My Top 5: Best Healthy (and Hydrating!) Snacks to Stock a Beach Cooler With

Culinary nutrition educator Jessica Yeager dishes her favorite snacks and drinks to stock her cooler with to survive a day in the sun.

We know you’ll all be scurrying around these last few weeks of summer, trying to squeeze in those last couple beach trips before cooler weather swoops in. And while nothing beats a beach day, beachside snack options are a different story. Sure, boardwalk fries are the BOMB every now and then, but every day you spend at the Shore? Not so much.

So to help you put together the perfect beach day snack menu, we got culinary nutrition educator Jessica Yeager, whose worked with local healthy-eating spots you probably love like Rittenhouse’s P.S. & Co., to work a little magic for us and share her top five healthy snacks and drinks to stock her cooler with for a day spent in the sun (complete with recipes!). Her top priority when it comes to packing her snacks for a beach day? Water content, people! Take note of Yeager’s beach-cooler picks below, then pack for your future Shore days accordingly. 

1. Frozen Watermelon
“With potent amounts of the carotenoid and lycopene, plus healthy doses of vitamin C and betacarotene, watermelon leaves your body more equipped to fight free radicals and the damaging effects of exposure to sun. Watermelon also has a high water content, helping to keep the body hydrated.”

Jessica Recommends: “For a fancy treat, scoop out the watermelon using a melon baller. Place in the freezer the night before your beach day and later enjoy these sweet treats as is or drop the melon balls into water with a sprig of fresh mint for a hydrating beach drink.” Get the how-to here.

2. Mango and Black Bean Salsa
“Chips — my favorite are Late July — and salsa are my go-to beach snack! This recipe is super easy to toss together the night before and with the addition of black beans, it can also be enjoyed as a healthy lunch. Plus, the mango and red peppers in the salsa give you an extra dose of H2O.”

Jessica Recommends: “If possible, grab fresh ears of corn for the salsa from your local farm.” Get Jessica’s recipe for mango salsa here.

3. Coconut Water
“Dehydration can happen fast, so start by packing a few bottles of coconut water to keep you hydrated. Freezing your bottles the night before makes for an even more refreshing drink. Coconut water replenishes the body with electrolytes, vitamins and other beneficial minerals like potassium and sodium.”

Jessica Recommends: “Choose a brand like Harmless Harvest as they don’t pasteurize their products, allowing nutrients to remain fully intact. Or, if you are up for the challenge, purchase an organic young Thai coconut and crack it yourself. You’ll enjoy nutrient-dense fresh juice, and you can also scrape out the coconut meat, blend it up and enjoy it as yogurt or a parfait (recipe here). Two cooler additions for the price of one!”

4. Guacamole
“Who can resist another chips and dip recipe for a beach day snack? Not me! I love adding guac to the mix because it provides the body with healthy fats. Including fat in your diet stabilizes blood sugar, keeps you fuller longer and increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals of other foods you eat. Pair the guac with the salsa, and you’ve got yourself a hearty health-promoting snack, or even a well-rounded light lunch.”

Jessica Recommends: “Leave the pit in the guac to prevent browning. It really works!” See Jessica’s guacamole recipe here.

5. Fresh Veggies with Homemade Dairy-Free Ranch
“I love making a platter of vegetables with high water content like cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, celery and peppers to serve with a dairy-free ranch dip. This is just one more way we can keep our bodies happy and hydrated, especially down at the Shore.”

Jessica Recommends: “Forgo the store bought seasoning mixes and dressings, which are loaded with additives and preservatives. Instead make your own spice blend and pair it with a dairy-free, lemony cashew cheese that is sure to please.” Grab Jessica’s cashew cheese recipe here.

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