehydration, it can cause you to eat more calories and diminish healthy weight management and physical activity goals.

Not drinking enough water during the summer heat can make you feel tired, dizzy, and overheated during exercise.

Drinking plenty of water this summer season is an excellent way to keep energy levels high and help you eat less at mealtime.

So how much water is enough? Most women need at least 12 cups of fluids daily.

Aim to drink 2-4 cups of water when you wake up and 2 cups of water before meals to stay hydrated and reduce your risk of overeating.

Drink water often during physical activity.

A good way to determine if you're getting enough fluids is to look at your urine.

If it's light yellow or clear, you're likely well hydrated! If your urine is bright yellow in color it's time to drink more water or other fluids.

Learn the best times to drink water, and when you should actually avoid drinking too much water.

4. Be Smart When Dining Out

Whether you're on vacation or traveling for another reason this summer season, or you simply want to dine out with friends, follow a few important summer nutritious tips while doing so.

Examples include:

  • Order a vegetable salad topped with chicken, fish, shrimp, eggs, or another protein-rich food
  • Always order salad dressing on the side
  • Don't order fried foods (onion rings, French fries, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, etc.)
  • Pass on desserts
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Don't order meals containing ham, sausage, hot dogs, deli meats, or other highly processed meats
  • Avoid ketchup, gravy, sweet salad dressings, and barbecue sauce whenever possible
  • Choose broth-based soups instead of cream soups
  • Don't eat fatty cuts of meat

Generally speaking, eating at home is healthier than going to a restaurant but you can still stay healthy and lean by ordering smart when dining out.

5. Consider Healthy Vacation Snacks

Summer vacation isn't the time for getting off track with healthy eating.

Make nutritious choices while dining out and pack healthy snacks or meals while traveling.

Consider bringing with you the following nutrient-dense foods during your next summertime vacation:

  • Nuts or seeds
  • Dried or fresh fruit
  • Low-sodium turkey jerky
  • Hummus with pretzels, veggies, or pita chips
  • Reduced-fat string cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh veggies
  • Protein powder or protein shakes
  • Pea chips or other vegetable chips
  • Peanut butter, sunflower butter, or almond butter

Having healthy snacks on hand during your next summer vacation is one of the best ways to avoid overeating, dining out more than you have to, and packing on unwanted pounds.

6. Choose Nutritious Protein Foods for Grilling

When cooking out this summer season, avoid traditional hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, or other highly processed meats for grilling.

Choose lean (skinless) poultry, fish, seafood, or very lean organic steaks instead to optimize healthy weight management and lower your risk of obesity, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

Nutritious protein foods to consider grilling this summer season include:

  • Chicken breast
  • Shrimp
  • Lean grass-fed beef
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Other fish or seafood
  • Turkey burgers
  • Veggie burgers

When attending a friend or family member's cookout, offer to bring your own meats if hot dogs or brats are on the menu. Or, prepare veggies to grill.

Consider zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, squash, corn on the cob, any other favorite grilling vegetable, or make kabobs with bite-sized veggies and poultry or seafood.

In this video, we will help you sort the myths from the facts to find out how much protein we need in one day depending on your goals.

7. Don't Forgo Supplements for Women

Summer isn't the time to let up on healthy nutrition habits — and that includes taking dietary supplements for women to ensure you're getting the right amount of nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

Supplements for women to consider, after speaking with your doctor, include:

  • Probiotics
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Multivitamin supplements
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Protein powder
  • Iron
  • Fiber

Every woman is different, which is why your doctor can give you an idea about which nutrients you might be deficient in.

Even if you eat a well-balanced diet, nutritional deficiencies can sometimes still occur.

That's why taking a multivitamin supplement designed just for your age and gender group is a helpful summer nutrition tip you can carry on all year long.

8. Eat Healthy for Weight Management

This summer season, especially if you're trying to get lean, focus on eating healthy for weight management by following a few important summer nutrition tips:

  • Drink about 2-4 cups of water when you wake up and 2 cups of water before meals.
  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with protein foods
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with fiber-rich starches
  • Eat non-starchy veggies and protein foods first
  • Add healthy fat to each meal
  • Consume 2-3 servings of calcium-rich dairy foods or plant-based equivalents daily
  • Avoid added sugars and processed grains (such as white bread and white rice)

Nutritious non-starchy vegetables to choose from include leafy greens, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and onions.

Healthy protein foods include grilled chicken, shrimp, other types of seafood, fish, eggs, tofu, seitan, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, and very lean organic cuts of red meat.

Fiber-rich starches to consider are brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereal, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, and other legumes.

Heart-healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, other plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olives, and hummus.

Calcium-rich dairy foods and plant-based equivalents to consider are low-fat milk, almond milk, Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, plant-based yogurt, and reduced-fat cheese.

9. Maintain Good Electrolyte Balance

Maintaining electrolyte balance is important when you're sweating a lot, especially in the hot summertime heat.

Drinking water is important but if you're working out or being active outdoors for long time periods, consider adding an electrolyte-containing drink to your hydration plan.

For physical activity lasting one hour or less, water is sufficient.

However, if your sweat session lasts more than 60 minutes, choose a sports drink or gel in addition to water to keep your electrolytes balanced and energy levels high.

10. Keep Fresh Fruits and Veggies on Hand

Keep fresh fruits and vegetables in the house or take these nutritious foods with you to kids' sports games, vacations, and social gatherings.

Doing so helps satisfy your sweet tooth without the extra calories, keeps electrolytes balanced, aids in healthy weight management, and helps you and your family meet daily vitamin, mineral, and fiber needs.

Add fruit to protein smoothies by blending together:

  • Water
  • Ice
  • Protein powder
  • Your favorite fruit
  • Chia or flax seeds

Drink protein shakes with fruit in place of meals when you're in a hurry, on the go, or trying to drop weight.

Fruit smoothies make excellent pre- and post-workout nourishment for you, your spouse, and your children.

Keep watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi fruit, or any other favorite fruit on hand this summer season.

Try blending fruit with water, yogurt, or milk and freeze it to make delicious homemade summertime popsicles!

Keep carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell peppers, or other favorite fresh veggies in your fridge (washed and ready to eat for family members to grab).

Encourage your kids to reach for fruits and veggies in place of high-calorie and high-sugar snacks.

11. Practice Meal Prepping

Prepping meals comes in handy any time of year, but especially during the summer when you're likely always on the go, vacationing, or busy with kids' activities.

A summer nutrition tip that often comes in handy includes planning out weekly meals by:

  • Make a grocery shopping list each week
  • Plan out meals ahead of time
  • Prepare weekly meals when you have time
  • Let the meals cool and seal them in airtight containers
  • Store prepped meals in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for several months up to a year.

Meal prepping during the summer is a good time to do so, but continue this healthy habit all year long if you can!

12. Don't Drink Your Calories

It might be tempting to reach for lemonade, iced tea, or a cold soda during the summertime heat.

However, doing so can make you pack on additional calories from added sugar and unwanted pounds.

Instead, drink ice-cold water or coffee.

Flavor water with lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, watermelon, or other chunks of fruit.

Consider protein-rich smoothies to keep you full, increase your metabolism, and help you maintain lean muscle without added sugar and other empty calories.

13. Avoid Skipping Meals

While fasting can aid in weight loss in the short term, skipping meals generally isn't the best idea.

Doing so can lead to physical and mental fatigue, and might tempt you to overeat at your next meal.

Consuming regular meals helps keep your metabolism going strong.

If you do fast, try to eat during an 8-hour window of time but don't go too many hours without food.

14. Know that Self-Monitoring Matters

Studies show that self-monitoring is important for optimal health, weight loss, and healthy weight management.

A summer nutrition tip you can utilize to monitor health and fitness goals includes tracking your:

  • Bodyweight
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Body fat
  • Waist circumference
  • Calories consumed/food intake
  • Calories burned/minutes of exercise
  • Blood pressure
  • Other health parameters

Record the food you eat and how much you eat daily, to become more aware of diet quality and better control calories at mealtime.

Weigh yourself daily, or as much as possible, to stay on track with weight loss or healthy weight management.

Keep track of calories burned or minutes of exercise daily, set goals, and keep yourself accountable for meeting them.

15. Try an Organized Nutrition Program for Women

If you haven't already joined a nutrition program for women, summer is the perfect time to do so!

The Fit Mother Project is a women's nutrition, fitness, and weight loss program designed specifically with women's needs in mind.

Studies show that organized nutrition programs can optimize weight loss and help you maintain it long-term.

The Fit Mother Project offers custom meal plans, menus, fat-burning workouts, motivational support from medical experts, and much more.

In addition to abiding by the summer nutrition tips above, sign up for the free Fit Mom Jumpstart!

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

Writer, The 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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