Sweet SUMMERTIME! For us, summer is all about the beach. We live in Florida, so we spend as much time as possible at the beach. Whether we are boating, fishing, swimming, or just hanging out on the sand, we are around the beach a lot. In the past, beach and boat days meant unhealthy food choices. We would grab something at a restaurant for lunch, take cold chicken wings with us out fishing, load the boat down with chips, and we would often resort to sandwiches if we packed our lunch. Over the last few years, we have finally found some favorite food ideas that don’t get old or leave us feeling deprived of “beach food”.
Our Beach Lunch
No prepared lunch for us pretty much equals disaster. If we don’t pack a lunch, we are either left scrambling for something, or we end up spending $100 on a lunch full of fried food. So, we’ve started packing our lunch whether we are going to the beach where there are restaurant options or whether we will be in the Gulf all day fishing.
When packing lunches, I use my trusty LunchBots containers most of the time for our lunches. It allows me to add different things to everyone’s lunch, and I don’t have to have my kids reaching into my food with their sandy hands. The containers are also small, so I’m not stuck with big plastic containers. Another thing I love about everyone having their own lunch is that I don’t waste a ton of food. I used to wash all of the fruit and cut up the veggies, throw them into a plastic container, and off we went. Well, if we didn’t eat everything, I was left to throw away the uneaten food…who really wants strawberries that have been on the boat cooler all day or touched with fishy hands? By packing in small containers, our food waste has been reduced big time.
The picture above shows our lunch for last weekend. We were on the boat pretty much all day, so we needed plenty of options. For Josh and I, we had a salami, turkey, and cheese wrap (using the coconut wraps from Thrive Market), cherry tomatoes, blueberries, a piece of cheese, mixed nuts, and some Epic pork rinds. For the kids, I do my best to make lunch look like a Lunchable. For some reason, they think Lunchables are the best thing even though they give me the creeps. B and P had a turkey and cheese wrap (using a gluten free tortilla), strawberries, a mini Kind bar, romaine lettuce for P and mixed nuts for B, and two gluten free “Oreos” each. I also packed them some unsweetened applesauce, jerky, an Epic bar, and some Jackson’s Honest chips. For more lunch ideas for kids, check out my post on school lunches.
We were on the boat from about 9:30 am – 4:00 pm, and we had plenty of food. We came home with very few leftovers, which makes me happy. Easy to pack, good to eat, and all around healthy.
Our Favorite Foods
- Wraps – Wraps are typically our food of choice for the beach. They are so easy to make if I am pressed for time, and they stay good for a long time in the cooler. For Josh and I, I love the turmeric coconut wraps from Thrive Market. They hold together well, and they taste great. I stuff them with plenty of meat and cheese as well as mayo and mustard. For the kids, I typically buy a gluten free wraps since they aren’t huge fans of the coconut wraps.
- Steamed Shrimp – Shrimp tastes great cold, and it’s easy to run into Joe Patti’s or Publix and buy. You can get it already peeled if you call ahead, so it creates very little mess on the boat.
- Meat and Cheese Roll ups – Just like a wrap, I just put some cheese in the middle of a few pieces of meat, and roll it on up.
- Grilled Meat – We do keep a grill on our boat that serves as a great option if we will be at the beach all day. We can throw some burgers, sausage, or chicken (already marinated in a freezer bag) right onto the grill, and we have a hot lunch. You can find portable grills or even disposable grills at any sporting good store. They are nice to have on hand if you don’t want a cold lunch.
- Nuts – I typically pack mixed nuts in either small containers or individually in the LunchBots. They are full of fat to help keep you full during a long day.
- Jerky and Epic Bars – We’ve always got some sort of jerky or bar on hand. Sometimes the days are longer than we expect, and having a bar will keep us full until we get back home.
- Pork Rinds – Who doesn’t love a good pork rind? The Epic brand is my favorite, and it can be a great substitute when I want something crunchy.
- Chips – I do pack chips most days. I pack them mainly because the kids like chips, but every once in a while, I just want a chip if I’m on the boat. If I’m buying chips, I almost always buy the Jackson’s Honest brand. They don’t contain any scary oils, and the only ingredients are potatoes, olive oil or avocado oil, and sea salt. Sam’s Club also carries a good brand called Boulder Canyon. If anyone wants tortilla chips, the Siete chips are definitely my favorite.
- Fruit – I bring apples or watermelon for the kids, but I usually will pack some strawberries or blueberries for Josh and I. Again, I pack them in the LunchBots so that sandy fingers don’t ruin the whole container.
- Veggies – Pepper rings, carrots, and cherry tomatoes almost always make an appearance in our cooler. Sometimes, I’ll bring a little dump ranch in a small container, but most of the time, we just eat our veggies with salt and pepper.
- Unsweetened Applesauce – I pack the unsweetened pouches of applesauce for the kids. They aren’t messy, and my kids still enjoy the delivery system of a pouch, so it’s a win win.
You Can DO IT!
Eating Primal at the beach is totally possible! Next time you are heading out to the beach, boat, or pool, pack your food. It can be super simple, or you can get fancy with your portable grill. Either way, by packing your own food, you have control over what you are eating. You don’t have to rely on a restaurant to have a good choice when you’ve brought your own food.
Make your food fun. Add some variety. Find things your kids like, and save those things for your special beach food (ex: our Gluten free cookies). Pack some veggies, and eat them.
Have a blast, eat some healthy food, and soak up every minute of summer!