Our cravings can tell us a lot about the foods we need from season-to-season. Throughout Autumn and Winter, our bodies often tell us they need warming, grounding and hearty meals like soups, roast dinners and cosy apple crumbles. In the Spring, fresh herbs and lighter detoxifying flavours can feel more appealing after months of indulgence, whilst Summer is the season when cooling, soothing juicy fruits, salads and hydrating foods are what our bodies need. With that said; our bodies crave these foods if we’re eating real, whole foods year-round. If we consume sugary processed foods, this can somewhat alter the tastebuds and gut causing us to crave junk food most of the time. To help you tune into your body’s true needs try adopting a natural, whole-foods diet this Summer, and notice how your body soon starts wanting healthier foods!
Throughout the year, different foods give us different emotional benefits (such as comfort in Winter, lightness in Spring, or coolness in Summer), but they also provide us with profound physical benefits too. Throughout the year, nature is always giving us what we need to help us form a healthy gut, strong immune system, well-functioning metabolism, and balanced hormones. We can see this especially in Summer fruits and vegetables, which protect us on many levels.
The wisdom of Ayurveda can teach us a lot about listening to the body and aligning ourselves with nature; learn how to deepen the connection to yourself and Mother Nature in Ayurvedic Rituals: Wisdom, Recipes & The Art of Self-Care by Chasca Summerville.
Which Foods Are In Season In Summer?
Throughout the UK and much of the Northern hemisphere, these are the foods you’ll find in-season.
- Beans (runner and French)
- Blueberry / Bilberry
- Red onion
Get to know the seasons a little better with The Self-Care Year: Reflect & Recharge With Simple Seasonal Rituals by Alison Davies. The beautiful guide reveals how to reconnect with your body and mind, and engage with your surroundings. Learn how to slow down, live in tune with the seasons, and pay attention to the present moment.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Seasonally In Summer?
Summer foods have very specific benefits that help us stay well and healthy all season long. Red and pink coloured fruit and veg such as tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, figs and red peppers contain an antioxidant known as lycopene, which directly protects the skin form sun damage, which is of course more likely to occur during Summer. Clever, right?
Many Summer fruits and vegetables are also high in antioxidants, which help protect us from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens to us daily, simply as a result of living. We may experience more oxidative stress during Summer however, as we’re more likely to be active, travelling, getting lots of sunlight, and perhaps sleeping a little less than we would in the darker months. By consuming plenty of Summer berries, you can help increase your antioxidant intake to help protect your cells.
Finally, what we eat in one season can actually help prepare us for the season to come; all those Summer berries, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and even the amount of vitamin D we get from Summer sunlight helps strengthen the immune system, so when we arrive in Autumn and Winter, we may be less likely to catch a cold or flu virus.
To give your body the nutrients it loves and needs this season, try my healthy Summer recipes below!
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Strawberry & Balsamic Salad
This delicious salad is high in antioxidants and vitamin C and E – a nutrient particularly important for skin health. Basil is also a wonderful herb that can help lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system and boost heart health. Try finding local seasonal strawberries to use in this salad, as foods grown close to home don’t have to travel so far, and can therefore retain more of their nutrients by the time we eat them.
(serves 2 – 4 as a side salad)
- 1 large head of lettuce
- 1 large handful strawberries, halved
- 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 100g feta
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Shred the lettuce, then add to a bowl with the strawberries and basil
- Scatter over the sunflower seeds, crumble the feta and drizzle the balsamic vinegar
Pink Power Smoothie Bowl
When warmer weather kicks in, a refreshing smoothie may be more inviting than a steaming hot bowl of porridge. For those mornings, this pink power smoothie bowl will give you plenty of antioxidants, fibre, protein, as well as being deeply hydrating. Make this into a regular smoothie if you have a busy morning, or enjoy a slower breakfast by turning it into a smoothie bowl and adding your favourite toppings.
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 cup frozen berries
- Splash of coconut water
- Pinch of salt
- Soak the chia & flax seeds in 5tbsp water overnight
- Then when you’re ready, add all ingredients to a blender and whizz!
- Top with coconut or pumpkin seeds
Tomato & Red Pepper Soup
A simple soup to help protect your skin throughout Summer. If you’re living in a very hot climate, simply leave this soup to cool and consume it like gazpacho. If you’re in the UK where Summer isn’t always hot and sunny however, you may like to serve this warm with buttered sourdough.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 leek
- 5 large tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- Generous pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil to serve
- 500ml stock or broth
- To get the most flavour from this dish, it’s worth roasting the veg first if you have time; simply chop the garlic, leek, tomatoes and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast at 200C for 20 minutes, or until softened. You can even do this the day before if you prefer.
- When you’re ready to make the soup, heat a tbsp olive oil in a large pan, add the roast veg and stir
- Soon after, add the stock and dried oregano
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
- When you’re ready to serve, turn off the heat and either blend with an immersion blender, or leave to cool and blend in a regular blender in batches.
- Divide into 2 bowls, and top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh basil.
Green Goddess Salad Dressing
If you love nothing better than a big, green leafy salad for Summer lunches, it’s important to know that what you add to that salad can make all the difference when it comes to absorbing the nutrients from it. Many leafy greens and vegetables are fat-soluble, meaning we absorb all their vitamins and minerals best when they’re consumed with a healthy fat. Whip up this delicious dressing and drizzle it over your Summer salads to get the full benefit of them!
(makes roughly 5 to 7 servings)
- 1 large avocado
- 10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Finely chopped fresh herbs: choose basil / chives / parsley / coriander
- Add all ingredients to a blender
- Blend until smooth – add a little more lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for a thinner consistency if you like
- Use straight away, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week
Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream
There’s nothing better than ice cream on a hot Summer’s day! Especially this ice cream recipe. If you struggle to find good quality non-dairy ice cream, this is a simple recipe you can use to create healthy, yummy ice cream at home that is full of beneficial nutrients. Coconut is considered a cooling food from an Ayurvedic perspective, which means it may help calm inflammation, irritation, acidity, and even heated emotions!
(Serves 6, or enough for several servings throughout the week)
- 2 eggs (whites & yolks separated) – definitely use organic good quality eggs for this.
- 1 can of whole coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Use a whisk to mix all ingredients other than the egg whites
- Once mixed, use a hand mixer or whisk to whip up the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold the whites into the rest of the mixture- at this point add optional extras like berries, crushed dark chocolate or nuts.
- Transfer to a sealed container and pop in the freezer
- If you don’t have an ice cream maker (I don’t) stir a couple more times whilst it freezes for an hour then simply leave & enjoy a portion whenever you like!
Find more inspiring recipes in these beautiful, bountiful recipe books at Yogamatters: