When the sun is shining and temperatures soar, a day at the beach is a perfect way to beat the heat and spend some quality time with the kids. Since all of that playing and swimming is bound to work up an appetite, you want to pack a picnic lunch that is satisfying, healthy and easy to eat, instead of paying high prices for greasy, salty food at the snack bar.
Soggy sandwiches and sand in your food can take some of the fun out of your day at the beach. While you may not be able to completely avoid a few grains of sand in your lunch, you can avoid the dreaded soggy sandwich. Instead of regular sandwich bread, add deli meats and cheese to pita bread, wraps or bulkie rolls that will hold up to condiments and the moist environment of the cooler. Avoid packing sandwiches with mayonnaise-based salads, such as tuna or chicken. Not only do those sandwiches tend to get soggy, you also introduce the possibility of bacteria and unsafe food when mayo isn't stored at the proper temperature.
Spending time in the sun can cause dehydration, so pack plenty of drinks. Skip the soda with high-sugar in favor of water, lemonade or sugar-free juice; some low-sugar juices also include a serving of vegetables, giving your kids a vitamin boost while they rehydrate. The night before your beach trip, freeze bottles of water or juice boxes. Not only will the frozen drinks help keep the cooler cold, you'll have ice-cold drinks to quench your thirst throughout the day.
Salty snacks can also lead to dehydration, so while it might be easy to throw a few bags of potato chips or pretzels into your beach bag, choose low-sodium snacks instead. Granola bars, cereal bars, fruit snacks or string cheese provide a quick energy boost without the added salt. As a bonus these individually-wrapped snacks are easy to handle and less likely to get covered in sand when sandy fingers reach into the container. If you want to add some fun to your picnic lunch with beach themed snacks, pack fish shaped crackers or fruit snacks.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are another good beach snack, providing both a boost of healthy vitamins and helping you stay hydrated. Wash and prepare fruit before you leave home. Fresh strawberries, grapes, watermelon and cantaloupe are easy to eat with your hands; just bring along a package of wipes to clean sticky fingers. Apples and bananas are also a good choice for the beach, since they are self contained and don't create a lot of waste. Baby carrots, celery sticks and sliced peppers are portable and easily eaten at the beach as well. Pack a container of creamy ranch dressing for a tasty dip that travels well.