Nutrition Articles

7 Surprisingly Slimming Summer Foods

Delicious, Nutritious & Diet-friendly Seasonal Choices

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Between backyard barbeques, beach picnics and the never-ending parade of wedding and grad party buffets, summer may seem like a huge seasonal pitfall for someone who's trying to eat healthy and/or lose weight. But the good news is, your goals don’t have to melt like ice cream in July. Not all summer foods are sinful: In fact, with fruits and veggies in peak season, it's easier than ever to fill up on fresh produce that's both nourishing and nutritious. Read on for seven surprisingly waist-friendly foods that will keep you feeling self-confident all the way through fall.

Watermelon: If summer had an official food, it would have to be watermelon. Boasting a sweet, refreshing taste that matches its festive appearance, this low-calorie, fat-free and sodium-free fruit satisfies your sweet tooth without endangering your diet. With significantly fewer carbohydrates than most other fruits, watermelon fits well into low-carb meal plans. As an added bonus, it's made up of more than 90 percent water, so you'll fill up for fewer calories while keeping your body hydrated on hot summer days.
 
Explore our tasty watermelon recipes.
 
Red Bell Peppers: No summer cookout is complete without these colorful veggies. Not only do they add a splash of vibrant color to your salad, sandwich or stir-fry, but red bell peppers could also help whittle your waistline. A medium-sized pepper has only 37 calories and 5 grams of sugar, but delivers 2.5 grams of fiber and 1.18 grams of protein, so you'll get plenty of flavor along with filling nutrients. (If you prefer your peppers on the hot side, choose a chili pepper, which contains capsaicin for an added metabolic boost.)
 
Discover the power of the pepper with these flavorful recipes.
 

Pineapple: This succulent summer fruit is filling and low in calories, making it a smart way to add sweetness to your diet. One cup contains just a little over 80 calories. Pineapple is also rich in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion, keeps you feeling full longer and helps prevent belly bloat.
 
Stay refreshed and hydrated with a pineapple smoothie.
 
Green Beans: One of the highest-fiber veggies, green beans are also low in calories and devoid of fat, making them a staple of a nutritious summertime diet. One cup contains just 31 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates, along with 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.
 
Get more out of your green beans with these 10 tasty ideas.


 
Mango: Delivering ample amounts of vitamins, nutrients and fiber, this flavorful orange fruit could also help melt away the pounds. In one study, participants who consumed African mango seed extract experienced significantly higher weight loss (and reduced waist and hip circumference) as compared to a control group.
 
Make room for mango with these summer-worthy recipes.
 

Corn: Whether it's grilled on the cob or separated into soups and salads, fresh corn is best in summer. Rich in fiber and low in fat and calories, the kernels keep you feeling fuller so you'll be less likely to overeat unhealthy fare. One medium-sized ear has just 77 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. To maximize the weight loss benefit, skip the butter and salt and use healthy seasonings instead.
 
Looking for fresh ways to cook up a cob? See our corn recipes.
 
Salsa: Move over, mustard and mayo: There's a healthier summer condiment in town. Most dips and sauces don't rank high on the nutrition scale, but salsa is a happy exception. Chock full of veggies, vitamins and nutrients, it's also low in fat and calories, and rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Pair it with baked tortilla chips or serve salsa with burgers, grilled chicken or tacos.
 
Spice things up with these salsa tips and flavor combos.
 
Lighten up this summer with delicious, nutritious options. What's your favorite healthy summertime food?

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About The Author

Melissa Rudy Melissa Rudy
A lifelong Cincinnatian, Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Cincinnati before breaking into online writing in 2000. As a Digital Journalist for SparkPeople, she enjoys helping others meet their wellness goals by writing about all aspects of healthy living. An avid runner and group fitness addict, Melissa lives in Loveland with her guitarist husband and three feisty daughters.