Your Summer Guide To Eating Well & Feeling Great
Lying on a lounge chair with your eyes closed while the hot sun kisses your skin and the air smells salty, like the sea. Licking an ice-cold berry popsicle after a challenging bike ride along a wooded trail. Watching the fireworks with friends and family during your annual trip to the shore. More than spring, fall, or winter, summer evokes relaxation and play. Read on for tips to help you savor the season more than ever.
Eating & Drinking
Get ‘em while they’re fresh
Fruits and vegetables taste their best when in season. Enter summer, primetime for produce—and your palate! Here’s what’s in season now, with some beyond-simple recipe ideas:
Tomatoes: Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Bell peppers: Roast and make Whipped Muhammara Dip, then serve with fresh vegetables.
Cucumbers: Pickle with seasoned rice vinegar.
Lettuce: Toss with minced fresh chives, goat cheese, and lemon vinaigrette.
Corn: Make succotash with onion, garlic, frozen lima beans, zucchini, and bell pepper.
Summer squash: Saute with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then toss with fresh mint.
Peaches: Whip up preserves by simmering with lemon juice, monkfruit sweetener or honey, and chia seeds; then chill.
Plums: Make a Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, basil, and plums instead of tomatoes.
Berries: Puree with lemon juice and monkfruit sweetener or honey for a fresh sauce to drizzle over yogurt or oatmeal.
Cherries: Pit and saute with onions and balsamic vinegar; serve over chicken or pork.
Melons: Wrap slices with prosciutto or toss with feta cheese, black pepper, and mint.
Grapes: Freeze and pop as a snack.
Grow herbs in your kitchen
Choose herbs you’ll cook with, like basil, parsley, and cilantro.
Place plants in containers with drains and saucers.
Position pots directly beneath an east- or south-facing window, skylight, or grow light. Occasionally rotate pots.
Keep track of when you water your plants.
The first time you harvest, wait until the plant is mature. Always harvest less than one-third of a plant at one time.
Regularly prune and remove any flowers that appear.
Don’t turn on your oven!
Keep cool with these easy, no-cook preparations:
White gazpacho: Puree green grapes with red wine vinegar, olive oil, bread, cucumber, and a bit of garlic until smooth. Chill and top with grape halves.
Red gazpacho: Puree tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, garlic, onion, and olive oil until chunky. Chill.
Mezze plate: On a platter, arrange grape leaves, hummus, babaghanouj, fresh veggie sticks, toasted whole-wheat pita triangles, feta cheese, and halved fresh figs.
Borscht: Blend cooked peeled beets with chicken stock, yogurt, and fresh dill.
Minty pea soup: Puree peas (frozen and defrosted), fresh mint, lemon juice, and vegetable stock until smooth. Chill.
Tuna-white bean dip: Puree canned tuna, canned white beans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh rosemary until smooth. Serve with fresh veggie sticks.
Red pepper hummus: Puree roasted red peppers, canned chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic until smooth. Serve with whole-wheat pita chips or veggies.
Berry overnight oats: The night before breakfast, stir together raw old-fashioned oats, almond milk, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and honey. Top with fresh berries and toasted nuts.
Banana peanut butter power shake: Puree frozen ripe bananas, raw oats, flax seeds, peanut butter, protein powder, milk, and vanilla extract.
Master the grill
Before grilling, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes for more evenly cooked proteins.
Preheat your grill with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes. Then brush off any debris with a stainless-steel brush. Set out a water-filled spray bottle in case of flare-ups.
Cook with the lid down most of the time. This helps keep your grill hot and your food moist. It also speeds up the cooking process and cuts down on flare-ups.
Grill smaller, quicker-cooking pieces of food (like chicken breasts) on direct heat, meaning right above bright-red coals or a hot burner. Cook larger, slower-cooking pieces of food (like leg of lamb) on indirect heat, or on a cooler part of the grilling surface.
For meat on the bone, start on high heat, just until it develops a crust. Then move it to lower, indirect heat to finish cooking. Alternatively, par-cook in the oven, then grill on high direct heat.
Only flip food (especially meats) once. If it sticks, it’s not ready to turn. Avoid pushing down on meats, or the juices can spurt out.
Grill meat just until cooked through—it will continue to cook once off the grill (plan on a five-degree temperature increase from carryover cooking).
Use a meat thermometer and a timer to avoid overcooking. Or touch the meat to determine doneness. For rare, it should feel as soft as the flesh between your index finger and thumb. For medium-rare, it should feel like your cheek. Well-done should feel firm.
If flare-ups occur, spray with water. Move food to indirect heat until the flames die down.
After cooking, let meat rest for 5-15 minutes before slicing. The larger the piece of meat, the longer it should rest.
While the grill is still hot, brush off food and debris with your stainless-steel brush.
Build your grilling repertoire
Don’t limit your grilling game to hot dogs, burgers, and corn. Also try the following:
Stone fruit, halved and pitted
Avocado, halved and pitted
Mini bell peppers
Oysters and clams
Jazz up summer fare
Make classics seem fresh and new with these condiments:
Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning Blend: Sprinkle on watermelon, peaches, nectarines, avocadoes, and mangoes. Or stir into mashed avocado for guacamole.
Truffle mustard: Slather Braswell’s Select Truffle Mustard on turkey sandwiches or mix with avocado oil-based mayo and use as a dipper for roasted potatoes.
Curry ketchup: Use Hela Ketchup Mild and Hot on burgers, along with sliced mango and tomatoes.
Harissa: For a chicken marinade, whisk New York Shuk Signature Harissa with olive oil and orange juice.
Homemade chimichurri: Puree fresh parsley leaves with olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over grilled steak or tofu.
Homemade tzatziki: Mix grated cucumber, minced garlic, yogurt, fresh dill, a hint of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Serve with meat kabobs.
Homemade stone fruit pico de gallo: Combine diced nectarines with chopped red onion and tomato, minced jalapenos, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.
Preserved lemon paste: Whisk New York Shuk Preserved Lemon Paste with olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper for a zingy vinaigrette.
Keep a bottle or pitcher of water with you during the day.
Jazz up water with citrus fruit or fresh herbs (like mint or basil).
For extra flavor, freeze juice in ice cube trays; then add to water.
Include water-rich foods in your diet. Think: lettuce, melon, and tomatoes.
For variety, also sip on iced tea or kombucha. For an occasional treat, make an agua fresca by pureeing fresh fruit (like strawberries or melon) with water and a small amount of lime juice, sweetener, and salt (an important electrolyte). Serve over ice.
Set a timer for every hour, to remind yourself to get up and stretch and hydrate.
Beat the heat when exercising
Get your sweat on outside! Just keep the following in mind to guard against sunburns, dehydration, and heat exhaustion or stroke:
Check the National Weather Service’s Heat Index Calculator. On days that are humid and hot (especially over 90 degrees F), scale back your workout. Remember that your body will need to work harder to stay cool.
To avoid peak sun exposure, exercise in the early morning or evening and stick to shadier areas.
Wear clothing that’s lightweight, sweat-wicking, breathable, and light-colored, with built-in UV protection. Choose spandex and nylon, rather than cotton. (Cotton has no wicking properties, so it won’t move sweat away from your skin.)
Don’t forget UV-blocking, glare-resistant sunglasses and a hat or visor. If hiking or walking, try a wide-brimmed hat, such as the Tilley Airflo Broad Brim Hat.
For any uncovered areas of your body (like your torso under a mesh top), slather on sunscreen. Apply a half hour before heading outside.
For long workouts, like training for a marathon, don a hydration vest, pack, or belt, such as the Camelbak Lobo 100 Oz Hydration Pack. Look for one with water bottles with extended tubes in front for hands-free drinking. Down at least 20 ounces of liquid each hour.
If you notice any signs of heat exhaustion or stroke (like rapid heart rate, headache, nausea, weakness, faintness, dizziness, or pale and clammy skin), head inside.
Improve your run
To avoid chafing, apply Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm.
Before heading out in the evening, adhere Jogalite Cut’n Peel Stick on Tape to your clothes so you’ll be visible to passing cars.
Store your keys and phone in an Armpocket Mega i-40 Phone Running Case.
Although not the most sustainable solution, cooling wipes, such as Goodwipes Really Big Body Wipes, are convenient when you can’t shower immediately post-run.
Upgrade your swim
To listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast while you do laps, order a waterproof MP4 player, like the Delphin Waterproof Micro Tablet.
To keep water out of your eyes and see better underwater, try the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Goggle—or the women’s version if you have a narrower face.
Before jumping in, coat your hair with a leave-in conditioner to protect it from the chemicals in pool water. Try AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense.
Enjoying the Outdoors
Boost your beach, pool, or park time
Invest in a highly-rated portable beach umbrella, such as the AMMSUN 7.5 Foot Heavy Duty HIGH Wind Beach Umbrella with sand anchor & Tilt Sun Shelter.
Tote refreshing drinks and meals in an Igloo Retro Picnic Basket Cooler. Put ice cubes in water bottles to keep drinks at max coolness.
Immerse yourself in transporting reads like Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark (Scribner/Rucci) and The Midcoast by Adam White (Hogarth), both recommended summer reads from Publisher’s Weekly.
Pick the right SPF
Look for sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum (offering protection from both UVA and UVB rays).
Sunscreen should be SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant, meaning it will resist water for 40-80 minutes (afterward, reapply).
Go for a chemical sunscreen, such as Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch, if you want a product that absorbs the sun’s rays and doesn’t leave a residue on your skin.
Choose mineral or physical sunscreen, like Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Daily Defense, if you prefer a product that sits on the surface of the skin and deflects the sun’s rays. Although mineral sunscreens usually leave a residue on the skin, they are ideal for sensitive skin.
Treat a minor sunburn
As soon as you notice your skin is burned, head out of the sun.
For pain relief, take a cool shower or bath. Afterwards, gently pat yourself dry and slather on aloe vera- or soy-based moisturizer or hydrocortisone cream. You can also take aspirin or ibuprofen.
Although you might be tempted to pop blisters, let them heal.
Before heading outside again, cover sunburned skin, ideally with tightly woven fabrics.
Cut your risk of bug bites and poison ivy
Put on pants and long-sleeved shirts, such as the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Self-Guided Hike Shirt. Wear clothing, shoes, and gear treated with 0.5% permethrin.
After you put on sunscreen, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin (called KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the U.S.), or IR3535. Or go with a natural product featuring oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
Avoid grassy, brushy, or wooded areas with high grass. Walk in the center of trails.
After being outside, check your clothing, gear, and pets for ticks and remove if you find them. If clothes are dirty, wash in hot water. Then tumble dry on high heat for at least 10 minutes. Check your body for ticks and shower within two hours.
On hikes, tote Cutter Poison Ivy Wipes for urgent use to remove plant oils from your skin before they cause a reaction.
Treat minor bites and stings
Apply calamine lotion, baking soda paste, or hydrocortisone cream several times a day.
Place a cold cloth on the area for 10-20 minutes.
Try Bug Bite Thing to quell itching discomfort.
Pop a non-prescription antihistamine, such as cetirizine, fexofenadine, or loratadine.
Soak in an oatmeal bath.
Press a steeped, cooled chamomile tea bag on the bite.
Keep cool at night
Close the blinds or drapes during the day.
Lower the temperature to 68 degrees F.
Outfit your bed with a cooling pillow (such as the Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow - Memory Foam Pillows Cooling Gel), cooling sheets (like the Slumber Cloud Essential Sheet Set), and a cooling comforter (like the LINENSPA All-Season Down Alternative Microfiber Comforter).
Use a fan, such as the Lasko Portable Electric Oscillating Fan.