Summer means longer days, which means more hours to soak up the sun and stay active. At the same time, more hours on the go can also translate into meals that are more spaced out than usual. Even if you keep your eating schedule the same across all seasons, there’s nothing worse than finishing a meal, only to realize you’re hungry again just an hour or two later. Luckily, summer brings with it a host of satiating fiber, protein and water-rich foods that’ll keep you feeling full from one meal to the next. Here, nutrition pros share their favorite warm-weather eats that are packed with nutrients and sure to satisfy.
“It’s easy to get dehydrated in the summer, but watermelon is a water-filled fruit that helps meet your daily hydration goals,” explains Mary-Catherine LaBossiere, a registered dietitian. And while watermelon doesn’t have as much fiber as some other fresh fruit, its combination of water and fiber is highly satiating. Add to that the fact it’s a great source of vitamins A and C, lycopene and citrulline, and you’ve got a warm-weather winner. You can also boost the fruit’s filling factor by pairing it strategically with other foods. For instance, you could make a watermelon, basil and feta salad with balsamic vinegar, LaBossiere suggests. “Combining a fruit, like watermelon, with the fat in feta helps slow down how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating watermelon.” That means you won’t be left craving more food right after you eat.
“Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are filled with dietary fiber and plant-based protein,” says Mackenzie Burgess, a registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer. “This dynamic duo slows down digestion and allows us to feel fuller longer.” Try adding chickpeas to summer salads, blend them into homemade hummus, or crisp them up in the air fryer after coating them in spices for a snack that’ll stay with you.
Because of this fruit’s popularity, it’s accessible all year round, but avocados are actually in season starting in early summer, according to Chrissy Arsenault, a registered dietitian. “They’re rich in heart-healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin E,” Arsenault says. “They’re also rich in fiber, packing 7 grams in a single 3.5-ounce serving.” That mix of fat and fiber is a combo you can bet on for satiety. Arsenault’s favorite ways to use avocado include blending it with fruit and protein to create a “green smoothie,” and putting some slices on toast topped with a fried egg and everything bagel spice.
“Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich plant-based protein sources, with 1 cup containing about 10 grams of protein and 5–6 grams of fiber,” notes Abby Vichill, a registered dietitian. This grain has the benefit of working well both hot and cold, making it perfect for salads and warm grain bowls alike. “Chop up any of your favorite veggies like bell peppers, kale, red onion and cucumber, and add them to freshly-cooked and cooled quinoa,” Vichill suggests. “Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix in some crumbled feta if you tolerate dairy. Top it off with a fresh salmon fillet for added protein and omega-3 fatty acids.”
Summer is tomato season, and these delicious veggies are the major source of lycopene in our diet, LaBossiere says. “Lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.” Plus, tomatoes are a great source of fiber, and are typically eaten alongside other fiber-filled foods like greens and beans. If you’re looking for tomato inspiration, a caprese salad is a solid recipe option. Be sure to drizzle it with olive oil, LaBossiere suggests. “The oil helps you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in tomatoes.”
“Berries are tasty, low in calories, and rich in antioxidants, which help minimize damage to your body from free radicals,” Arsenault says. “Raspberries and blackberries are particularly high in fiber content as well as antioxidants.” Most berries are also high in vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate, she adds. Use berries and nuts to top plain Greek yogurt for a healthy, filling summer meal. Or, try adding freshly-cut berries to sparkling water with basil for a refreshing summer drink, Arsenault recommends.
“Cold, juicy, sweet and fibrous, pineapple is perfect for hot summer,” says Tejal Pathak, a registered dietitian. It’s also packed with essential nutrients and bromelain (a group of protein-digesting enzymes), and contains a good amount of fiber, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A, Pathak notes. “Apart from being one of my favorite pizza toppings, it can be a good ingredient for smoothies, fruit bowls and salads.
Technically, cauliflower is available all year long, but it’s a great summer veggie due to its versatility in warm-weather food. “If you’re looking to enjoy your favorite indulgent dishes with a lighter spin, cauliflower is your best friend,” Burgess notes. “You’ll find it riced, mashed and added to lasagna, pizza, pasta and bread substitutes.” There’s a reason you can find this veggie in so many recipes: It’s chock-full of nutrients like vitamin C, iron and fiber, according to Burgess. “The fiber helps promote digestive health and keeps you feeling fuller longer.”
Make progress every day while you work on mini fitness and nutrition goals, like walking more steps or learning to track macros. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app for daily coaching and easy-to-follow tasks to keep you motivated.