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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Packing food for the beach

A beach with a surfboard propped up in the sand

Many people are longing to get away this year, and what better way to pursue happiness than a trip to the beach? The silky sand and gorgeous water views are perfect for relaxing in the sun. But a day on the beach requires some planning to keep yourself nourished and hydrated.

For a long day at the beach, pack two coolers: one for food and one for drinks. This will prevent perishable food from getting too warm every time someone open’s the lid to grab a cold drink. Be sure to fill the cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs and try partially burying the cooler in the sand or keep it under shade for extra insulation. Sand is both the exquisite beauty of nature and the curse of all evil, as it sticks to any damp surface and creeps into every possession you bring. Bring hand wipes to wash the grit off your hands and hand sanitizer for an extra slaying of potential pathogens. Elevate the meal off the sand; the tops of coolers make great tables, or place plates of food on a large blanket. Avoid reaching into bags of chips or bowls of fruit where sand is sure to get in. Buy individual bags of chips or pre-portion chips, fruit and other snacks into individual baggies or bowls. Fruit or vegetable kabobs are easy to eat without utensils and they help avoid any messy fingers touching the food.

Other must-haves at the beach include plenty of water to drink. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun, so make sure you’ve packed enough beverages and hydrating foods, such a watermelon, to get you through the day. Pack trash bags so as not to litter and of course, don’t forget the sunscreen!


Caramel Apple Grapes (Printable PDF)

1 container fat-free caramel dip

1 bunch seedless green grapes


1 cup lightly salted peanuts, crushed

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat caramel dip in 10 second intervals until warm and has a smooth consistency. Using a toothpick, dip each grape into caramel and then into a bowl of crushed peanuts. Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: about 15 servings, 5 grapes each


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 5 grams fat, 140 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein


Source: Diane Van, USDA, Check Your Steps! Chill: How to Pack a Cooler to Prevent Food Poisoning,


This blog post first appeared in the Pantagraph on August 4, 2021.