8 Healthiest Summer Foods

Sunshine, warmer temperatures, and the gradual reopening of parks, trails, and restaurants with sidewalk seating are luring many of us outside after weeks of stay-at-home orders aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19. It could be easy enough to convince ourselves that flip-flop weather means we don’t need to be concerned with catching a respiratory illness, but when it comes to the coronavirus, that’s not the case.

What’s the best way to enjoy summer while minimizing your risk of getting sick? By eating healthy! There are so many delicious foods in summer, and many of them are naturally good for you.

Here are some of our favorites and why they're a particularly good choice in the summer.

1. Watermelon

Refreshing, juicy watermelon is one of the most-hydrating summer foods. Not only that, but its pretty red hue means it's a concentrated source of lycopene — the same heart-protective compound found in tomatoes. You absorb more lycopene when you eat it with fat, so try watermelon drizzled with olive oil in a sweet and savory summer salad, or brush it with oil and grill it.

2. Grilled Fish

Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to prepare fish. White fish (like halibut) is a great source of lean protein, while oily fish (like salmon and sardines) gives you heart-healthy Omega-3 fats. Fish cooks so quickly that it's a snap to make on the grill. For extra variety, try it in fish tacos, kebabs or in a sandwich.

3. Gazpacho

This Spanish specialty is loaded with nutrient-packed summer produce: tomatoes, cucumber and red pepper. You'll get a ton of vitamin C and potassium in this refreshing soup.

4. Iced Tea

Tea has so many health benefits, and iced tea is no exception. Both green and black tea pack serious amounts of disease-fighting antioxidants, but green tea has the added bonus of offering a small amount of sun protection to your skin. For the healthiest brew, make it yourself — you can control the sweetness and flavor.

5. Salad

Summer begs for stove-free preparation methods, and salad is one of the easiest, healthiest no-cook meals you can make. Get creative with the ingredients: All vegetables are fair game, fruit is welcome, and lean proteins (tuna, hard-boiled eggs, leftover poached chicken) and healthy fats (avocado and nuts) turn it into a meal.

6. Berries

All those seeds mean most berries are high in fiber (1 cup of raspberries has 8 grams, while 1 cup of blueberries has 4 grams). Plus, they're low in sugar and calories, but their divine flavor makes them a treat to be savored. Enjoy them in smoothies, with yogurt and granola, or simply eat them on their own.

7. Corn

There's no need to feel bad about enjoying corn on the cob — it's healthier than you think. This starchy vegetable delivers lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that are important for eye health. One ear has 60 calories and 2 grams of fiber.

8. Avocado

Creamy avocados get their luscious texture from heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. They also have a good amount of folate and fiber. Smash it onto toast with a sprinkle of salt for breakfast (poached egg optional), dice it onto salads and burritos, or enjoy it in guacamole.

Nutritious summer eating is about overall health. Don’t view food as the enemy, but as something to enjoy and fuel for the activities you love doing.

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