Headed to the beach this weekend? Summer may be a vacation from work and school, but it doesn't have to be a vacation from your diet too.
Instead of turning to unhealthy beach snacks like potato chips or ice cream, try some of these healthy snacks instead. You’ll not only leave the beach with a summer glow and smile, but a satisfied appetite too.
Try homemade trail mix with nuts, gluten-free cereal, and dried raisins or dried cranberries. This snack is tasty and portable, and it can be made in advance. The protein from the nuts will keep you energized to splash in the water, so you can enjoy the beach longer.
Also, you can easily pack dried fruit chips; my favorites are chips made from apples or strawberries. These will satisfy your sweet tooth and are great on the go. I like to add a dollop of nut butter (or sunflower seed butter if you have a nut allergy) to these chips for a protein boost. You can make your own dried fruit in the oven, or buy organic dried fruit.
Another great option is popcorn, which you can make at home and season however you like it. Whether you keep it simple with sea salt and pepper or choose to be more daring with cayenne, you'll have a healthy snack to enjoy at any time of day. You can also add dark chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs to your popcorn for a sweet dessert treat after a long day at the beach.
If you're able to bring a cooler onto the beach, try hummus and sliced veggies, which are a great way to get protein and fiber when you're hanging out in the sunshine. You can buy pre-made hummus in portable packs, or you can even make your own with canned chickpeas. If you’re making your own, feel free to add your own spices to increase flavor; I like to add basil and cilantro to hummus when I'm cooking for clients.
You can easily slice carrots, celery and bell peppers to dip into the hummus when you are hungry. Gluten-free rice crackers are another great dipping option for your hummus, and you don't have to worry about them going bad in the summer heat. Love the idea of munching on gluten-free crackers and don't have any hummus lying around? Not to worry – almond or sunflower seed butter paired with gluten-free crackers and sliced vegetables are another option and can be easily transported in a sealable container or cooler.
So what are you waiting for? Skip the unhealthy processed snacks – those are for the seagulls. Try one of these healthy gluten-free ideas for your next beach trip.
Amie Valpone is a celebrity chef based in New York City and editor-in-chief of TheHealthyApple.com. Specializing in simple, gluten-free recipes, Amie has been featured in numerous magazines and on well-known websites, as well as TV. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.