It’s officially beach season! That means time outside in the sunshine, relaxing with your toes in the stand and…yucky snack stand food. Don’t get caught unprepared the next time you head to the ocean. Make sure that you think ahead and bring along your favorite healthy snacks with you on your next trip so you’re not stuck in your chair chomping on something you’ll regret later.
“It’s important to plan ahead,” Ailsa Cowell, integrative nutritionist and creator of healthy food blog Food to Feel Good, says. “I’m always thinking about what quick snacks I can bring along with me. That way I’m not getting there and then realizing I’m really hungry [and caught off guard].”
Cowell also notes that when you’re spending time outdoors it’s key that you stay hydrated.
“One thing I recommend is staying hydrated,” she says. “It’s easy to confuse hunger with just being thirsty. I like to put lemon and lime slices [in water] that way you’re getting electrolytes as well.”
Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist and multi-time New York Times best-selling author of the Beauty Detox book series and Radical Beauty, says there are some general guidelines for which foods to grab.
“I would suggest eating something fresh and easy to digest like fruit – but if you do, be sure to eat it on an empty stomach, so it digests clean and doesn’t sit at the top of your stomach and ferment with heavier foods you may have eaten for lunch that day,” she says. “By the way, most people eat way too much protein, and excess protein is heavy as it takes a lot of energy to digest. Fiber is a better barometer of what I look for, which is a natural blood sugar stabilizer, energizer and filling without having to obsess over calories. Only whole plant foods contain fiber.”
Here are some healthy options you can toss into your beach bag.
Toasted coconut chips
“It’s an awesome crunchy snack, and it’s so easy to grab the bag and go,” Cowell says, adding that she recommends the ones from Dang. She points out that the combination of healthy fat and fiber will keep you satiated long after you’ve finished eating. “You don’t really need a lot of to feel like you got your fill,” she says.
This snack gets bonus points for convenience. Forgot your food at home? No worries, you can pick raw nuts up nearly anywhere! “They’re high in protein and they’re filling,” Cowell says, which means you have plenty of energy for body surfing!
Pre cut veggies
Now just because you’re having a packaged snack, doesn’t mean that you automatically have to go for the processed stuff. Pre-cut vegetables mean you still have the convenience factor without resorting to something unhealthy. Cowell recommends a bag of sugar snap peas, which is “really fresh and refreshing” or opting for pre-cut celery or cucumbers. “My biggest go-to snack would be vegetables,” she says. “That’s always a healthy option.”
Snyder recommends avoiding traditional chips. “Your body expends energy keeping yourself cooled down,” she says. “I wouldn’t eat anything that would weigh you with fried oils, such as potato or corn chips (plus you’ll oftentimes just feel guilty and gross).” Instead, opt for kale chips. “You can try the Alive and Radiant brand, which are crunchy or tasty or making your own. I have a delish Cheesy Calcutta Kale Chips recipe you can try. Not only are they yummy, but they won’t make you feel overly bloated or heavy from eating chips laden with tons of vegetable oils (which are terrible for your skin). Takes a little planning ahead…but try to make a big, huge batch whenever you get around to it!”
On the hunt for something to satisfy your hankering for barbecue or ranch chips? You can always try nutrient-packed peas like these from World Peas as an alternative to unhealthier packaged fare.
There are some fruit options that travel extremely easily, and one of the most commonly eaten fruits is one of them. “I’m also a big fan of apples at the beach,” Snyder says. “You can eat them slowly, enjoying each bite. They are full of hydrating water, plus filling fiber and beauty vitamins. Be sure to eat them on an empty stomach. So for [the] best Beauty Food Pairing/Food combining (to avoid bloat), I would eat them first, then wait 25 minutes before eating [some] nuts or granola.”