Your Healthy (and Yummy) Beach Day Meal Plan

July 17, 2019

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Caitlyn Dempsey, MCD, RD contributes to topics such as Nutrition.

By Natalee Ruddock – Gorousingh

Summer is here and one of the activities we all look forward to is going to the beach. This is always a fun activity for the entire family to relax, unwind and enjoy the outdoors.

Surrounded by all the unhealthy meals the beach has to offer such as soda, hot dogs and fries, it can be a struggle trying to prepare healthy meals that everyone in the family will enjoy. This is why Caitlyn Dempsey, MCD, RDN, a registered dietitian, provided quick and healthy food ideas we can throw in the trunk and take with us to enjoy a healthy, fun-filled day at the beach.

Healthy Breakfast Meals

Breakfast has long been regarded as the most important meal of the day. A quick, easy and nutritious recipe Caitlyn suggests for breakfast is breakfast quinoa. Quinoa with raspberries, blueberries and unsweetened almond milk topped with slivered almonds is the perfect meal to start the day, and also travels well for the beach.

Caitlyn recommends cooking the quinoa the night before so it is nice and cool when preparing it in the morning. This meal will provide a good amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals, is good for the entire family and will hold everyone over until lunch.

Overnight oatmeal with fruits is also a simple, healthy breakfast that is quick and easy to make – and will be well received by the little ones in the family.


Lunch is what everyone looks forward to after an eventful morning playing in the sun and sand. Ditch the idea of running up to the boardwalk for pizza, burgers and hot dogs and opt for a healthy wrap or sandwich.

A quick and easy wrap includes sliced vegetables and hummus. If you are not a fan of wraps, you can substitute for pita bread. Add our farro and green salad to the mix for a complete and healthy lunch.

For the kids, a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread will never disappoint, and is a healthier (and cheaper!) option than what you’ll buy on the boardwalk. You can also add some fresh fruits as a side.

What about healthy snacks?

Healthy snacks that you can eat throughout the day include fresh fruits, whole grain pretzels with some hummus or guacamole and mixed nuts. Watermelon is always a refreshing snack for a beach day and is a good source of electrolytes to replenish your body when it’s hot out.

You can also prepare your own trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Making your own trail mix is healthier than the options found in grocery stores that can be high in sugar.

Don’t forget to pack your cooler. This is great for keeping your food fresh and your beverage cold.

To keep you hydrated, pack many bottles of water. A large reusable water bottle can help keep your beverage cold longer than plastic water bottles and has the benefit of being environmentally friendly. Stainless steel bento boxes found at your local grocery stores are also an environmentally friendly option for packing healthy foods for a day at the beach. You can fill the compartments with chickpeas, cucumbers and fruits.

In addition to all these healthy meals, don’t forget your sunscreen, as skin protection on sunny days is vital.

Caitlyn Dempsey, MCD, RDN is a bariatric dietitian at The Center for Bariatrics at Southern Ocean Medical Center. Visit the nutrition section of HealthU to learn more about healthy eating.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.