When summer hits, we all tend to go into relaxation mode. And while there's nothing wrong with that, the unfortunate downside is that relaxation often leads to laziness. You become lackadaisical with your workouts. You get lackadaisical with your nutrition. You put your feet up and chill on the beach with a tropical adult beverage in your hand. Then you have that ice cream from the boardwalk that keeps saying your name. Over time, the mounds of deliciousness you ate all adds up. So, you need to be aware of what you're putting in your mouth. That's why these seven delicious summer foods that we are about to discuss are so important.
Don't let months of hard work in the gym go to waste by one to two weeks of bad decisions on a vacation. You'll end up coming home with more than you packed for vacation. What baggage will you be bringing home with you? Regret. Don't let it happen.
Below are some amazing summer foods you need to keep in the weekly rotation that can help keep you lean throughout the summer months. Let's dig in!
Are you not a pepper lover? Maybe you just haven't found the right pepper to suit your taste buds. Red, green, yellow, orange – they all have their own unique taste. What makes pepper so amazing is that they are low in calories and even provide you with some helpful fiber that we all could use a little more of in our diet.
Add peppers to anything you can think of. Be creative! Burgers, steak, chicken, eggs, salad, you can even use them in veggie trays for summer parties. Peppers are one of the perfect summer foods to help keep your meals delicious and your waistline in check.
There's something about kabobs and other finger-lickin good summer foods that instantly make your mouth water. Pull out your skewers and pick your protein of choice, along with some flavorful vegetables (like the peppers we just discussed).
Cut up your steak, fish, lamb, chicken, whatever protein choice you choose, along with your vegetables (a great combo would be peppers and onions). Poke the skewer through them and toss them on a hot grill and turn them every so often to get a nice even cook. If you want to add some sweetness to your kabobs, consider adding some pineapple (spoiler alert, we're going to talk about pineapples as well) to your skewers.
Kabobs can provide you with healthy and lean sources of protein along with a quality carbohydrate that won't leave you feeling bloated or full of regret.
Where do you even start with watermelon on our list of the best summer foods? It's like a summer food staple. You can have it as a dessert on a hot day. You can juice it and make some refreshing watermelon juice. You can cut the watermelon up into cubes and then freeze them to be used as ice cubes in your water – which also gives your water some added flavor.
Watermelon is full of vitamins and antioxidants, and being that the whole thing is made up of primarily water, it's a great way to snack in the heat of summer while also helping you stay hydrated. Not to mention, watermelon is a natural source of citrulline, which can increase nitric oxide in the body and help provide you with a pump (vasodilation) if you use it as a pre-workout.
Next on our list of summer foods to help keep you lean goes hand-in-hand with watermelon that we just talked about – berries. You can use them along with watermelon in a juicy fruit salad. You can eat them as a snack on their own. Add them to an ice-cold glass of water to add a little extra flavor. You can even add them on top of various desserts such as vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt.
With so many different berries to choose from, you can buy a different variety just about every week during the summer to keep things fresh and exciting. You can choose from things like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Want to make yourself a healthy protein smoothie? Freeze some of the berries and toss them into a blender with your other ingredients to add some texture, change the consistency, and add some natural sweetness to the smoothie.
Berries are also full of helpful antioxidants and fiber, which can help you feel satiated longer when used as a snack between meals.
Similar to watermelon, cucumbers made our list of summer foods that can help keep you lean because they are mostly made up of water. They have a tremendous hydrating effect, and, interestingly enough, many people enjoy putting cucumber in their water to help give it some flavor.
Cucumbers are extremely low in calories and make for a perfect snack to nibble on when the temperatures go up. In addition to eating them on their own, you can cut up some cucumbers to put in your salad to help give it some extra crunch. They also contain a fair number of antioxidants to go out there and ward off free radicals in the body.
When you think of pineapple, it's nearly impossible not to think tropical. While it does contain a fair amount of natural sugars, when consumed on occasion, you should have no issue with staying lean and incorporating this delicious fruit into your summer foods.
Pineapple made our list because you can use it in so many ways. You can eat it plain. You can add it to Greek yogurt. You can top vanilla ice cream with it. You can grill with it. You can top your grilled chicken with it. You can even cut out the fruit and use the pineapple rind as a cool cup for your favorite summer beverages and be the life of the party.
While being rich in nutrients, pineapple also contains bromelain, which is a powerful and natural compound that has anti-inflammatory effects that the body can benefit from.
7. Chicken Breast
Last on our list of delicious summer foods that can help keep you lean is good old grilled chicken breast. There's something about grilling that makes summer feel like, well… SUMMER. The aroma that is given off from the grill is enough to put a smile on your face and wash your worries away. And what better way to enjoy the summer than to grill up some lean protein and help your body make and keep those GAINS.
Chicken is an extremely lean protein source and can be used in many different ways during the summer months. Grill it up and eat it plain if you wish. Or, if you want to get creative, add your grilled chicken to a nice healthy salad to increase the protein content. Chicken breast is something you should always keep in your weekly rotation of healthy protein sources to be used in meals.