3 "Light" Summer Foods That Will Boost Your Energy All Season Long

Nicole Loher is a triathlete, Adidas ambassador, and all-around fitness guru, all while balancing a badass day job in the fashion industry (and several side gigs to boot). Needless to say, she's an inspiration in the art of hustling—and she's totally game to share her knowledge. Follow her column Part-Time Athlete for her expert advice on everything from establishing a training regimen to finding early-morning gym motivation.

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Hey, you. Remember two months ago when we were all complaining about how cold it was and wishing for warmer weather? Well, we made it!

Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, the oppressive heat can have the side effect of suppressing hunger—and, well, the motivation to do anything at all. That’s pretty common. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, as your body tries to keep cool, lower food consumption is a mode of being adaptive to the environment (e.g. hot summer days). In this same vein, we tend to crave “lighter” or “refreshing” foods, as eating has a known impact on one’s body temperature.

For this piece, I went back to my roots—literally. Because I grew up on a farm with my siblings, as did both my parents before us, I asked my family if they’d chime in with their favorite simple, energy-boosting summer ingredients and their favorite ways to enjoy them. Keep reading for our healthy picks.

Bee Pollen

One of my sisters is a bee farmer—seriously! When I go home to visit, she sprinkles bee pollen on everything—smoothies, yogurt, her kids’ cereals. Thanks to its sweet and sometimes floral taste, bee pollen is pretty versatile and comes chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to keep energy levels sustained. My sister notes that it can also help with allergy symptoms, so long as you choose the right variety: “It’s important to get your honey and bee pollen local,” she says. (This way, you’re giving your body the tools to combat local allergens.)

Salmon

“It can be a little harder to get, but I love non-farmed salmon when we can get it,” my dad shares. Salmon is high in omega-3s, the fatty acids that are important for aging well, keeping the brain sharp, and boosting energy. My dad recommends coating non-farmed salmon in olive oil, capers, lemon, and tarragon, and then broiling at 375º for about 10 minutes. His favorite way to serve it? Over an arugula salad that my mom picked from their garden!

Berries

What better way to start your day than with berries? I picked a lot of berries growing up. As an adult, I’ve grown to appreciate them in-season in the summer months and stock them frozen in the winter months. Berries are low in sugar and chock-full of energy-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.

Year-round, I really love a cold, simple berry smoothie for breakfast. Want to give my favorite recipe a go? Blend a handful of fresh-picked berries, almond milk, pea protein (optional!), and ice until smooth and enjoy!

Do you have energy-boosting summer staples? Shoot me a DM on Instagram to tell me how you use them! Until then, be well.