Smart Beach Snacks
Packing these healthy bites in your bag will keep you satiated — and looking svelte — in the sun.
Though you'll most likely be working at a much lesser level of exertion, planning your meals for a day at the beach should be just as strategic as, say, portioning out your marathon fuel. Although being in a bathing suit can seem like the time to skimp on food, in fact the opposite is true. “If you don’t eat, your body starts to break down the natural sugar in your muscles, which creates GI stress and causes belly bloat,” says Haylie Pomroy, a Beverly Hills nutritionist and founder of East West Essentials. “Plus, part of what your metabolism does is help with the water exchange in your body, so you can start to retain water if you don’t keep it revved up.” You don’t need big meals to do that, just fit in some healthy snacks between towel time and ocean dips. Veggies can be a little harder to digest, so go for a balance of fruits and proteins, advises Pomroy, who knows of what she speaks. As Jennifer Lopez’s nutritionist, she oversaw all food choices for the star’s beachside "I’m Into You" video shoot. She’s also a regular beachcomber herself.
Here are five snacks plus a beverage that Pomroy relies on and recommends:
Tropical Frozen Fruit Salad
Cool foods are refreshing at the beach and frozen fruit will thaw enough to be the perfect temperature by the time you eat it, notes Pomroy. Portion nutrient-packed tropical frozen fruit like mango, papaya, and pineapple (berries optional) into a small container, add a good squeeze of lime juice, then sprinkle with fresh, chopped cilantro. “The lime juice will help keep your electrolytes in balance and cilantro is a natural diuretic, so it helps fight bloat,” Pomroy says.
Shrimp on Ice
Make your own light, easy version of shrimp cocktail (minus the messy sauce) by putting cooked, frozen shrimp in a baggie with lemon wedges and storing in a cooler, where it can safely defrost. “Snacking on protein will stoke your metabolism and keep your energy up—plus shrimp feels a little decadent,” says Pomroy.
Healthy Trail Mix
Skip the store-bought variety (often laden with chocolate chips), and make your own with raw nuts, seeds and carob. Fill a small baggie with equal parts raw pistachios and raw pumpkin seeds, and about a quarter cup of carob chips for natural sweetness. “Pistachios are very metabolism enhancing and they have a great protein to fat ratio so your blood sugar stays stable,” says Pomroy. Bonus: The tryptophan in the pumpkin seeds has a relaxing, cortisol-lowering effect, so you’re less likely to store fat around your middle.
This quick, easy protein will satisfy so you’re not tempted to eat junk food from vendors. Just choose a natural one that’s free of unhealthy additives like hormones, nitrates, nitrites and sugar. Pomroy’s pick: Shelton’s Turkey Jerky.
Pomroy’s Arnold Palmer
The classic drink named after the legendary golfer is a blend of iced tea and lemonade, but this healthy version is caffeine-free, sugar-free and boasts a diuretic effect to help balance your body’s water ratio.
Brew 16 oz of tea using 2 dandelion tea bags and 2 peppermint tea bags. Pour into a 32 oz jug, add the juice of 2 lemons, and fill with chilled water to dilute. Sweeten to taste with stevia.