Summer: it’s a time we look forward to all year. It conveys images of lying on a beach, reading in a hammock with a cool breeze passing by, and swimming in the community pool. But summer also means eating fresh and healthy food so you both look and feel your best, and that is never more important than when you need to eat properly in order to focus at the office. Check out these 20 foods and drinks to consume while working at the office this summer, and get ready to feel the glow.
We all know that we need to be drinking water every day, and that many of us should probably be drinking more of it. Water also helps us focus when our concentration drags, which is especially important for our workday. The recommended daily intake, according to the Institute of Medicine, is 9 cups for females and 13 cups for males. But don’t worry if you think water is boring. Spruce it up with some fruit – a combination of peaches and strawberries would be nice – or even some herbs such as basil or mint.
Judging by the number of Starbucks worldwide, it’s safe to say that we have a pretty big coffee obsession. Whether you like your java hot or on ice in the summer, caffeine can positively affect your ability to focus, concentrate and remember. Add a splash of milk, soy milk or almond milk for some calcium.
3. Iced Tea
You don’t want to be throwing back sodas – too much sugar is unhealthy, not to mention the sugar crash that will result and leave you with less energy than before you had that can of cola – but unsweetened iced tea is a good summer beverage choice. Either homemade or bought from your favorite cafe, try green or black tea for a hit of caffeine, or herbal if you feel you’ve already had enough coffee for the day.
Summer is the best time to eat blueberries and strawberries, and you can hopefully find some local varieties at the supermarket or your neighborhood market or greengrocer. Berries are beloved for their antioxidants and Vitamin C, and are even thought to help prevent us from losing our memory. Enjoy a few in a salad, as a snack, or for breakfast on toast with nut butter.
Avocados are a healthy source of fat and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Put some on toast for breakfast with some black pepper, add them to a salad, or make a mayo-less potato salad with avocado as the creamy base. Avocado has levels of monounsatured fat which is good for our heart and prevents inflammation in the body, so enjoy.
Perhaps the most beloved summer fruit, watermelon conjures up family barbeques and summer nights. Enjoy some as part of your work lunch: add it to a salad with a tiny bit of feta cheese for that classic combination, or enjoy some with a small sprinkling of sea salt as an afternoon treat. Since watermelon has, well, water, it’s a good source of hydration.
Another summer barbeque standby, you can enjoy this summer favorite in a salad, with black beans and quinoa, and even added to turkey chili. Corn has many health benefits ranging from fiber to Vitamin C to folate.
8. Citrus Fruits
Oranges and grapefruits are very refreshing, and are perfect for summer days at the office when even the air conditioner can’t stop the hot sun from streaming in through the window. Cut up an orange for an afternoon snack or have an avocado, chicken and grapefruit salad.
Summer is tomato season, and you’ve got a number of classic dishes to choose from for a healthy, unique work lunch. Make a cold gazpacho soup, Caprese salad, or simply enjoy some inside a turkey sandwich.
Shrimps are available year-round, of course, especially if you buy frozen ones from your local supermarket, but there’s something about summer and seafood that go perfectly together. Pretend you’re on vacation, even if you’re just in your office lunch or break room, and enjoy a shrimp salad sandwich for lunch, or mix shrimps with some whole wheat pasta and vegetables for a cold pasta salad.
Happiness is a ripe summer peach, which you need to eat with several napkins because it’s so juicy. Bring some to work for a morning or afternoon snack (or both – peaches are so good, it’s okay to have two a day). Enjoy this summer delight while it lasts.
Why not make a healthy summer-themed dessert using this tasty sweet fruit? Blackberries are typically baked into a cobbler or pie. Make mini cobblers with some store-bought whole wheat dough, blackberries, and a touch of honey instead of sugar for a healthier sweet alternative. Enjoy with some Greek yogurt for an after lunch dessert.
Okra is not your typical vegetable, so you might not be familiar with it, but it is a great source of folate, Vitamin A and fiber, not to mention being very sweet with a slight yet not unpleasant grassy taste. Add okra to any salad or sandwich.
Smoothies are very popular these days, and an easy and tasty way to eat your fruits and vegetables without even realizing it. Make a breakfast smoothie with almond milk and cart it to work if you are pressed for time in the morning. You can also make an easy afternoon snack smoothie with Greek yogurt and blueberries.
15. Green Juice
Quite possibly the trendiest drink right now, green juice is beloved by celebrities who claim it wakes them up more and gives them more energy than coffee ever could. Whether that’s true or not, green juice is a good way to get several servings of fruit and vegetables, and all of those vitamins and nutrients in one sitting. You can most likely find a place near your office that makes juice. Enjoy one as a morning or afternoon pick-me-up.
This sour fruit is usually available from May until August. The best way to enjoy some fresh summer cherries is all by themselves. The taste will definitely wake you up when you need an energy boost during your summer workday. A health bonus: cherries contain melatonin which can help you sleep.
The phrase "cool as a cucumber" exists for a reason. Cucumbers will cool you down in no time. Enjoy them in a salad with feta cheese and tomatoes for a classic summer lunch side dish alongside anything, ranging from a sandwich to a healthy chicken breast.
These sweet fruits are the perfect after lunch healthy dessert or morning snack. They would also be a unique addition to spice up your typical salad.
Limes are considered to be best during the summer. Enjoy a slice in a cold glass of water for a more interesting, refreshing drink, or make some limeade: instead of lemonade, mix fresh lime juice and honey for a healthy take on the popular summertime sip.
You most likely eat lettuce all year round, but did you know that it’s in season in the summer? Pick up a bunch from the farmer’s market or your local greengrocer to enjoy this vegetable at its peak.
See also: Top 10 Foods That Will Make You Happy
From cherries to corn to watermelon, not to mention those juicy peaches, we look forward to fresh summer foods all year long. Enjoy these 20 fruits and drinks, and stay cool, healthy and properly fuelled at the office all summer long, no matter what the day brings.