Sun’s out and temperatures are rising, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to start thinking about summer snacks! But before you reach for that bag of chips or that pint of ice cream, consider this: not all summer snacks are created equal. While some snacks can energize and hydrate you, others can leave you feeling sluggish and dehydrated. Want to know what you should be nibbling and sipping on while you soak up the sun? Here are some of the best and worst summer snacks for your health.
What Are Some Good Snack Ideas?
A good snack is one that will help tide you over until your next meal, without adding a lot of extra calories. In the summer a good snack is also the hydrating kind—something that will help replenish fluids lost through sweating.
With that in mind, here are some of the best summer snack ideas:
Best Summer Snack 1: Low-Calorie Options
In the months and weeks leading up to the summer, it’s common to see everyone working hard to tone and trim their bodies. This hard work can easily go to waste if you spend the summer snacking on high-calorie foods.
One way to tell which foods are low in calories is by using the calorie density method. This means looking at how many calories are in a given volume of food. The lower the number of calories per volume, the lower the calorie density and the better the snack choice!
Here are some examples of low-calorie summer snacks that you can enjoy without packing on the pounds:
- Veggies and Dip: This classic snack can easily be tailored to meet your calorie needs. Simply choose your favorite veggies—carrots, celery, cucumbers, and peppers are all great options—and pair them with a low-fat dip like hummus.
- Oven-Roasted Veggies: Roasting veggies is a great way to make them more satisfying. sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are all excellent choices. Just be sure not to add too much oil or salt.
- Fruit: Most fruits are low in calories and high in water content, making them the perfect summer snack. And there’s no need to stick to just one type of fruit—mix it up and try different combinations.
Best Summer Snack 2: High Fiber Options
Dietary fiber is an important nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. It’s been linked to a number of health benefits, including weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and improved digestive health (3).
When it comes to snacking, fiber is your friend. That’s because it helps you feel full longer, so you’re less likely to overeat. Feeling full helps reduce cravings and mindless snacking, which can ruin your diet.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance, while insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Both types of fiber are important for health and should be included in your diet (3).
When choosing fiber-rich snacks, aim for those that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, or just a variety of fiber-rich foods. This will cover all your bases when it comes to fiber.
Some great high-fiber summer snacks include:
- Air-Popped Popcorn: Almost zero calories and loads of fiber—what more could you want in a snack? Just be sure to avoid the flavored kinds, which are often high in sugar and saturated fat.
- Chia Pudding: For those with a sweet tooth, chia pudding can be a great summer snack. Simply combine chia seeds with milk and your favorite flavorings, such as cocoa powder or fruit.
- Fruit And Veggie Smoothie: A quick and easy way to get your fill of fiber is to make a fruit and veggie smoothie. Just throw some fruits, veggies, and yogurt into a blender and enjoy.
Best Summer Snack 3: High Protein Options
So if you’re looking for a summer snack that will help you maintain your muscle mass, make sure it’s high in protein. Some great high-protein options include:
- Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, as well as calcium and probiotics. Just be sure to choose the plain kind and add your own fruit or sweeteners.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great way to get a dose of healthy fats, as well as protein. Just be careful not to eat too many, as they are high in calories.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are an easy and convenient way to get some protein.
Best Summer Snack 4: Hydrating Options
The high summer temperatures can leave you feeling dehydrated and in need of fluids. But instead of reaching for sugary sodas or sports drinks, try one of these hydrating summer snacks:
- Watermelon: Watermelon is not only delicious, but it’s also a great source of hydration. It’s made up of 92% water and is packed with electrolytes.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are another great summer snack for hydration. Not only are they packed with water, they also offer a healthy dose of fiber.
- Coconut water: Coconut water is a great alternative to sugary sports drinks. It’s packed with electrolytes and has fewer calories than most other beverages.
- Water: Of course, the best way to stay hydrated is to simply drink water. But if you’re looking for something with a little more flavor, try adding some fruit or herbs to your water.
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Best Summer Snack 5: Easy To Make Options
Having easy snacks to make at home increases the likelihood of you eating something healthy. After all, when you’re hungry, the last thing you want to do is cook a complicated meal.
If you’re looking for some easy summer snacks, try one of these:
- Fruit salad: A fruit salad is about as easy as it gets. Just chop up your favorite fruits and mix them together.
- Veggie sticks: Veggie sticks are a great option if you’re looking for something to dip in your favorite sauce or dressing. Just chop up some carrots, cucumbers, and peppers and enjoy.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic for a reason. They’re quick, easy, and delicious. Just be sure to choose a whole grain bread and use natural unsweetened peanut butter.
What Are The Worst Summer Snacks?
Poor food choices during the summer can sabotage your hard work and healthy eating habits. Even worse—a poor diet can affect your mood and energy levels, leaving you feeling cranky and sluggish. So what are some of the worst summer snacks?
Ultra processed foods are those that have been stripped of their natural nutrients and often contain unhealthy additives. Examples of processed foods include chips, crackers, and cookies.
The problem with these foods is that they’re typically high in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar. They’re also low in fiber and other important nutrients (4).
If you’re looking for a healthy summer snack, steer clear of ultra processed foods. Instead, choose foods that are minimally processed, such as fruits and vegetables.
Sugary beverages, such as sodas and sports drinks, are another type of food to avoid during the summer. Not only are they high in sugar, but they’re also low in nutrients (4).
If you’re looking for a hydrating summer snack, reach for water or another unsweetened beverage.
High-fat foods, such as fried foods and processed meats, are also best avoided during the summer. They’re typically high in calories and unhealthy fats, which if eaten in excess can lead to weight gain (2).
Plus, they’re often low in nutrients and can leave you feeling sluggish. Oven-roasted and baked substitutes allow you to indulge without the negative consequences.
Snacking Tips For A Healthy Summer
The tips below can help you make healthier choices when it comes to summer snacks:
Meal prepping isn’t for main meals only; snacks can be prepped too! Prepping your snacks ahead of time can help you avoid unhealthy choices when you’re feeling hungry.
Some great snack options to prep include hard-boiled eggs, veggie sticks, and fruit salad.
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Even healthy snacks can be a problem if you eat too much of them. Be sure to practice portion control when snacking during the summer.
Berries, for example, are rich in antioxidants and fiber which makes them a great choice for a summer snack (1). But if you eat a whole pint of berries, you’ll consume more sugar than you should in one sitting.
A better option would be to measure out 1/2 cup of berries, which is a more reasonable portion.
Nuts and seeds are another healthy snack option. But they are high in calories and while munching away at them mindlessly, the numbers spile up.
To help you control your portions, serve your snacks in a small bowl or on a plate instead of eating them straight from the bag.
Make Your Main Meals Balanced And Filling
Eating well at your main meals can have the ripple effect of healthier snacking habits. When you make sure your main meals are balanced with protein, healthy fats and fiber, you’ll be less likely to crave unhealthy snacks later on.
You won’t snack when ravenously hungry and you’ll control your portions when you do and make healthier choices.
The Bottom Line
The best summer snacks are low-calorie, high-fiber, hydrating foods that will give you sustained energy throughout the day. The worst summer snacks are ultra processed, high-fat foods that will leave you feeling sluggish and can sabotage your weight loss goals.
When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and choose the healthier option. Your body—and your waistline—will thank you!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Berry Phenolic Antioxidants – Implications for Human Health? (2018, nih.gov)
- Cardio-Metabolic Effects of High-Fat Diets and Their Underlying Mechanisms—A Narrative Review (2020, nih.gov)
- Health benefits of dietary fiber (2009, pubmed.gov)
- The Many Health Risks of Processed Foods (2019, lhsfna.org)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, pubmed.gov)