If you’re anything like us, you love the summertime. Part of it has to do with the abundant opportunities to experiment and make a healthy summer meal with new ingredients, fresh produce, vibrant flavors, and culinary ideas. You can invite guests over for a casual backyard barbecue, or settle in and design the ultimate multi-course dinner that will be talked about for months.
But the one common theme among all good summer meals is an emphasis on healthy ingredients, moderate portions, and quick preparation times. After all, who wants to spend all day sweating over the stove? Combine some of our favorite summer ingredients below to create healthy summer meals that are easy to prepare and super tasty!
Healthy Summer Meal 1: Sweet & Spicy Grilled Salmon
The savory, healthy fats in salmon blend perfectly with the slight sweetness and spice of the sauce mixture for this summer meal.
- Four 6-ounce center cut, skin on salmon fillets
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- Vegetable oil, for cleaning and oiling the grill
- 2 Tbsp. hot sauce, like Frank’s
- 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Start by cleaning your grill grate, then oil it until it is adequately prepared to take the fish fillets without sticking. Preheat to medium high.
Whisk together the hot sauce, brown sugar, paprika and cayenne pepper in a bowl and set aside.
Place the salmon on the hot grill, skin side up, and begin to cook. Brush with the sauce mixture, then flip when halfway done – about 6 minutes. Continue to baste with the sauce mixture until the fish is cooked all the way through. Serve atop fresh summer vegetables or leafy greens for a hearty and healthy summer meal.
Healthy Summer Meal 2: Confetti Corn Salad & Avocado
Simple to make plus fresh and healthy, this summer recipe is hearty yet refreshing.
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, ½” dice
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 cups of cooked corn kernels (about 5 ears of corn)
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 avocados, halved and pitted
- Cotija cheese, crumbled (to taste)
- Handful of julienned fresh basil, chives, cilantro, or parsley
Begin by heating the olive oil to medium heat in a sauté pan and add the onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until onion is soft. Then, add in bell pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, corn, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the fresh herbs at the end and serve right away, using the avocado halves as bowls and sprinkling cotija cheese for a boost of flavor.
Healthy Summer Meal 3: Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops
The perfect end to healthy summer meals is something on the sweet side. Summer desserts should be light, refreshing, and healthy. Put away the cakes, and pies and instead create these yummy frozen treats.
- 6 medium ripe bananas, still firm to touch
- 12 wooden craft sticks
- 4 Tbsp. finely chopped peanuts or shredded coconut (optional)
- 8 ounces of quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa if possible)
Carefully peel each banana, cut crosswise to create 12 “half” bananas, and then insert a craft stick halfway into each banana. Cover with plastic wrap, place on a tray, and put in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
After the bananas are frozen, begin preparing the chocolate mixture. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, using extremely low heat to prevent burning. Then, pour the melted mix into a tall glass, dip the bananas, and roll in the chopped peanuts or coconut, if desired. Lay on wax paper-lined cookie sheets and either serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to 14 days.
Focus on preparing light and healthy summer meal recipes that can support your overall fitness and wellness goals. A balanced diet and plenty of exercise will help you to look and feel your best, this season and beyond!