Health & Well-being Quality of Life

A Guide to Summer Nutrition

Good food and healthy eating both start with an essential element: quality ingredients – which typically include in-season foods. In this article, I share the benefits of eating seasonally in summer including what peak-season fruit and vegetables to look out for and some delicious summer recipes to get you started and tempt those taste buds.

When I cook for people, whether for family and friends or as a guest in my home, I often hear comments like: “This is incredible – I don’t usually like this food.” Or “I wish I could cook like you. I would actually enjoy eating healthy.” While I appreciate the kind words, let me assure you I’m no Jamie Oliver. My cooking is very simple. Yet that’s exactly what makes it so appealing to everyone.

The secret to healthy cooking made easy
RELATED: The secret to healthy cooking made easy


There’s an art to eating well, and it starts with using the best-tasting, highest-quality ingredients. This typically includes ‘in-season’ foods. 

What does in-season really mean? Seasonal foods are those that are in their peak growing and harvest time during the present season. This will be dependent on your particular geographical area. I shared about the many benefits of eating in-season food in a previous article: “Benefits of Eating Seasonal Produce” This focused on how eating seasonally includes superior taste, increased nutritional benefits, and a lighter environmental load. Now, as we enter the summer months, let’s take a look at some of the common, and maybe a few not-so-common, foods of the season to tempt those taste buds.

Soulfully Nourished Free Meal Plan
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE MEAL-PLAN (Contains 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches & 8 dinner ideas)


Summer is truly the mecca of flavour and variety. It boasts the greatest volume of peak-season fruits and vegetables. Here are some key fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are at their best during the summer months. 

  • Berries: Think blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, and even a few late varieties of strawberries. In the summer months, berries are in surplus. Their juicy sweetness knows no end to the variety of uses. Throw them into smoothies or on a salad. Use them to make a salad dressing, ice cream, or jams. Or just simply enjoy them fresh and raw.
  • Beans: This includes pole beans, like the common green beans, to many varieties of shelling beans like kidney, black, and lima beans. You can easily source beans in the summer months. Shelling beans are great for drying and storing for use year-round. But there’s nothing quite like the crisp flavour of a fresh, in-season green bean. Enjoy them sauteed or grilled, cooked and chilled for a salad. Or freeze them for use in the colder months.
  • Chard: This leafy green tolerates the heat better than most others and is at its peak in the summer months. It is usually labelled as Swiss Chard or Rainbow Chard. Sautee it alone or add it to omelettes, potatoes, and soups. Or even throw a handful of raw chard into your summer smoothie for extra nutrients.
  • Corn: A little sweet and a little savoury, in-season corn definitely screams “summer!” When eaten fresh, this starchy vegetable is enjoyed both on and off the cob. It works well as a stand-alone ingredient as well as mixed in with numerous other foods. Corn kernels can easily be removed from the cob to be frozen whole or dried and used as a grain.
  • Cucumbers: The cooling nature of cucumbers makes them one of the quintessential summer foods. Technically a fruit, the versatile cucumber is great for snacking. It’s also good mixed into salads and other dishes. You can even add it to water for a refreshing treat, or use it as a cooling eye treatment for an at-home spa day.
  • Eggplant: These tend to be a hit-or-miss vegetable for many people. But eggplants can be a surprise favourite when enjoyed in the summertime. When out-of-season, picked before it’s ripe, and transported farther distances, eggplant can often be pithy and bitter. But in season, picked just at the perfect ripeness, and eaten within a few days makes all the difference. Eggplant can offer a savoury flavour that may leave you wanting more. Roasted or grilled eggplant makes a great side or even a main vegetarian dish. Or add it to hummus for a baba ghanoush-inspired snack. And one added tip: Try and buy and store eggplant that’s been kept at room temperature. It’s not generally a fan of the cold, humid refrigerator.
  • Figs: The richness of figs is the perfect bookend to summer and introduction to fall. And it’s one of the fruits I look forward to most. With its somewhat recent revitalization, we no longer only think of this fruit dried inside of a folded cookie. We can also enjoy it raw as an appetizer or on salads. Try it cooked with meats, or in desserts. It pairs well with goat cheese, walnuts, leafy greens, and my personal favourite – in an olive oil ice cream.
  • Herbs: While not typically the star ingredient, herbs are the supporting characters that can make a dish shine. Fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, and so much more are available in the summer. So take advantage of these fresh herbs while you can. Chop to season and garnish dishes. Use in pesto or other sauces, freeze with olive oil in ice cube trays. Or infuse in water alone or with fruit.
  • Melons: Would summer be summer without watermelon? I think not! But other types of melons also abound this season. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and many new varieties are becoming more accessible. Of course, melon is amazing when enjoyed raw. But you may want to try grilling it, adding it to salads, or even making it into a cooling gazpacho. 
  • Peppers: From sweet bell peppers to fiery habaneros, peppers love the heat. And they show their full colour in the summer months. Green, yellow, orange, red, and purple. There’s a pepper for almost every colour of the rainbow, which is indicative of their nutritional value. Slice and enjoy raw, sautee with other vegetables, or stuff and bake them, just to name a few uses.
  • Potatoes: Potatoes span the seasons. This starts with new potatoes in the spring and finishes the harvest in the Autumn. Summer provides a mix of tender new potatoes along with some fully mature varieties. This gives us ample options for potato salads as well as grilled or baked potatoes. 
  • Stone Fruits: From peaches and nectarines to plums and pluots, most stone fruits are at their best from mid-to-late summer. When ripe and ready, these fruits are some of the juiciest foods you will eat all summer. Take a bite of a southern peach or make a rustic tart with a juicy plum. Or slice a nectarine to add to a summer salad.
  • Summer Squash and Zucchini: The thin-skinned varieties of the squash family make their debut in the warm months. They are the perfect addition to many summer meals. Their uses are plentiful, from grilled or sauteed to baked or added to sweet breads. They also make a great addition to smoothies when pre-chopped and frozen. And don’t forget about their blossoms, which are delicious stuffed and served as a beautiful appetizer.
  • Tomatoes: Another versatile summer fruit (yes, a fruit, although typically served as a vegetable) are tomatoes. Small, cherry-sized varieties come early in the season and larger varieties arrive a little later. They are commonly added to mixed green salads or sauteed vegetable blends. They’re great too in dishes like salsa or pasta sauce. But let your imagination run wild with these. Add to a salad with watermelon or slice and serve with a pinch of good quality salt and olive oil. Roast them alongside chicken thighs, or add to savoury scones, just to name a few ideas.
Summer Seasonal Produce
RELATED: Summer Season Produce

This is not an exhaustive list of all the produce you may find in the summer. So keep your eyes open and ask your local farmers or food experts for more ideas. In addition to the surplus of produce in peak season, outlying fruits and vegetables are lingering from spring and debuting early for fall. This includes foods like beets, cherries, apples, pears, and grapes. There’s so much to choose from so you can enjoy maximum flavor and plenty of variety!


In-season produce is usually easy to find at your grocery stores and supermarkets, farmer’s markets, or through a local community-supported agriculture (CSA).

When you’re buying your produce, remember to take the time to both look and smell. Does it look ripe, plump, and firm, or is it wilted, browning, and limp? Does it smell sweet and aromatic? Our eyes and nose are our best guide before we buy, and our taste is our guide thereafter. If we allow our senses to do the work they were created to do, we may just find ourselves eating in a more wholesome and delicious way. 


I am Kiran and I'm a Lifestyle Coach, Podcast Host, Vegetarian Nutritionist, NLP Master Practitioner, Author and an Interior Designer.

Leave a Reply