Healthy Beach Eats

Pappas_AbWhat’s better than grabbing some friends and heading to the Hamptons for a beach day? With the beautiful weather among us, the weekends are filled with trips out east and opportunities to enjoy the scenic beaches that Long Island has to offer.

If you forget to pack food for your beach excursion, it can be tempting to purchase snacks at the beachside food truck or local fast-food spot. However, planning ahead and putting together a few quick snacks the night before can make a huge difference when it comes to your health.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite healthy snacks that are perfect for your beach getaway. You’ll notice that all of these foods don’t require utensils. When you are lounging at the beach, you want something that is easy and light. These healthy “finger-foods” are simple, easy to prepare, and kid-friendly.

Another important concept when it comes to beach eats is single-serving portions. If you’re reading a magazine on the beach or catching up with family and friends, you may not be paying attention to your meal. Snacking while you are distracted can contribute to overeating, so it’s important to emphasize portion control and choose single-serving snacks when you can.

When you grab your beach snack, take a second and sit down while you enjoy your food. Avoid leaving an open bag of snacks next to your chair, and always eat mindfully and sensibly. Don’t forget to stay active on your exciting beach day.

Take 15 minutes the night before to assemble these snacks in a cooler or insulated bag, and you’ll be good to go. Now, here are my top healthy beach eats:

Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap with Low-Sodium Turkey Breast

Whole wheat tortilla wraps are a healthy alternative to the classic sandwich. More importantly, they hold their shape much better than regular bread, and often won’t get as soggy in transit to the beach. Low sodium turkey-breast is a light alternative, and adding some fresh veggies to this wrap can add a nutritious crunch. Choose vegetables that hold their shape well, such as red peppers or sugar snap peas. If you want to add tomatoes or light dressing, be sure to pack these on the side so the wrap doesn’t get soggy.

jicamaguacJicama Sticks & Single-Serve Guacamole

Guacamole is packed with healthy mono-unsaturated fats, fiber, and several vitamins. Instead of enjoying this snack with chips, try cutting up some fresh vegetables. Jicama, in particular, is a very low-calorie root vegetable that pairs well with guacamole. Peel and slice the jicama, and portion the jicama sticks into small sandwich bags. Throw this into a cooler with single-serving guacamole containers, and you have the perfect nutritious snack.

Apple Slices & Single-Serve Peanut Butter Packets

Adding a protein, such as peanut butter, when eating fruit can help stabilize blood sugar levels and leave you feeling satiated. Several brands now make single-serving peanut butter packets that are perfect when you are on-the-go. Slice a few apples, squeeze some lemon juice on them to retain their freshness, and pack your peanut butter packets for a filling snack.

Single-Serve Light Popcorn Bags

Popcorn is an easy and simple beach eat. Avoid buttery popcorn varieties that rack up excess sodium. Stick with very lightly salted popcorn that is already popped and individually portioned. Popcorn makes for a light, fiber-packed, nutritious snack.

Fruit-Infused Water

When you are enjoying your time at the beach, it’s easy to forget about hydration. Fruit-infused water is a fun and flavorful way to make hydration easier and enjoyable. Fill your favorite water bottle about ¾ of the way, and then add fresh cut or frozen fruit of your choice.

Some refreshing combinations include:

• Blackberries with lemon and mint
• Strawberries with cucumber and lime
• Orange with blueberries and basil

Enjoy these delicious and healthy beach eats. Make the most of your summer, and always make your health a top priority.

PappasHeadsotStefani Pappas, CPT, CWMS is a nutritionist pursuing a career as a registered dietitian. She is a personal trainer, Equinox fitness instructor and contributing writer for Elite Daily.

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Stefani Pappas Sassos
Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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