If you are trying to incorporate Ayurvedic daily habits into your life, or trying to lose weight, or just want better overall health and energy, summer is a great to to start the habit of eating an earlier, lighter dinner.

Let’s first review why eating an earlier lighter dinner is so essential to optimum health.

  • Our digestion is strongest mid-day. Ayurveda has known this for thousands of years, and modern science is finally acknowledging it as well. In the evenings, our digestive system just doesn’t work as well.
  • We want our food to be completely digested by the time we go to bed. Sleep is the time we should be metabolizing nutrients, not digesting dinner.
  • We get better quality sleep when our bellies are not full, which, in turn, gives us better energy the next day.

If you’re used to eating a later, larger dinner, making the switch can be challenging. You might find yourself resistant to making this change. That’s normal. We’ve been making dinner our biggest meal of the day since the industrial revolution, so we’ve got a few generations of habit to break. My advice would be to give it a try. Make small, incremental changes, and see how you feel. As the quality of your sleep improves, and your weight balances and you feel better overall, you may find that you want to keep doing it.

Summer is a great time to start. When it’s hot, our appetites are naturally smaller and we have an abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables at our disposal. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Melon & prosciutto ( a classic! )
  • Steamed artichoke with butter & lemon
  • Nectarines & salami
  • Salad – any kind
  • Corn on the cob
  • Kohlrabi lobster. This idea came from my friend Jess. Lightly grill slices of kohlrabi and serve with drawn butter & lemon. Yum!
  • Grilled fruit. Yes, it’s a thing. Lightly grill just-ripe peaches, nectarines, melon. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Gazpacho. Those garden tomatoes will be ripening soon!
  • Zucchini noodles with pesto

It’s easier in the summer to move away from the protein + starch + vegetable model. You can easily leave out one or two. 

If you’re experimenting with intermittent fasting, summer is a great time to go down to two meals a day. Have you first meal between 9-11 am, and your second around 4. Then you’re free to go out an enjoy the summer evenings!

Remember, you don’t have to do this every day. And you don’t have to do it perfectly. Make it fit into your life in a way that seems easy and do-able.