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Healthy Summer Recipes and Side Dishes for Weight Loss

By Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN, CSSD, CISSN

Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Certified Nutritionist

Some of the best things about summer are enjoying the sunshine with loved ones and eating good food. While the classics are always a hit, they’re often high in calories and unwanted fat – not the best thing for your weight loss goals. The good news is you can still enjoy tasty summer fare without wrecking your goals, or your waistline. Try these healthy summer recipes your family is sure to love.

What kinds of foods are best enjoyed over the summer?

Traditional summer seasonal foods often vary by state and region. Many Americans enjoy burgers, hot dogs, s’mores, watermelon, potato salad, macaroni salad, and other typical BBQ spread. But if you’re bored with what’s always on the menu, consider taking some inspiration from other areas or states you don’t reside in. Here’s some healthy summer foods you won’t want to miss this year:


  • Avocado - California
  • Watermelon - Florida
  • Lobster rolls – Northern states
  • Smoothies - California
  • Frozen beverages - Caribbean
  • Peaches - Georgia
  • Pineapple – Costa Rica
  • Popcorn – United States
  • Grilled corn - Mexico
  • Grilled desserts – United States
  • Corn chowder - Vermont
  • BBQ – Texas, Mid-west
  • Gazpacho – Spain and Portugal
  • Seafood boil – Louisiana and the Gulf Coast
  • Crabs, clams, and fresh fish – Coastal states
  • Sauerkraut - Germany
  • Berry pie – Oklahoma, Washington
  • Summer Squash – Mexico and Texas


Healthy summer recipes from apps to dinner and dessert

We’ve rounded up some of the best family-friendly summer recipes to make. Not only are they weight loss-friendly, but they also taste absolutely delicious.


If you’re a Jenny member, check with your coach about adding these dishes to your meal plan to ensure you stay on track!

Healthy appetizers and sides

When it’s boiling outside, sometimes the last thing you want to nosh on is something hot. These healthy summer side dishes are just what you need to keep cool, feel great and support your health goals.


Cowboy Caviar

Makes 4-6 servings

Ready in 15 minutes; this dish can be served alongside chips as a dip or eaten as a side dish with a spoon.



  • 1 (8-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 (8-ounce) can yellow corn, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  •  ¼ teaspoon garlic powder



  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  2. Toss together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl gently.
  3. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat well. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

Broccoli Blueberry Salad


Makes 6-8 servings

Ready in 10 minutes or less. This dish is best served cold; refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.


  • 2 cups broccoli, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.


Rainbow Kale Salad

Makes 2-3 servings

Ready in 10 minutes or less; pair this refreshing salad with a half sandwich or serving of grilled chicken.


  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale
  • ½ cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  •  ½ cup diced beets
  • ½ cup shredded purple cabbage
  • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced cucumber
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper



  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with dressing before serving


Healthy summer dinner ideas

Don’t you just love meals that require little to no thought or effort, especially during summer break? These healthy summer dinner ideas are just that - easy peasy without having to think. Plus, they’re packed with protein and fresh ingredients that will keep you satisfied and energized.


Stuffed Peppers

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound 99% lean ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup or tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 medium green bell peppers, cut tops off and clean out the center
  • Shredded cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion, sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook an additional minute.
  3. Add the ground meat to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the ketchup. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Chop the tops of the green bell peppers and add it to the meat. Stir well.
  5. Place the peppers in a large microwave safe dish. Microwave for 4 minutes.
  6. Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture and place in the lined baking pan. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of each pepper.
  7. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until the peppers are soft.

Fish Tacos



Makes 2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10-12 minutes


  • 6 ounces fresh cod
  • ¼ teaspoon blackened seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 fresh lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup diced tomato
  • 4 (6-inch) tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (olive oil mayonnaise preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon blackened seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon water, to thin


  1. Season cod with blackened seasoning on both sides. Bake or grill the cod until cooked through and flakey.
  2. In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, pepper, seasoning and water to create a dressing. Set aside.
  3. Top each tortilla with cod, cabbage, cilantro, onion, tomato, and a drizzle of the dressing before serving. Garnish with lime wedge.



Healthy desserts and snacks

Spending time outdoors is what summer is all about. Fire up your grill for more than burgers and dogs. These healthy dessert and snack recipes are just what you need to get into vacation mode.


Grilled Banana Split



Makes 1 serving

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 4-5 minutes


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon white chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts or almonds
  • Aluminum foil



Preheat the grill

Tear off a square portion of aluminum foil. Peel the banana and slice in half down the center lengthwise. Place both sides of the banana into the center of the foil. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Fold the foil into a packet. Grill on both sides about 2 minutes until melted. Enjoy topped with whipped cream.

Watermelon Refresher

Makes 1 serving

Prep time: at least 2-4 hours to freeze watermelon; 3 minutes to blend, pour, and enjoy!


  • 1 cup frozen watermelon, cubed
  • ½ cup lime or coconut seltzer
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Dash of salt
  • Sprig of mint leaves
  • Blender


Blend frozen watermelon, seltzer, lime, and salt until desired consistency. Pour into glass and garnish with mint.


Which recipe are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments!

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Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN, CSSD, CISSN

By Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN, CSSD, CISSN

Shoshana is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Sports Nutritionist in private practice based on Long Island, New York. With over 15 years in the health, nutrition and fitness fields, Shoshana has worked with brands including Nature’s Bounty Company, Joy Bauer “The Today Show Dietitian,” Oxygen Magazine, and others. Shoshana’s nutrition philosophy includes the mantra that “all foods fit,” making room for a healthy balance while building a healthy relationship with food. In her spare time, you’ll find Shoshana sharing tips and tricks for feeding her two toddlers, while trying to manage it all — from the meltdowns to the messes to the kisses and the hugs.

Favorite healthy snack: Greek yogurt topped with fruit, granola and yogurt almonds
Monica Ropar, Certified Nutritionist

Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Certified Nutritionist

Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation.  Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.

Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus


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