Healthy Summer Recipe Ideas for Seniors

Senior preparing healthy food

Summer is here! Longer summer days inspire people to get outside and enjoy the warm weather.

Picnics and cookouts are popular ways to celebrate and connect with family and friends. Many summer foods and treats are tasty, nutritionally dense, and can help ward off the heat. This is a great benefit, particularly for senior family members who might be sensitive to warmer weather. 

Below are some summer foods and recipe ideas to help seniors stay healthy and hydrated in warmer weather.

Top Summer Foods to Find and Enjoy

  • Watermelon is a favorite seasonal fruit. Delicious and hydrating, watermelon is full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Studies show it may help reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes. 
  • Berries are often low in calories and contain antioxidants and fiber. 
  • Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein. Sunflower seeds are especially high in minerals and phytosterols, which can help lower blood cholesterol. 
  • Tomatoes are in season and an excellent source of salicylates and lycopene, reducing inflammation and preventing heart disease. 
  • Sweet corn is a good source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant that promotes eye health.

Simple, Nutritious Summer Food Favorites

Watermelon being cut


This classic dish of corn, lima beans, and other vegetables was introduced to colonists by Native Americans in the 1600s. The Narragansett people of New England ate this recipe using the “three sisters” or the native crops that thrive and grow together: corn, beans, and squash.

Since then, many cooks have put their own spin on it. Succotash is traditionally vegetarian. You’ll often find tomatoes, onions, okra, peppers, and sometimes bacon in the dish.

Often a favorite side dish in Southern states, succotash pairs well with virtually any main course and is a great way to add lots of colorful vegetables to a meal.


Salsa is a summer favorite and a great snack or meal that’s served cold but has a spicy kick. It is simple to make at home. You can often use tomatoes and ingredients right out of the garden. Making it at home also eliminates added sugar and extra salt.

There are so many varieties of salsa. Many traditional recipes call for cherry tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, sweet onions, jalapeño pepper, and a pinch of salt.  But it’s easy to experiment with ingredients and make mango salsa, salsa verde, peach salsa—the list goes on! Salsa is a fun and flavorful way to add more vegetables to a snack or as a side dish.


Salads and summer tend to go hand in hand. It is a cool, refreshing food that’s easy to make as a side dish or a main course. Also, the possibilities are endless

Many salads start with a leafy green base like iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, arugula, watercress, beet greens, spinach, and kale. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are high exceptionally in vitamins, phytonutrients, calcium, and iron. 

Salads are a great way to add more vegetables and fiber to your diet and provide opportunities to add additional protein, including chicken, turkey, boiled eggs, tuna, crab meat, shrimp, salmon, steak, beans, or tofu. Protein helps make salads feel more satisfying, balances blood sugar, and minimizes cravings.


Sandwiches are a perfect summertime food because they are delicious, healthy, and simple to make. They are also diverse. There are so many varieties of sandwiches, it’s easy to make recipes that are satisfying while also being considerate of diet restrictions. Like salads, sandwiches usually don’t require appliances. This can help keep indoor spaces cool while creating delicious meals. 


Soups are tasty, nutritionally dense meals packed with seasonal flavors. Many consider soup to be a winter-weather dish, but it can be enjoyed all year around. Cold soups can be a refreshing, filling summertime delight for lunch or a light supper. Seasonal fruit and vegetables like cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, and celery are great ingredients to consider adding.


Few things taste better than a cold treat on a hot day. Homemade popsicles are an excellent way to create a delicious, fun treat without high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. Local ripe fruit is available this time of year, and almost anything can be frozen! Healthy popsicles are all about combining favorite fruits, juices, and yogurts to create a tasty cold treat for later.

Getting Proper Nutrition All Summer Long for Seniors

As we age, our interest in food might change. Appetites might decrease due to health conditions or medication. When the summer heat is in effect, it can be challenging to keep up with adequate nutritional needs. Having tasty, simple light meals that are suitable for warmer weather can help.

It’s important to check it with your older loved ones to make sure they are happy and healthy. If you think your older loved one might need more assistance with meal preparation at home, there are services that can help. Contact us to learn more about nutritional services for seniors.