The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and thanks to the warm weather, your social life has probably gotten a boost. Between weekend barbecues and margarita-filled happy hours, summer is a delicious time to be alive. But if you're trying to lose weight, it can feel like you either need to become a hermit to avoid all temptation or indulge so much that your weight-loss progress gets way off track. But plenty of foods that are either in season during summer or just feel like they have a summer-y essence taste good and can keep you on the path to weight loss. Here, registered dietitians share 10 of their favorites.
Although plain ol' water is nice, this fruit is a much tastier way to combat summertime thirst. "Watermelon is a great natural hydrator because of its high water content," Shannon Garcia, M.D.S., R.D., L.D. with KISS In The Kitchen, tells SELF. Plus, it gets its gorgeous color from the antioxidant lycopene. You can dive into watermelon slices all on their own, but you can also make a great faux-margarita by blending the fruit with some ice and a little orange zest, says Garcia.
If you don't eat sufficient amounts of protein, you won't make it through the day without feeling ravenous. "Shrimp are a great source of protein while also being light and refreshing during hot summer days and nights," Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., founder of the New York-based BZ Nutrition, tells SELF. While fried shrimp can be the perfect indulgence, Zeitlin recommends opting for roasted, grilled, or sauteed versions if you're trying to lose weight.
3. A fancy alcohol-free mocktail
Though you can still lose weight without giving up alcohol, booze doesn't exactly promote weight loss. So when Garcia's clients are abstaining, she encourages them to make fun alcohol-free mocktails so they don't feel like they're missing out or give into the lure of exciting alcoholic beverages.
I recently combined muddled blackberries, seltzer, and lime juice, with a pretty delicious result. All I was missing was some rosemary or thyme, and I would have basically had a cocktail on my hands. For the nostalgia factor, you could even pour your concoction into popsicle molds and enjoy the frozen version, says Garcia.
This is one of Zeitlin's summertime favorites. "[Gazpacho] is loaded with veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, and onions," she says. "All that fiber will fill you up quickly and keep you full longer, plus it's so light and refreshing thanks to its cold temperature."
This vegetable serves up some filling fiber, and better yet, it's versatile. "Like tofu, it can take on other flavors, and it also gives a satisfying crunch," says Garcia. Translation: Jicama sticks make a great substitute for potato chips. Garcia recommends springing for the more expensive pre-cut version if you're able: "I'm not going to lie, it's the most annoying thing to peel!"
These green and yellow beauties also go by the very apt name "summer squash." "Zucchini is packed with fiber to help you resist over-snacking between meals," says Zeitlin. They also contain plenty of water, boosting their filling powers even more. Zeitlin recommends throwing some onto the grill or using them as "pasta" for a low-carb dinner.
8. Lemons and limes
These members of the citrus family can add major flavor without a ton of calories. "In my opinion, fiber, protein, and flavor are the three biggest keys to achieving weight-loss," says Garcia. "Fiber and protein keep you full, but flavor is what helps you enjoy your food." Spritzing some lemon or lime onto a salad can make it easier to cut back on sodium- or fat-loaded dressings.
9. Fruit- and herb-infused water
Garcia has a genius 32-oz water bottle that comes complete with a fruit infuser. "A few times a week, I'll do some combination like strawberry and lemon or blueberry and mint. It's silly, but I feel kind of fancy when I'm drinking, which is great motivation to stay hydrated," she says.
10. Grilled peaches, pineapple, and mangoes
While the veggie version is a no-brainer during summer, fruits also have great grilling potential. "Peaches, pineapple, and mangoes are my favorite for grilling," says Garcia. "They're so sweet that when you put them on the grill, the natural sugars caramelize and take the flavor to a whole other level. It's the perfect, summer-y swap for any dessert."
This article originally appeared on SELF.