Healthy Living Tips

Bring a Healthy Picnic to the Beach

healthy beach picnic ideasOne of the most popular summer vacation destinations is the beach. Time on the beach is fun time. The good news is your children are probably too busy and too hungry to care about what they eat. They’re too distracted with the waves they’re riding and the sand castles they’re building. Take advantage of that distraction and feed them healthy foods to keep their energy up.

Some may think there is no to way to keep up the 80/20 rule at the beach, and I disagree wholeheartedly. When I talk to children about the 80/20 rule, eating healthy foods 80 percent of the time, I explain that for every four healthy things they eat, they can have something indulgent. Balancing that 80/20 can be difficult, but the best way to teach your children to make healthy choices is to provide them with as many healthy choices as possible. Every one of these ideas could be just as easily executed from the grocery store aisles at the beach as it can with a little planning from home.

  • Snacks: There are so many choices! Hummus can be very portable, tastes good at room temperature and is a great companion to all kinds of vegetables, including baby carrots, cucumbers, sliced bell peppers and snap peas. Another great companion for vegetables is black bean dip, which also tastes good at any temperature. You can find it in a jar with most salsa displays. Personally, celery and peanut butter is highly underrated. Make it “ants on a log” with a sprinkling of raisins for a little touch of sweetness.
  • The main meal: Instead of taking traditional sandwiches with deli meat and cheese, along with soggy tomatoes, try the good old fashioned fallback: peanut butter and jelly (on whole wheat bread). If you want to avoid sandy hands all over bread, try a batch of sesame noodles loaded with fresh or lightly sautéed veggies. They are just as good cold as they are warm. Make them with whole wheat noodles for a serving of complex carbohydrates.
  • Sides: Popcorn is a great alternative to chips to accompany a sandwich. You can make it yourself at home or find a healthy version in the chips aisle at the grocery store. And what can be simpler than sliced apples for some fresh crunch? If your family shies from apples that have browned, here are some ideas for preventing the oxidation that causes it. Or buy them pre-sliced from the store. Peanut butter or any nut butter is a great accompaniment to apple slices. • Dessert: Cookies for everyone! Here is where the 80/20 rule kicks in. Cookies are easy to eat and easy to portion. Personally, I’m partial to a cookie from my childhood, a throwback if you will. Remember those strawberry, chocolate and vanilla cream-filled sugar wafers? They’re actually not as high in sugar as you would think, plus they’re light and fluffy and easy to eat on the beach.
  • Drinks: Water is the best thing take to the beach. All day in the sun can quickly lead to dehydration. Make your own flavored water with some easy added ingredients such as lemon slices, mint, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or oranges.

As with any food you would eat in a picnic setting, be sure to store with ice to keep your food fresh for as long as possible.

You wouldn’t let your children stop saying please and thank you, or let them ride without a seat belt just because you’re on vacation, would you? Like all the lessons we teach our children, such as manners and safety, healthy eating is an all-the-time lesson. Instead of taking a vacation from healthy eating, use it as an opportunity to show how to stick to those healthy habits even when you’re outside the regular routine, like having fun on the beach.

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy, Kids
About the Author

As a working mother with two small children, Candice Imwalle understands the challenge of incorporating healthy eating into daily life. In her job as a medical devices regional manager she encounters patients regularly who suffer from vascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, most commonly caused by a lifetime of poor food choices. Inspired by her job, and the rising obesity rates for both children and adults in the United States, Imwalle decided to search for children’s books about the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle for her kids to read. The lack of options for this kind of children’s literature motivated Imwalle to write her own book – Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food. With a drive to educate children early, so they make good food choices and have a healthy adult life, Imwalle enlisted the writing help of her daughter Isabella and son Cameron, ages five and eight at the time) to assure the book was fun and interesting to younger readers.

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