From backyard barbecues to sunset cocktail hours, summer inspires creative ideas for celebrating with plenty of food and libations. And while this magical time of year might bring to mind indulgent, unhealthy comfort food, the trend, at least according to Pinterest, is actually just the opposite.
Here are 10 fun and good-for-you food trends we curated from the pin-friendly site. Each includes simple DIY tips for squeezing more foodie fun (and health perks) into those final summer outings and beyond. Check out the list and see how on trend you've been so far this summer.
1. Fruit Wine Slush
One of the savviest ways to keep your booze consumption in check is to extend a portion of alcohol with other healthful ingredients. The perfect companion? Antioxidant-packed fruit. Combine one glass of red, white or rosé (hello, frozé!) with one cup of frozen seasonal fruit like berries, watermelon, peach or plums in a blender. To dilute your cocktail more, add some ice and lemon water. While it's true that you've added some calories, you've also added a slew of nutrients, with no refined sugar. And you've stretched that one 5-ounce serving of vino, so you can enjoy more than one glass if you're extra thirsty. Cheers to that!
Up next: You'll never have a sub-par picnic again with this next trend.
2. Mason Jar Salad
Planning a picnic is an art form. Rather than making a run-of-the-mill pasta salad and scooping it out of a Tupperware, pack a Pinterest-approved summer salad in a jar. Place a handful of greens in a Mason jar and top with chopped veggies like cucumber, bell pepper, sliced grape tomatoes, red onion and shredded summer squash. Add a lean protein, such as beans, salmon or chicken salad, and a small scoop of a good carbohydrate, such as cooked, chilled quinoa or sweet potato. Top it all off with a healthy dressing like tahini, guacamole or pesto and seal it up. Keep it in the cooler and shake just before opening.
Up next: At your next party, guests will swoon over this clever drink addition.
3. Water Bars
Soda is out, according to Fortune magazine: Sales for both regular and diet have fallen to a 30-year low. That's a good thing, because reports on both types of soda have linked the fizzy stuff to potential health consequences like infertility, stroke, dementia, increased belly fat, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
But, let's face it, plain water can be pretty blah. If you want to keep sodas off your summertime menus, but keep your guest's interest, create a fancy water bar. Grab a couple of pitchers and fill each with ice, filtered water and various combinations of sliced vegetables or slightly mashed, in-season fruit, along with herbs and spices. Crowd-pleasing combinations include cucumber, lemon and mint; basil, blueberries and lime; and peach, ginger and cinnamon.
Up next: This double-duty trend provides both wholesome nibbles and lovely table decor.
4. Edible Arrangements
Historically, pre-meal staples at summer get-togethers included chips and dip or cheese and crackers. A handful of potato chips and a quarter-cup of French onion dip adds up to nearly 300 calories, between 150 and 200 calories shy of what most women are recommended to eat for an entire meal. Two ounces of cheddar cheese and just four crackers clocks in at 295 calories.
In this era of clean eating, whole, fresh foods are replacing processed fare, and they can serve as both decoration and appetizer. To make an edible arrangement, cover a cloth table runner with colorful, washed, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables accented by fresh herbs like mint and basil in miniature pots. Don't forget to add edible flowers, which you can usually find in the produce section of your local market.
Up next: This trend will supercharge your morning coffee.
5. Iced Super Coffee
According to a recent report by Fortune, 62 percent of Americans are drinking coffee daily. Fortunately, a cup of java offers some pretty significant health perks, such as lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes and protection against Parkinson's disease. The trouble is, many people doctor up their cups with refined sugar or artificial sweeteners and industrial dairy.
Enter super coffee, a coffee that is mixed with healthy ingredients and superfoods. There's no one way to make it, but super coffee essentially involves blending brewed coffee with ice and add-ins like plant milk, turmeric and black pepper, fresh ginger root and even freeze-dried plant powders, ranging from beet to spirulina.
Up next: This is the protein of the summer.
6. Plant Protein
According to Mintel, more than a third of American consumers now buy plant-based meals despite not being vegetarian, and that number surges to 60 percent among millennials, according to QSR magazine. Concerns about the environment, animal welfare and chemicals used in animal food production are driving these record-breaking numbers.
To embrace the trend yourself, swap the meat in some of your meals for pulses, the umbrella term for beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas. It is the food group that packs the most significant plant-protein punch. In addition to easy black bean tacos, you can whip up homemade hummus. Or toss together a simple chilled lentil salad with minced red onion, sliced grape tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and fresh basil.
Up next: This trend may replace your usual happy hour go-to.
As Americans become more attuned to the long-term health consequences of alcohol — heart disease, stroke, liver disease, cancer, depression and anxiety — mocktails, or virgin cocktails, are having a moment.
To embrace this trend, think beyond sparkling water with lime. Combine unique superfood ingredients and have fun getting creative with your concoctions. Start with a base of brewed green tea, coconut water, celery juice, kombucha, matcha, cold brew or even aquafaba, then add juices and herbs. One of our favorites? Combine aquafaba with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice (we like pomegranate) and add fresh ginger and mint. If you need extra sweetness, stir in a teaspoon of honey, or for a tart finish, add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Up next: This popular "health" trend may not always be kind to your waistline.
8. Vegan Desserts
Vegan foods have officially gone from fringe to mainstream. But not all vegan desserts are created equal. The truth is that substitutions like flax for eggs, plant milk for dairy and coconut oil for butter sometimes end up raising calories. First things first: When buying premade vegan goodies, always read the ingredient list. If a product is made with refined white flour and sugar and chemical-sounding additives, skip it. Look for all-natural treats made with ingredients you recognize and that read like a recipe you could have actually made yourself.
Or craft your own vegan ice cream by mixing unsweetened creamy plant milk with a small ripe banana, a drizzle of maple syrup, a dollop of either coconut butter, nut butter or tahini, and a bit of pure vanilla extract. After blending, fold in some mix-ins, such as chopped fruit, chopped dark chocolate and spices like ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Transfer to molds or cups and freeze.
Up next: This trend helps nurture the healthy bacteria in your body.
9. Gut-Friendly Grub
More and more research is pointing to the importance of the connection between overall health and the makeup of the gut microbiome, the trillions of microbes found within the human digestive tract. And harboring the right types and amounts of beneficial bacteria in the GI tract have been tied to weight management, heart protection, blood sugar regulation, positive mental health, stronger immunity and anti-inflammation.
Using foods to foster a healthy microbiome is very much in fashion. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to accomplish. The first step is to eat more plant foods that contain prebiotics (these serve as food for good probiotic bacteria, which allows them to flourish). Top choices include Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, asparagus, onions, chicory root, dandelion greens, leeks, bananas and apples. Next, incorporate more fermented foods, which contain beneficial bacteria. Some healthy and trendy options include "live" sauerkraut and other fermented veggies as well as kefir and plant-based yogurts with live active cultures.
Up next: This food trend highlights dishes from an exotic locale.
10. Moroccan Dishes
This year's go-to cuisine is Moroccan, and for good reason. You've surely heard about the anti-inflammatory power of turmeric, particularly when combined with black pepper, but the wide array of spices in Moroccan cooking is also beneficial for health. Spices are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to potentially protect the brain and the heart health, reduce blood pressure, fend off cancer and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
To spice things up Moroccan-style, sprinkle spice combinations onto cauliflower or potatoes cooked in foil on the grill. For Moroccan hummus, blend lemon juice, garlic, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and paprika with the chickpeas. For a simple side dish, toss shredded raw carrots with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and ginger. For more Moroccan flare, serve chilled mint tea and "avocado juice" made from avocado blended with almond milk, a bit of almond flour or whole almonds and a few pitted dates.
Read this now: 10 Healthy Popsicle Recipes Under 200 Calories
What Do YOU Think?
Which food trends have you embraced this summer that have resulted in upping your nutrition game? Share the ways Pinterest inspires you to live your best life by leaving a comment below. Your experience may help motivate and inspire others!