The weekend is nearly here and I’m counting down the hours until I can rise with the sun, pack up my car, and point myself in the direction of the closest beach. Since moving closer to the coast, I’ve made it a goal to spend as much time as possible at the shore; I want to soak it all in, the waves, salt water, the call of gulls (seagulls … something I never thought I’d miss), I’ve missed the open expanse and wild freedom that only the ocean can provide.
And while I love spending my entire day at the beach, I don’t love that the only food options available are usually greasy boardwalk fries and soda. Foods that are not only unhealthy, but inconvenient and unpleasant to eat under the hot summer sun and in the vicinity of sand. That’s why I always plan to pack a cooler full of simple and refreshing options that are healthy and will keep me happy and hydrated throughout the day. Check out my essentials below, and be sure to add your own in the comments.
Infuse your bottled water: To make a refreshing alternative to dehydrating, sugary soda, add fresh mint, lime, and sliced strawberries to your water bottle and top it off with ice and water. To make a DIY filter, tie a square of cheesecloth over the top – it will allow the water to pass though while keeping the mint, lime, and berries from pouring out.
Check out some more infused water recipes.
Freeze extra H2O: The combination of salt water and sun can be incredibly dehydrating, so always pack a couple of extra water bottles, just in case your infused water runs out. To help keep your cooler colder and your water chilled, freeze the bottles overnight and add to the cooler in the morning. As the day goes on, the ice will melt and leave you with fresh, ice cold water.
Add some salt: Instead of filling your cooler with ice, which melts over time and becomes messy, fill a couple of empty plastic bottles with water and salt, cap them off, and freeze. The frozen bottles will act as mess-free ice blocks, while the salt helps to keep the temperature down.
Pack fresh: Instead of sandwiches and salads, which can cause a mess and attract seagulls, pack chilled sliced fruit and chopped vegetables. They’re easy to snack on throughout the day and will help to keep you hydrated. If you think you might need something more substantial, throw a couple of food bars in for good measure.
Take some grapes: If you’re craving a treat, pass over the drippy ice cream, and opt instead for frozen fresh grapes.
Skip the chips: Swap out chips and dip for pretzels and hummus. The pretzels are a healthier alternative to chips and won’t leave you greasy, while the hummus pairs well with both the pretzels and the sliced vegetables you’ve packed.
Chill your sunscreen: Even if you apply sunscreen before hitting the beach, you should always reapply throughout the day. Make it a refreshing ritual by tossing your bottle of sunscreen into the cooler with the rest of your supplies – the lotion will be cool to the touch and keeping it out of the sun will prevent the plastic bottle from breaking down.