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What To Eat In Summer: Expert Tips To Recharge Your Diet

May 13, 2024

4 min read

It can be hard to figure out what to put on your plate during brutal summer months to stay energetic, hydrated, and cool from within. Here’s a guide to help.

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A beautifully set dining table adorned with deliciously prepared food.
Shayonee Dasgupta- Fluent Health

SHAYONEE

DASGUPTA

When the mercury starts sizzling, you must be extra careful regarding what goes on your plate. While scoops of your favourite ice cream can provide momentary relief from the scorching heat, your summer diet needs to help your body thrive—not just survive. 

Not sure what to eat in summer? Looking for inspiration to whip up light summer meals? Here’s everything to help keep your nutrition game strong.

Why Do You Need A Healthy Meal Plan In Summer?

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet across all seasons is key to optimal health. But summer nutrition choices are even more critical due to the following:

  • The rising temperature directly impacts your appetite—a study found declining food intake “to compensate for environmental heat”. In China, a consumer behaviour study discovered that for every 1-degree Celsius rise, food intake drops by 0.11%. Notably, women tend to be more sensitive to temperature fluctuations than men.
  • Summer hampers digestion due to a decreased blood flow—as the body temperature increases, your brain redistributes the blood flow away from the abdominal region toward the skin to promote sweating. A slower digestion can potentially cause nausea, bloating, flatulence, and cramps.
  • Excessive sweating, overexposure to the sun, and exerting oneself can all lead to dehydration - one of the most common concerns people face in the heat.
  • Knowing what to eat in summer is key to preventing falling prey to other health issues, such as exhaustion and heat stroke.

Unlocking the key components of a summer meal

Summer fruits and vegetables

Aligning your diet with the season is vital for deciding what to eat in summer, explains Shreya Shah, a clinical dietitian. “Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables ensures peak nutrition because you’re quite literally getting produce picked fresh with minimal time from farm to your market to your kitchen,” Shah adds. Leverage summer’s bounty and opt for summer fruits and vegetables to meet nutrition needs, stay hydrated, and cool off naturally.

Protein

Opt for lean proteins like eggs, grilled fish, or chicken for a reduced intake of calories and fat. 

Chickpeas, greek yoghurt, and tofu are excellent options for those on a plant-based diet.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is critical to replenish fluids lost through sweat. How much water you need varies based on factors like age, activity level, comorbid diseases and temperature. Talk to a medical professional to evaluate the optimal amount for you.

Prefer something more exciting than water? “Drink naturally cooling beverages like coconut water, kokum sherbet, sattu sherbet, bel sherbet, buttermilk, and sugarcane juice,” suggests Shah.

What to eat in summer: A healthy meal plan for the scorching season

How do you create your summer meal for the day? Check out this sample menu suggested by Shah.

Breakfast

  • Cooked sprouts with curd OR
  • Fruit smoothie (milk/yoghurt + fruit + roasted oats) OR 
  • Masala Sattu

Lunch

  • 1 bowl of cucumber raita/ Hung curd
  • A bowl of vegetables (especially from the gourd family)
  • Dal
  • Roti/rice

Dinner

  • Curd rice OR
  • 1 bowl of Khichdi + curd OR 
  • 1 bowl of chilled soup + grilled paneer/chicken/steamed fish

Since every meal plan varies based on age, lifestyle, health conditions, and dietary preferences, consider tailoring it to your needs.

Tips for maintaining a healthy summer diet

Load up on ice creams mindfully: Nothing screams summer more than a bowl of decadent sundae. While a spoonful of ice cream satiates the tastebuds, the high sugar and fat content may not fare well for your digestive system. Any ultra-processed food, when consumed in excess, can increase your risk of developing cardiac issues and type 2 diabetes.

Avoid eating street food: While paani-puri from a street-side stall sounds exciting, it's best to hold off if you're unsure about the hygiene standards. Bacteria and pathogens multiply faster in warmer temperatures, heightening the risk of fatal illnesses such as cholera and typhoid. 

Opt for healthier snacks: Swap out pre-packaged treats for homemade treats such as frozen mango cubes or a glass of wood apple (bel) sherbet. These fresh produce recipes not only satiate cravings but also provide vital fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Wrapping up

Now that you know what to eat in summer, ditch that greasy bowl of noodles for some chilled thayir sadam aka curd rice, and trade that cola for kokum sherbet. 

Your brain, gut, and body will remain grateful through the season.

FAQ's

What foods should you avoid in summer?

Knowing what to eat in summer is key to preventing falling prey to other health issues, such as dehydration, exhaustion, poor digestion, loss of appetite, and heat stroke. Steer clear from deep-fried snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary treats, and rich gravies. While paani-puri from a street-side stall sounds exciting, bacteria and pathogens multiply faster in warmer temperatures, heightening the risk of fatal illnesses such as cholera and typhoid. 

What should I eat in the summer season?

Go for easy summer meals—think refreshing salads featuring lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes; juicy fruits such as mango, watermelon, melons, and grilled proteins. Drink naturally cooling beverages like coconut water, kokum sherbet, sattu sherbet, bel sherbet, buttermilk, and sugarcane juice.

What should I eat in the summer to lose weight?

Choose summer meal ideas featuring hydrating foods such as gourds, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, and yoghurt.

Medically Reviewed by:
Dr Amey Sonavane - DNB Gastroenterology, Fellow in Transplant Hepatology, MRCP-SCE gastroenterology, ECFMG USA board certified.


Shayonee Dasgupta- Fluent Health

Shayonee Dasgupta is an AuDHD freelance content writer and a wordsmith with a touch of whimsy. Embracing her neurodivergence allows her to navigate the world through a different lens. She is deeply passionate about the intersectionality of gender and neurodivergence.


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