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Summer Superfoods: A Nutritionists Guide

The recent sunshine filled days are a reminder that summer is almost here and it’s the perfect time to embrace the vibrant array of fresh fruits and vegetables that the new...

The recent sunshine filled days are a reminder that summer is almost here and it’s the perfect time to embrace the vibrant array of fresh fruits and vegetables that the new season has to offer. While the term “superfood”; is often used as a marketing buzzword, it generally refers to nutrient-dense foods that offer a wealth of health benefits and these foods typically possess one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Nutrient density: Superfoods are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fibre, and healthy fats, providing a concentrated source of nourishment.
  • Antioxidant power: Many superfoods are loaded with antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and protect the body's cells from damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Certain superfoods contain compounds that can help reduce inflammation, a key factor in various chronic diseases.
  • Potential disease-fighting abilities: Some superfoods have been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, due to their beneficial compounds.
  • Longevity and overall wellness: Incorporating superfoods into a balanced diet may contribute to improved longevity and overall well-being.

In summertime, there is a need to eat foods which are refreshing and hydrating as well as those that nourish our bodies for a more active lifestyle. A holiday may also make us want to choose lighter meal options to lose a few pounds, so we can hit the beach feeling and looking our best!

Good food choices:

  1. Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Load up on seasonal produce like berries, melons, stone fruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens, and peppers. These are packed with essential vitamins,minerals, fibre, and antioxidants to support overall health and hydration.
  2. Lean Proteins: opt for lean sources of protein like grilled chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, and plant-based options like lentils and tofu. These help build and repair muscles and keep you feeling full and energised.
  3. Whole Grains: choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and oats. They provide lasting energy, fibre, and essential nutrients.
  4. Healthy Fats: include nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon for their heart-healthy fats, which also aid in nutrient absorption.
  5. Hydrating Beverages: Stay hydrated with water, unsweetened herbal teas, coconut water, and infused waters with fresh fruits or herbs for added flavour.

Foods and Drinks to Skip or Limit:

  1. Sugary Drinks: Avoid sodas, sweetened iced teas, energy drinks, and fruity cocktails, as they are high in added sugars and provide empty calories.
  2. Ultra-Processed Snacks: Skip crisps, sweets, and baked goods, which are often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugars.
  3. Fatty Meats: Limit fatty cuts of meat, processed meats (like hot dogs and sausages), and high-fat dairy products, as they can contribute to inflammation and weight gain.
  4. Fried Foods: Steer clear of fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, and fried appetisers, which are high in unhealthy fats and provide little nutritional value.
  5. Alcohol: While an occasional drink can be enjoyed in moderation, excessive alcohol consumption can dehydrate you and contribute to poor dietary choices.

By focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods and staying hydrated, you can fuel your body with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive during the warm summer months. Remember to practice moderation and balance, and don’t forget to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Here are some great ways to incorporate superfoods into your summer BBQ:

Grilled Superfood Skewers

Load up some skewers with chunks of lean chicken or prawns along with colourful peppers, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, and red onion. Give them a light coat of olive oil and your favourite herbs/spices before grilling.

Watermelon, mint, and Feta salad

Toss together cubed watermelon, crumbled feta, sliced red onion, and chopped mint with a dressing made from olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Quinoa Salad

Make a superfood grain salad with cooked quinoa & brown rice, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, fresh mint, and lemon vinaigrette.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Bake sweet potato fries tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a nutritious alternative to french fries. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A.

Fruit Salad

Put together a colourful fruit salad with berries, melon, mango, kiwi, and a honey lime dressing for a refreshing superfood dessert.

Veggie Kabobs

Thread mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, red onion and cherry tomatoes onto skewers and grill for an easy, loaded veggie kabob side dish.

Salmon Skewers

Skewer cubes of wild salmon along with courgette, multi-coloured peppers, green beans, and red onion for a superfood protein option hot off the grill.

Hummus Platter

Serve a platter of hummus (made from superfood chickpeas) along with veggie sticks like carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, and whole wheat pita for dipping.

Get creative and have fun working nutrient-dense ingredients into all your back-garden BBQ favourites this season! Superfoods make every outdoor gathering more delicious and nourishing.

By incorporating a variety of these nutrient-dense summer superfoods into your meals andsnacks, you can enjoy their delicious flavours while reaping their numerous health benefits.

Remember, a balanced diet rich in a diverse range of whole, minimally processed foods arethe key to optimal nutrition and well-being.

Tracey Randell

Registered Nutritionist, Dip BCNH, IFMCP, M BANT, CNHC

IBS Clinics

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