How Eating Patterns Commonly Change During The Summer Months

The summer season is a prime time for socializing. From backyard barbeques, weddings, pool parties, and vacations, it can be a tough time to stick to any health goals. The temptation to splurge is high, leading to possible weight gain. Summer weight gain is commonly seen among all age groups due to less consistent exercise, sugary summer drinks, and poor eating habits (per Healthline). The seasonal weight changes and eating patterns are noticeable, and understandable among medical experts.

Amy Bragagnini, an oncology nutrition specialist in Michigan, tells Healthline, "Many people participate in summer weddings, graduations, and family gatherings. There are usually lots of decadent food and beverages at such events. At these gatherings, it is easy to be in a celebratory mode and consume more food and calorie-laden beverages than one would on a typical day."

Bragagnini explains there's a balance between taking advantage of the summer to relax, have fun, and eat good food, while maintaining healthy habits like proper nutrition and engaging in physical activity.

How to avoid the summer slump

Despite ample opportunities to splurge, it's possible to stick to healthy eating during summer. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, mindfulness when choosing food can go a long way. Consumers can start by monitoring their portions, and limiting your intake of unhealthy items to a few servings each week. When attending an event or celebration, try building a healthy plate that includes fruit, vegetables, protein, and whole grains, if possible.

"Summer is a great time to get things like fresh peppers, tomatoes, berries [and] zucchini," Rebecca Levine, a Chicago-based registered dietitian, tells U.S. News and World Report.

Seasonal eating can be another way to ensure you're consuming enough fruits and vegetables. According to WebMD, seasonal eating is the act of buying and consuming in-season produce according to the time of year. It not only has health benefits, but environmental advantages too. Eating seasonally contributes to nutrient-dense meals by selecting summer crops that are ripe for harvest. In-season summer produce also includes corn, eggplant, green beans, and peaches (via Greatist).

Swapping highly processed food items for fresh produce is one way to make better choices. Registered dietitian nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix tells Insider, "Plants should have the starring role of your diet, with animal products being the supporting cast."

Taub-Dix suggests making at least half of your plate fresh fruit and vegetables, and eating meat and other animal products in moderation.