by Tracey Pollack
Beach days are swimming with sea, sun and sand, but the fried foods and sugary sweets sold at concession stands can make you feel sluggish in your swimsuit. Have some healthy fun in the sun by packing your beach bag with plenty of wholesome snacks and meals. Check out these light, refreshing beach bites to keep you coasting along all day.
See Why Fresh Fruit is Appealing
Quench your thirst and your appetite for a refreshing, healthy snack by bringing fresh fruit to the beach. Watermelon, grapes, oranges, berries, cantaloupe, mango and papaya are full of fiber that helps you stay full, while their high water content keeps you hydrated in the sun. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fruit is also brimming with phytochemicals that help protect your skin from harmful UV rays. And fruit’s natural sweetness helps you resist the sweet sound of the ice cream man.
Go for a Dip with Hummus
We’re spilling the beans on a hip dip that’s perfect for a day at the beach. Hummus is a creamy Mediterranean mainstay made with crushed chickpeas mixed with olive oil and a sesame seed spread called tahini. This plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan blend makes a delicious dip for fresh veggies and whole-grain crackers, as well as a sensational sandwich spread and salad topping ideal for many diets. Full of fiber and protein, hummus is a healthier choice than dips made with mayonnaise and sour cream, plus it can safely stay out in the sun. Pack some hummus in your beach bag and go skinny-dipping this summer!
Give Classic PB&J a Fresh & Nutty Twist
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a true taste of childhood, but now that you’ve grown up, your sandwich should, too. Break out of your shell and try some of the newer nut butters made from almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamias, pistachios or a nutty mix of many. Full of healthy fats, protein and fiber, nut butters help fill you up and give you lots of energy for hours of fun in the sun. And while you’re going nuts with your sandwich spread, freshen up the rest of your sandwich by trading high-sugar jams and jellies for fresh slices of banana, smashed strawberries, whole raspberries, juicy blueberries or sun-sweet chunks of peaches. With a few simple swaps, you’ll have a better butter sandwich that makes a healthy snack in the sand.
Try a Chip Off the Old Block
Why grab a bag of greasy potato chips before heading off to the beach when there’s a better and healthier ways to get the crunch you crave? Cash in your usual chips for homemade kale chips, zucchini chips, beet chips or spinach chips. Packed with essential nutrients and a satisfying crunch, they’re an ideal alternative to the high-fat, deep-fried favorite. While you can find these veggie varieties already packaged in grocery stores, you’ll save money, fat and calories by baking your own at home with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once you taste their salty crunch, you’ll flip for these healthier chips.
Take Your Salads Against the Grain
A salad can be a light and healthy beach bite, but leafy greens won’t fill you up for long and creamy dressings can’t stand up to the sun. Rather than toss aside your healthy intentions, make your salad into a hearty, healthy meal with the whole grain goodness of quinoa, farro, couscous, barley, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Today, grain-based salads are having their moment in the sun because their nutty, chewy texture makes a light salad much more substantial and satisfying. When tossed with veggies, fruits and a drizzle of oil-based dressing, these salads make a meal that’s ripe and ready for the beach.
Bring these healthy bites to the beach to survive a wave of hunger and have plenty of energy to do everything under the sun.