Summer is right around the corner and a lot of us are emerging out of our winter hibernation with a few extra pounds. But summer is right around the corner and we all gotta get back on it. When embarking on a “diet,” the supermarket can become a little overwhelming. Everything is either too healthy or too fattening, and you just want balance.

You want to walk out of there feeling proud and excited about your choices. Here’s how to do some healthy grocery shopping to find foods that not only taste good, but will help you along your journey back to a bod you’re proud of.

The first rule of grocery shopping is to stay on the edges. That means the produce section, fresh meats, and the dairy and eggs aisles.

Fruit

Berries

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Photo by Hannah Lin

Berries are your best friend. They are the lowest in sugar of all fruits, and although we love our pineapple and mango, they have a super high sugar content which you’ll wanna avoid eating on an everyday basis.

Kiwi

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Photo by Caroline Liu

Also in the berry family, but kiwi totally deserves its own shout out. They have more Vitamin C than oranges and are rich in Vitamin E. And fun fact, you can eat that hairy skin, too – it’s packed with even more nutrients than the inside of the fruit. We’re not sure about the taste, but anything’s worth at least one try. Except drugs – just don’t try those.

Watermelon

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Photo by Kathleen Lee

Another great fruit that embodies summer is watermelon. It is 90% water so it’s extremely hydrating, plus it’s delicious. You can also add it to a blender to make a yummy watermelon slushie. Ice, ice baby.

Zucchini

Photo by Kirtby Barth

Photo by Kirtby Barth

Yes, zucchini is a summer fruit, not a vegetable. It’s great lightly sautéed or even as a pasta base, so go ahead and take those tortellini shells out your cart. Make a healthy snack and try this zucchini chip recipe instead.

Avocado

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Photo by Paige Twombly

Don’t worry, I won’t leave avocado off the list. We all love ’em, even if they cost extra at Chipotle. They are loaded with good fats, so go ahead and get a few. Add them to your salad, smoothie, or just eat it straight like a boss.

Vegetables

Fresh Corn

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Photo courtesy of eatandrelish.com

Corn is a great summer veggie. Since it’s a starch, it’s still super filling without all the carbs. Also, opt for yellow corn over white corn – it’s richer in Vitamin A, which is the  stuff that helps you see. Try your hand at this delicious summer Mexican corn salad.

Leafy Greens

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Photo by Lily Allen

As the kale trend is slowing down, this summer is a great time to introduce new leafy greens into your diet. There has been new research showing that there are tons of greens way higher in nutrients than kale.

Spinach, beet greens, and chard are all great choices and will still give you that nice crunch that we all love when grubbin’ on a salad. Try this spinach salad and chomp away.

Sweet Potatoes

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Photo by Lily Allen

Sweet potatoes are great vegetables that will fill you up and leave you satisfied. They’re rich in beta-carotene and are super versatile – there are a bunch of ways to cook ’em. Try out this healthy sweet potato fries recipe and thank us later.

Edamame

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Edamame is a great snack, and one cup has 17 grams of protein and only 189 calories. These babies are addicting too, but try to limit yourself to a cup. Unless you’re trying to bulk up.

Meat

For meats, you want to stick to the leanest forms that are low in fat and high in protein. Everyone has their preference for what meat they like, but beef and pork are the ones you want to avoid since they’re gonna be the highest in calories.

Chicken

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Photo courtesy of allbakedchickenbreastrecipes.com

Opt for the breast. It has the least dark meat, which is where all of the chicken fat is. Although we love anything that gives our chicken some flavor, now is not the time. Check out this chicken recipe you can try for dinner tonight and start eating your way to your summer bod.

Fish

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Photo by Grégoire Durand

Salmon and Mahi-Mahi are great choices they are both rich in vitamins, high in protein, and low in fat. Mahi-Mahi actually has fewer calories and a lighter taste than salmon for those days you’re feeling so fresh and so clean, clean. Here’s a light and simple mahi-mahi recipe to try out.

Turkey

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Photo courtesy of galleryhip.com.

Turkey breast is also a good choice. If you get tired of the chicken taste, turkey is a great alternative to switch it up. Try out these crock-o-tacos with turkey. Tuesdays will never be the same.

Red Meat

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Photo courtesy of normalcooking.com

If you just have a craving for red meat, opt for a sirloin steak or pork tenderloin since they’re the leanest cuts. Learn how to make this mouth-watering Peruvian beef stir fry. Nom.

Dairy

Buttermilk

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Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.rog

Even though it doesn’t have the best taste, buttermilk is actually really good for you. It can help you lose weight and is rich in calcium, potassium, and zinc. It’s great to marinade your meat in for a nice, tender texture.

It’s also good for soup basesso you don’t have to use heavy cream. This no-cook tomato buttermilk soup is a simple yet delicious recipe to try.

Plain, Non-fat Greek Yogurt

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Photo by Amanda Gajdosik

Greek yogurt is also a good snack choice. Instead of getting a pre-packaged Greek yogurt with sugar enhanced fruit, add your own fresh fruit with a little bit of honey. Also, try to go light on the granola, if you eat any at all. Greek yogurt already has a loaded good carb content and granola would just be those extra carbs you’re trying to stay away from. Try this parfait with blackberry chia sauce.

Eggs

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Photo by Parisa Soraya

Eggs are delicious and can be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are a quick energy source and are supa versatile. Here’s a great way to incorporate eggs into your dinner with this asparagus, lentil, and fried egg recipe.

Dry Foods and Nuts

Quinoa

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Photo by Julia Maguire

Quinoa is rich in protein and can be used in a number of ways. It’s a great substitute for rice in a lot of dishes, plus you can add it in on top of your salad to give it some texture. Check out this yummy quinoa salad recipe.

Beans

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Photo by Sally Zhang

Beans are anti-paleo, but they’re delicious, so who cares (unless you’re paleo…). They’re high in iron and protein, plus they’re bomb in summer dishes. Make this black bean taco salad.

Lentils

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Photo by Becky Hughes

Lentils are great legumes to try out. They are cheap, last a really long time, and are good for you. You can even make this lentil hummus. Every college kid’s healthy dream. Wait, do we even have those?

Nuts

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Photo by Stephanie Lee

Not all two nuts are the same. Some of them are delicious but have loads of fat. If you want the most nutrients out of your nuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios are the way to go. Just make sure they’re raw and not covered in a ton of salt. I know, get your tears out of the way now. Feel free to throw them in your yogurt or even add them to your smoothie for a nutty flavor. It sounds strange, but you won’t be disappointed.

Drinks

Iced Tea

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Photo courtesy of Jen Collins

Iced tea is a great refreshing drink. Try using  black tea or green tea for added energy. Also, instead of using sugar, opt for none, or substitute for a little bit of honey, coconut oil, or stevia. It’s not gonna be like your favorite sweet southern tea, but we’re older now. It’s all about moderation… sorta.

Kombucha

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Photo by Kavitha George

Kombucha drinks are full of antioxidants and probiotics your body needs to maintain healthy energy levels without giving you that caffeine crash you get with coffee. Plus, they have tons of vitamins – last thing you want is a summer/spring cold. Allergies suck enough as is.

Coconut Water

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Photo Credit: Gabbi Phi

Coconut water is a great drink if you want something a little sweet and jam packed with electrolytes, perfect as a post-workout treat. Opt for raw coconut water – it’s got more nutrients and taste 10 times better than the processed stuff.

Matcha

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Photo courtesy of teelade.ch

Hands down the best secret weapon to energy and weight loss. Matcha is everything. It is a little pricey and you won’t be able to find it at every supermarket, but if you see it, get it. If you want to experiment try out this frozen matcha smoothie. #instaworthy

Water

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Photography by Laura Palladino

As you probably know, it’s really important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Add lemon or fruits to give your water an extra boost to help your body detox and what not. Sometimes when we’re hungry, we’re actually craving water. Wish we knew that freshman year…

These are just a few whole foods that can get you started on your summer diet. Some of these foods might not be your favorite, but that’s okay. It’s all about trial and error to find what you like and how you like to prepare them.

Being healthy shouldn’t be a chore so switch up your meals and try to make it as fun as possible. We know it’s not pizza, but you can pretend. Good luck.