Healthy Snacks for a Day at the Beach
About 2 hours into my first day on the beach this summer I realized I had not planned well. The ice cream man began ringing his bell which automatically triggered my hunger. I dug through my beach bag and found nothing resembling food. After taking a swig of warm water from my half-filled water bottle I realized I needed to plan a bit better for my next day in the sun.
It’s easy to crave to junk food when on vacation or stranded on the beach for several hours. For me, packing healthy snacks is the way to go especially because the last thing I want is to feel bloated or sluggish in my bikini. Here are my picks for beach-friendly snacks that can translate easily into options for any outdoor outing this summer.
Dried fruit and nuts is possibly the perfect nutritional combination for your day at the beach. The great thing about trail mix is it’s totally customizable. Toss together your favorite unsalted nuts, dried fruits and seeds or whatever else you can dream up, and you have an instant healthy snack. This perfect pairing of carbohydrates and protein is also packed with nutrients like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Looking for convenience? Grab a KIND bar which is basically no-fuss portable trail mix in bar form. Avoid those that contain chocolate on a super hot day (likewise for adding chocolate to your homemade trail mix); it can get messy fast.
The best choices are citrus fruits, watermelon, blue or purple berries, mango and apricot. Why? All of these fruits have phytochemicals that can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays. While this doesn’t mean you're free to skimp on the sunscreen, it may give you the extra boost you need to stay safe in the sun. On top of their protective properties, many fruits are in season throughout the summer and are the perfect healthy and refreshing snack.
Can’t decide between sweet and salty? Want something easy that will fill you up? A banana with peanut butter will do the trick. Bananas are loaded with potassium as well vitamins B6 and C. Add some peanut butter to the mix: slather it right onto a banana, or enjoy this heavenly combination on a slice of whole-grain bread and you’ll be ready to ride waves all day.
Cut up some carrots, red bell pepper and broccoli to bring to the beach. As you may know, they are packed with vitamins and minerals to keep your body strong and healthy. What you may not know is that all these vegetables can also help protect your skin from the sun, so they are perfect companions for a day at the beach. Plus, veggies are a great source of water which will help to keep you hydrated. Not into veggies on their own? Pack a tasty bean dip like hummus or low-fat dressing for dipping and you’ll be set for fun in the sun.
Shelled or un-shelled, this bean is the perfect snack for the sand. Rich in fiber, protein (½ cup has the same amount of protein as 2 eggs) and energy-boosting carbs, this tiny green legume is great for noshing in and out of the sun. Pack frozen edamame in your beach bag and they will be ready to go come snack time.
It’s always important to stay hydrated when out in the sun but calories from beverages can add up quickly. For some of us, water is just not tasty enough. Try adding slices of cucumber, citrus or even melon to water with herbs like mint to add some pizzazz. Still bored? A quick, easy and healthy solution is iced tea. You can cold brew it at home and customize it, too. Try adding lemon, honey or ginger for some extra flavor. Plus, both green and black teas, like certain fruits, help protect your skin from UV rays, making it an ideal beach beverage. Not in the mood to brew? I love Honest Tea; there are many low- or no-calorie options in a few fun flavors.
Sure, you can toss a few snacks into your beach bag, but for a full day at the beach these are my cooler must-haves to keep you going. Pack a few light cheese options like low-fat string cheese (Trader Joes has a new fresh mozzarella cheese stick -- yum!), Laughing Cow wedges or Baby-Bel minis. They're perfect for pairing with a piece of fruit. Snuggle a container of Greek yogurt up next to a frozen water bottle to keep it cool till you're ready for a mid-day snack.