It’s that time of the year again! Warmer weather is here, the sun is shining, and it’s time for beaches, traveling, and BBQs. Nothing is sweeter! However, these fun summer days can come with many food temptations. Below are some healthy eating hacks for your next beach day.
Hack #1: Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning can be the most effective and important part of your beach trip process. Below is a brief schedule of events that will aide your planning.
- About a week in advance: Take inventory of coolers, freezer packs, cutlery, and water bottles. What do you have on hand? These items will help to ensure that you keep everything cold on a hot summer day.
- A few days in advance: Plan out your menu. Think about what kind of meals and snacks you plan to bring throughout the day. Take inventory of what you have in your refrigerator/pantry. However, if you’re short on time, consider buying prepared snacks such as pre-cut apple slices, bell peppers or low-fat cheese slices.
- Night before: Prep away so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Stick a few extra water bottles in the freezer to be used as icepacks. You can sip on them throughout the beach day as they melt. Pro-tip: pack chip clips to close any opened bag of packaged snacks, like pretzels or baked potato chips, so they don’t get sandy or stale.
- Morning of: Pack everything up and hit the road. You’re going to have an awesome day! Don’t forget the SPF!
Hack #2: Build a Balanced Lunch:
Although buying food at a restaurant can always be an option, consider bringing lunch to help control your portion sizes, sodium and fat content. When thinking about packing a lunch for a beach day, gravitate towards items that have more fiber- these include fruits, vegetables, whole grains (popcorn, whole grain crackers, oats), legumes, nuts and seeds. Adding fiber to the meal will keep you full longer and help control blood sugar. When looking for whole grain bread/pasta, make sure the first word in the ingredients list has the word “whole”.
- Meal Idea: Rotisserie chicken sandwich on whole grain bread/wrap with vegetables: romaine lettuce, tomato, sliced cucumbers and a smear of hummus or mustard. To decrease the saturated fat in a sandwich, add avocado, hummus or thinly sliced low-fat cheese instead of mayo.
- Meal Idea: Pasta salad with 100% whole grain pasta, variety of vegetables: asparagus, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and chickpeas. Make with a homemade dressing: extra virgin olive oil and Italian dried spices.
Hack #3: Supplement with Snacks:
It’s always a good idea to bring snacks for the beach to decrease over consuming at mealtimes. To create satisfying snacks, reach for a variety of different textures and tastes. Similarly to a meal, pick out snacks which have more fiber to help keep you full longer.
- Sweet: Fresh seasonal fruit, no sugar added dried fruit, frozen grapes (wash and dry, place in Ziploc bag, and stick in the freezer the night before for a fun frozen “pop” of a frozen grape)
- Crunchy: SkinnyPop popcorn, carrot sticks with roasted pepper hummus, baked whole grain pita chips/whole grain crackers, pretzels, unsalted seeds/nuts
- Creamy: Hummus or guacamole with vegetable sticks, low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks
Hack #4: Don’t forget to Hydrate:
Laying on the beach may not seem strenuous, but it’s important to hydrate constantly. Even if you’re sitting in the shade, your body is still sweating and that sweat needs to be replenished.
- Incorporate water rich foods which can help you stay hydrated. Some of these food sources include watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (1 standard drink for women per day or 2 standard drinks for men per day), as alcohol is a diuretic and can worsen dehydration. Alternate between an alcoholic beverage and water to slow things down and keep water in your body.
- If you plan on doing any kind of strenuous workout at the beach (90 minutes or more) it might be beneficial to drink a sports drink to rehydrate. These sports drinks will help replenish electrolytes, water, and energy from your workout.
By utilizing some of these tips and tricks above, you’ll be set up for success on your next beach day. If you are interested in further discussing other ways to improve your diet, reach out to an Avance Care Registered Dietitian today!