Whether you grew up just a few miles from the sea and sand or enjoy the beach’s brilliance on holidays, there’s something about the ocean air that makes eating inevitable. My brother and I viewed snacks by the surf, in fact, as a required element in trips to the beach (sort of like sand in your swimsuit but much more fun!).
The problem with most snacks available at beachside cafes, food bars and convenience stores: They’re high in calories, sugar, white flour and saturated fats, all of which belong on the “red light – avoid” list for a healthy diet! The solution: Stock up on family-pleasing treats before you head out to enjoy the sun, surf and sand. This summer, we recommend these swaps for common beach snacks:
- Forget the French fries and potato chips. Try Freshly Wild Superfoods Kale Joy; Flamous Falafel Chips, which are organic and gluten free, and Eden Foods Vegetable Chips.
- Just say no to hot dogs and hamburgers, which typically are fried in fat and topped with condiments containing more fat. Instead, enjoy nitrate-free, all natural Golden Valley Turkey Jerky. If you have a cooler, pack low-fat string cheese, which are great treats for kids.
- We’ve all seen (and been tempted by) stores selling freshly baked cookies as big as a baby’s head. They’re made with white flour, white sugar, excessive amounts of margarine and, as a result, contain more calories than your body needs for a “snack!” Pack healthy cookies, such as Newman’s Own Organics Fig Newmans or Joseph’s Sugar-Free Pecan Shortbread.
- Taking fresh fruit is great. But the problem with kids: A tendency to take one bite, then put it down, where that expensive organic pear attracts bees, ants, wasps and whimpers of “Mom, Dad, help!” Instead, try creating mini snack bags of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. A favorite for every member of the family: Trail mix, such as Best Of All Organic Trail Mix.
- Cut-up carrots, celery and cucumbers, along with tiny tomatoes, make great beach snacks. To replace the usual creamy dips that have to be refrigerated, try salsa, such as Green Mountain Gringo Mild Salsa.
- Did someone say soda? Try Zevia, which has no calories or artificial sweeteners but delicious flavors like Grapefruit Citrus. Also perfect to take to the beach: Zero-calorie Steaz Green Tea in flavors such as peach mango.
- We know it’s called salt water taffy – but that doesn’t mean it’s required nibbling when you’re by the sea! Skip that sticky sweet stuff and substitute sugar-free chocolate bars, such as NuGo Nutrition Smarte Carb® Sugar Free Bars in flavors such as chocolate cherry.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.