The sun, the sand and a healthy snack in your hand—the perfect ingredients for a day at the beach. But since the beach lacks some of the amenities we have access to at home, it’s vital that we prep for our active day ahead with healthy eats to sustain us through the waves, rays and days with the kiddos.
The last thing you want to do is be stranded in the sand without sustenance, having to resort to the greasy, calorie-laden boardwalk fare like pizza and french fries. So prep like the beach pro you were born to be by packing the party for a healthy, happy day by the water’s edge. Here’s how:
Choose your cooler wisely.
Think of your cooler as Mary Poppins’ beach bag of tricks. It should be insulated, filled with ice packs, and big enough to fit a day’s worth of food for just you or your crew, too. The best way to ensure you’ll have a healthy beach trip is to bring healthy options with you. So make sure you have a cooler that will hold all of your good-for-you goodies.
Focus on hydration.
Being out in the elements and the sizzling sun can do a number on your hydration. That’s why packing plenty of fluids is essential to your day. To stay ahead of the game, freeze some water bottles the night before so they stay cool throughout the day. Or pack a big jug with water, ice and your favorite fruit for flavor. Try adding lemon, lime, orange or a berry medley for a delicious twist sure to quench your thirst. Skip the sugary sodas and juices and avoid the booze as it doesn’t play well with an unpredictable ocean (the lifeguards will thank you!).
Fill up on fruit.
Fruit is your friend at the beach. Not only is it delicious and nutritious but many varieties contain a high water content that will aid in your hydration game. Watermelon and strawberries are 92 percent water while cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, cranberries, raspberries and oranges contain at least 87 percent water—talk about doing double weight loss duty. Our favorite fruit snack? Frozen grapes. They’re a perfect pop-able, portable beach day snack.
Speaking of snacks… Keep the menu simple and nutritionally well-rounded with single serving portions and pre-cut options like carrot or pepper sticks. Pack no fuss, no utensil foods like low-sodium turkey wraps or hummus and veggies in pita pockets that can easily be eaten with one hand. Nutrisystem Fudge Brownies are the perfect alternative to your ice cream truck favorite or the box of cookies typically thrown in a beach bag. Your meals should be able to survive time in the cooler and power you through your day.
Holistically speaking, health goes beyond what you put in your body. Protecting your skin from the harmful rays should be priority number one, so pack plenty broad spectrum sunscreen (remember to lather often), a wide brim hat to shield your face, and extra clothes for when you want to cover up your skin during the peak sun hours. Get the ABCs of sunscreen here.