If you think about it, summer is cursed with a lot of second-place finishes. It has the best songs besides winter, the best smells besides fall, and the best weather besides spring.
But summer is the hands-down, blue-ribbon winner in the fresh fruits and veggies category, which means healthy, seasonal snacking couldn’t be easier. Here are some recipes I’m loving right now:
Creamy Blueberry Popsicles
Consider this a huuuuge step up from that staple of summer childhoods everywhere, the venerable but nutritionally bankrupt Otter Pop! RIP, you magical tubes of sugar-water and red dye 40.
You probably already know about the antioxidants in blueberries and the protein-rich benefits of Greek yogurt. So I won’t say another word, except maybe yum.
Recipe to Try: Not Just A Housewife Pops
Tips: Patience, young Jedi. The recipe doesn’t specify how long these take to freeze, but I made them the night before to give them time to fully set.
Tropical Granola Bars
Nothing says “summer” like coconut and mango—ideally, mixed together in a chilled beverage. But that’s a post for another time.
If it’s 5 o’clock somewhere but not in your kitchen. Kill some daylight hours by whipping up this batch of delicious, nutritious granola. Sure, it takes more energy than driving to the store and buying a box of Nature Valley bars, but you’ll feel like a DIY diva and save yourself all those nasty chemical preservatives.
Recipe to Try: A Clean Bake Granola
Tips: Watch your cooking time and oven temperature carefully to avoid ending up with granola that’s either sticky or hard-as-granite. Consider adding agave or white chocolate chips for sweetness.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
So you can’t get to a Greek island this summer? Don’t cry for me, Santorini. This salad has all the sun-soaked, olive-oily flavor of the Mediterranean nestled in the high-fiber goodness of quinoa. Did I mention there’s feta? I’ve basically been living off of this stuff for weeks now.
Bonus: It keeps well for days, can be served hot or cold, and is a perfectly portable dish for picnics and potlucks.
Recipe to Try: Food Fanatic Quinoa
Tips: Add toasted pine nuts for extra crunch and protein. If you’re so over quinoa or you find the taste slightly bitter, try mixing in bulgur or another whole grain.
Silly me. I thought cucumber and watermelon, being all watery and such, were nutritional lightweights. Thank you, Caroline, for explaining that they actually pack a punch of vitamins A, C, and K.
This is another snack that whips up in a jiffy and works well for crowds. Or you can just make your own personal vat of it and sneak a spoonful every time you open the fridge. (Not that anyone around here would do that!)
Recipe to Try: Green Kitchen Gazpacho
Tips: Substitute mint for the basil. Trust me.
I know, I know. This one’s a gimme. But look deep into your heart of hearts and ask yourself: Am I really taking full advantage of the peak growing season of my favorite summer fruits? Are you?
Eating fruit when it’s naturally fresh and ripe maximizes the nutritional value and just flat-out tastes better. Epicurious has a great interactive guide to when fruits are in season in the U.S.
Recipes to Try: Berry Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps and Grilled Fruit Skewers
Tips: Remember, the meatier and juicier the fruit, the better it will stand up to grilling. As always, go easy on the charring to reduce your exposure to harmful carcinogens.
Bon appétit! And here’s hoping you can get your hands on some of these rad dino popsicle molds.
Emma’s favorite fruit is guacamole. She loves reading, traveling, watching other people play sports, and spending time with friends and family. She currently lives in Paris with her husband and blogs about their European adventures at finleysinfrance.com.