With all the fresh produce available in the summer months, it's easy to get your fill of healthy foods. In this meal plan, nutrient-rich summer produce—like tomatoes, berries, greens and fresh herbs—takes center stage to make for a week of delicious dinners that pack a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. These superfood ingredients work in the body to decrease inflammation, protect against some cancers, fuel healthy gut bacteria and boost immunity—plus, they taste amazing!
Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette & Shrimp Paulista: A classic summer superfood packed with the antioxidant lycopene and vitamins A and C, tomatoes help to nourish your skin and eyes and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Here we combine heirloom tomatoes (which tend to be sweeter and juicier than conventional tomatoes) with thinly sliced cucumbers, feta cheese and a light basil vinaigrette. Serve this colorful salad with the simple Shrimp Paulista recipe to round out this easy summer meal.
Traditional Greek Salad: This traditional Greek salad recipe uses fresh summer vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and bell pepper), chopped Kalamata olives, feta cheese and a homemade Greek vinaigrette to create an easy one-dish dinner perfect for summer nights. This veg-heavy dinner boasts anti-inflammatory nutrients like beta carotene, vitamins A and C, and quercetin (an antioxidant found in red onions). Serve with toasted pita bread and hummus to round out this simple meal.
Grilled Salmon Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette: High-fiber spinach and berries combine with salmon and walnuts (also superfoods, thanks to the heart-healthy omega-3s they provide) for a nutritious and flavorful summer dinner. Spinach delivers folate, a nutrient especially important for pregnant women, and berries (along with other red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables) are high in the antioxidant anthocyanin, known for its anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Chicken: This healthy summer dinner subs zoodles for pasta to add an extra serving of veggies to your day. While low in calories, zucchini still packs in the nutrients—namely vitamin C, folate and potassium. Paired with high-protein chicken and a flavorful homemade pesto, it makes an easy dinner that will quickly become a summertime favorite.
Meal-Prep Tip: Cook an extra chicken breast tonight at dinner (or enough to make 2 cups of shredded chicken) to use in the Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad recipe on Day 6.
Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms & Massaged Kale Salad: We've taken the key ingredients of the popular caprese salad—tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil—and piled them into portobello mushroom caps to make a delicious and satisfying vegetarian main dish. Mushrooms contain nutrients like potassium, copper and niacin. Plus, they may help give you a vitamin D boost. Mushrooms, like our skin, make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so wild mushrooms typically have a higher vitamin D content than conventionally grown mushrooms. Some commercial mushrooms are exposed to UV light and have a mention of vitamin D on the label. Serve these stuffed mushrooms with the Massaged Kale Salad to round out dinner and get in even more beneficial nutrients—in particular, folate and beta carotene from the dark-leafy green.
Related: The Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad: This Asian-inspired dinner salad has terrific crunch, thanks to sugar snap peas and napa cabbage, with just the right amount of sweetness (from fresh mango) and heat from sambal oelek (an Indonesian hot sauce). Cabbage, along with other members of the cruciferous veggie family, are known to have anti-cancer properties, while mangoes serve as an excellent source of vitamin C.
Zucchini Lasagna: Roasted zucchini slices take the place of noodles in this delicious veggie-packed lasagna, instantly upping your veggie count for the day. An added bonus: the canned tomatoes used to make the sauce provide even more of the beneficial antioxidant lycopene than fresh tomatoes do. When cooked, lycopene becomes more bioavailable in the tomatoes, meaning you're able to absorb more of this super-nutrient. Serve with a garden salad dressed with Basil Vinaigrette to round out the meal.