Cool It with a Summer Eating Plan

Summer season is in full swing with long sunlit days and high temperatures around the clock. For some folks, summer means fun in the sun while others seek out ways to stay cool and comfortable. Whether you love summer or just endure it, there are ways to take advantage of what summer has to offer, feel energized and stay on a healthy course. To cool it down this summer, follow these tips:

C-O-O-L  I-T Tips

C – Consume lots of water, in all forms to keep cool and hydrated. This includes water filled fruits and vegetables. Melons and berries, cucumbers, summer squash and celery, tomatoes and sweet peppers- all are over 90 percent of water. Fruits and vegetables with high water content do a great job of filling you up with fewer calories. In addition, they provide an array of vitamins, minerals and phyto nutrients (like beta carotene and lycopene) to keep you feeling energized.

O – Omit creamy sauces on summer salads that weigh you down and pack on the calories. Replace mayo and sour cream with low-fat yogurt. Use flavored vinegar and herbs for added flavor. Reducing the amount of salad dressings saves calories and lets the fresh taste of the ingredients come through.

O  Opt out of rich and heavy desserts. Have fresh berries, cherries, peaches or nectarines with a dollop (small amount) of fresh cream or vanilla frozen yogurt. Grate dark chocolate on top for a treat.

L  Lean proteins are preferred. Grilling fish and seafood is fast, low calorie and great tasting. Choosing barbecued chicken or pork tenderloin over ribs and smoked sausage saves you over 200 calories per a 3 oz. serving. Saving just 200 calories daily this summer can yield a weight loss of 5 pounds by the fall season. And if you exercise… even more weight loss!

I – Insist on fresh. Summer offers a wealth of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Eat produce grown close to home for maximum taste and freshness. Be creative! Add fresh corn or nectarines to salads. Shred fresh veggies and add cucumbers or radishes to sandwiches. Mix leftover cooked grains, such as quinoa or brown rice, with canned beans and fresh vegetables for a quick and satisfying meatless meal.

T  Tea is rich in healthy flavanoids, a type of antioxidant. Regardless of the variety—black, green, oolongs, white or herbal—drink it freshly brewed for maximum benefit. Ice it down and add a twist of lime or lemon for added vitamin C and to help preserve the flavanoids.

Summertime offers a great opportunity to eat a wide array of fresh and luscious food, not easily available at other times of the year. So relax, enjoy, and take advantage of the season by choosing to eat well, eat smart and stay healthy and energized.

Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad

Looks like tomato—surprise, it’s watermelon.

Makes: 6 servings, about 2/3 cup each

Active Time: 

Total Time: 


  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups diced seeded watermelon
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted (see Tip) and coarsely chopped


Stir together vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar almost dissolves. Add watermelon, cucumber and cilantro; toss gently to combine. Just before serving, sprinkle with peanuts.

Tip: To toast nuts: Heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.


Per serving: 63 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 3 mg sodium; 164 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Recipe Powered by EatingWell