The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Summer Snacking

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
homemade ice cream

Summer is snacking season. The warm months are packed with outdoor activities, parties and special events, so we often need to fuel up while enjoying the fun.

Snacking can also help you lose weight the healthy way. That’s right, eating between meals actually makes weight loss easier. The key is to choose nutritious options, so you don’t feel so hungry that you overeat when you sit down to lunch or dinner.

Many healthy, seasonal snacks begin with fresh summer fruits and vegetables. They’re high in fiber, low in sugar and packed with the essential nutrients your body needs when it’s working hard. Pair the fresh produce with lean proteins and you’ll create the ideal balance for satisfying any active appetite.

To help you snack well this season, we’ve gathered our best summer eating tips into this handy guide.

Top 10 Healthy Summer Snacks

Nutritious snacks can be both simple and satisfying, like these perennial favorites.

1. Frozen Grapes

Frozen Grapes

Pluck your choice of naturally sweet red or green grapes from their stems and place them on a cookie sheet or tray in the freezer for at least four hours. When they’re ready, you can pop one in your mouth and feel yourself cooling down from the inside out.

2. Spicy Nuts

Spicy Nuts

People who live in warm climates know that eating food with a little spice activates your body’s inner cooling system. Toss raw (unroasted) pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts or peanuts with egg whites and then sprinkle them to taste with cayenne pepper, chili powder or black pepper. Spread the nuts out evenly on a sheet pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees. After they’re cool, pack them into single-serving bags you can grab whenever you need a snack to take along.

3. Peppers and Hummus

Peppers and Hummus

Bell peppers are a crunchy, sweet vehicle for savory hummus. You can use slices of full-size peppers or look for the handy mini ones that you can just scoop into the protein-rich dip.

4. Berries and Yogurt

Berries and Yogurt

Choose from blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, or go with a mix. Stir them into nonfat plain Greek yogurt or make layers of fruit with yogurt in-between, like a parfait. A healthy granola or some nuts can make a crunchy topping!

5. Cucumbers and Dip

Cucumbers and Dip

Make a quick dip by mixing everything bagel seasonings into fat-free sour cream. Swipe cucumber spears through it for a crunchy treat.

6. Caprese Skewers

Caprese Skewers

For a quick, seasonal snack, thread cherry tomatoes, pearl mozzarella balls and basil leaves onto wooden skewers. You can eat them as-is or drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar or pesto.

7. Popsicles

Puree Popsicles

Avoid sugary store-bought popsicles by crafting your own with ease. Simply blend your favorite fruits like peaches and blackberries, or mix it up. For a protein kick, consider adding yogurt to the mix! Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or small paper cups, insert sticks, and freeze for around four hours. When ready, remove the cup and enjoy your homemade cool treat.

No time to prep your own pops? Stock up on delicious ice cream snacks from Nutrisystem! Our Orange Cream Bars taste like your favorite childhood summer treat.

8. Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

This classic snack is a healthy option because most salsa is made with non-starchy vegetables, so it is unlimited when you’re following a Nutrisystem weight loss plan. Look for tortilla chips with no salt added at the store or make your own with our air fryer tortilla chips recipe! Either way, be sure to stick to a single serving of chips for your snack.

9. Homemade Ice Cream

Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

Whip up nice cream from fresh fruits you have on hand! From bananas to berries, there are so many different fruit combinations. Just toss them in your blender and enjoy! Try our easy vegan banana nice cream recipe.

You can also try making the viral cottage cheese ice cream at home. The high-protein dairy food makes a healthy base for a cool summer snack. You make it in a blender and there’s no ice cream maker or hand-churning needed.

Start with cottage cheese and mix in your choice of cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint oil or your favorite berries for added flavor. We also have delicious cottage cheese ice cream recipes here on the Leaf for you to try!

10. Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

The beloved party favorite, deviled eggs, can be a healthy, protein-rich snack you enjoy any day of the week. After hard-boiling the eggs, you simply slice them in half, scoop out the yolks and mash them with either nonfat plain Greek yogurt or an avocado. Add spices such as paprika and put a spoonful of the mixture into each half of the egg.

Try our recipes for classic deviled eggs, spicy buffalo deviled eggs and avocado deviled eggs!

DIY Summer Snack Recipes

Making your own snacks ensures that you always have healthy options available. Plus, it also allows you to choose the flavors that you and your family love. Here are a few easy recipes approved by the dietitians at Nutrisystem that you can try this summer.

3-Ingredient Iced Coffee Popsicle

iced coffee popsicles

If you love iced coffee, our Iced Coffee Popsicles recipe is a fun and refreshing way to enjoy it. These popsicles are made with black coffee (a Free Food on a Nutrisystem plan) and plain fat-free yogurt for creamy texture and protein. We add a little stevia, the no-calorie natural sweetener. Check out more of our fresh homemade popsicle ideas.

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Crispy Zucchini Chips

In summer, zucchini is at its peak of freshness and abundance at farmer’s markets, grocery stores and in gardens. Make crunchy chips by coating slices of the green squash with whole wheat flour and crushed crackers, then brown them in the oven or an air fryer. Get our Crispy Zucchini Chips recipe.

Black Bean Brownie Dip

Black Bean Brownie Dip

This rich and chocolaty dip is flavored with real cocoa, but its creamy texture comes from pureed black beans, which have lots of fiber and a bland taste that blends in so well, no one will even know they’re inside. You can use this Black Bean Brownie Dip recipe for dipping summer strawberries or whole wheat graham crackers.

Berry Mousse

Berry Mousse

Turn seasonal berries into a cool treat with this Berry Mousse recipe. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt supplies the smooth texture and a healthy amount of protein. This dish can be elegant enough to serve for dessert at a summer party, but you can dig in whenever you’re ready for a refreshing snack.

S’mores Cookie Dough Protein Balls

S'mores Cookie Dough Protein Balls

You can enjoy the taste of S’mores, a classic summer treat, and fuel yourself for a busy day at the same time. To make these S’mores Cookie Dough Protein Balls, you’ll use Chocolate Nutrisystem Shake Mix, rolled oats, unsweetened almond milk, graham crackers and mini marshmallows. Like all of our cookie dough protein ball recipes, these snacks are perfect for taking with you wherever you go.

Staying Hydrated with Flavorful Snack Ideas

Hydration is especially important in the summer heat when you’re active and perspiring. Weight loss experts from Nutrisystem recommend that you drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.

When you’re bored of ordinary water or want a boost of flavor, perk up your glass of water with natural ingredients that don’t add unnecessary calories. Squeeze in fresh lemon or lime juice, or add fresh herbs like mint or basil leaves. For more fresh ideas, check out our infused water recipes to sip on this summer.

Smoothies can be a quick, healthy snack that hydrates you and fuels you up at the same time. Start with ingredients such as nonfat plain Greek yogurt and unsweetened almond milk, which are high in protein. Summer fruits such as berries, melon and pineapple provide nutrients and natural sweetness.

We collected over 20 easy and refreshing summer smoothie recipes to keep you healthy, which include favorites like Pina Colada Protein Smoothie and Raspberry Almond Butter Smoothie.

Many foods also hydrate you when you eat them. Cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon all contain more than 90 percent water. Even foods like spinach and lettuce are over 80 percent water. Add these fresh summer foods to your menu for a healthy, happy and hydrated season!

Healthy Snacking on the Go

Cucumber infused water.

The warm weather and long days make it easy and fun to be active and burn calories in summer. Whether you’re swimming, hiking, riding a bike or chasing the kids around the playground, you need to keep your energy up while you’re on the move. Try these ideas.

  • Wash and pre-slice your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables. Put them in a reusable plastic container that fits in a backpack or purse. They’re easy to munch on anywhere!
  • Trail mix was designed for hikers and others who spend long days outdoors. Look for choices that are highest in nuts and seeds with less chocolate and other sweets.
  • Pop plain popcorn, toss with a little cayenne pepper, garlic powder or cinnamon, then pack in a plastic bag. If you don’t have time to pop, just grab a bag of White Cheddar Popcorn from Nutrisystem.
  • Stock up on handy bars from Nutrisystem. From our Chewy Peanut Bar to our Chocolaty Pretzel Bar, you get all of your favorite flavors in one convenient, ready-to-eat package.

Navigating Social Gatherings and Festivals

Group of friends having a meal outdoors in summer

For most people, the toughest challenge to sticking with your healthy weight loss plan comes when you’re not at home. Whether you’re at an outdoor party or attending a music festival, the temptation to indulge in unhealthy fare is hard to resist. What can you do to support your commitment to wellness and weight loss?

  • Be sure you have at least one healthy choice by offering to bring a dish to any get-together. A tray of sliced seasonal vegetables and our Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip will please any crowd and keep you on track.
  • You can enjoy a taste of almost anything you want, if you pay attention to how much you have. A few bites of an indulgence can satisfy a craving and let you join in the fun without derailing your progress. Just be sure to stick to a single serving.
  • If you want to be energized and feel full, pick the snacks that have the most protein. Seafood, nuts, hummus, cheese and other PowerFuels satisfy your appetite and are less likely to come with empty calories than high-carb snacks like potato chips or baked goods.
  • Dehydration not only slows your metabolism, but you may also feel hungry even when you’re not. Whether you’re dancing up a storm or playing cornhole in the sun, be sure to replenish your fluids throughout the day and night. A tasty idea: make yourself a light and refreshing seltzer mocktail with frozen raspberries!

Wherever you are, you can enjoy a summer full of fun and eating well. Take advantage of the many types of fruits and vegetables that are in season by building your snacks around them. Use the ideas in this article as a jumping off point, but don’t be afraid to try combos you come up with. The summer snacking season is prime time for you to discover what works best for you!