A light approach to Beach Food

Ladies and Gents… Summer is here! It is hot and sunny outside and the beach is delicious! Last Friday I went to the beach with my brother, a girlfriend of mine, and all of our little children.

Clearly we had to prep for food. The process of choosing food for an outing is usually stressful for me, but for some unknown reason,  this time I just knew what to take.

I got a bunch of containers and ziplock bags and packed the following:

  • 1 large ziplock of baby spinach and raw broccoli bites
  • 1 container of Kosher Petite Dills
  • 1 container with all my salad toppings – chopped carrots, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, pistachios, and raisins
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 container of sliced tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and celtic sea salt
  • 1 container of tuna salad (recipe below)
  • 1 container of raw mixed nuts – cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds
  • 1 ziplock bag with gluten free crackers
  • 3 chobani yogurts (1 for each of our kids)

My girlfriend took the most delicious mangoes and water and a big cooler to store all of this stuff.

TUNA SALAD RECIPE

  • white solid albacore tuna
  • dijon mustard
  • lemon
  • celery finely chopped
  • tomato finely chopped
  • apple finely chopped

By the time we arrived at the beach and brought all of our kids and bags and the cooler, it was 12:30pm…lunchtime.

My brother was starving. My girlfriend was too and she took a look at the food that I had brought and seemed disappointed. She told me that she didn’t think it was enough food and maybe we should get some chicken from Publix or something to fill us up because everyone was hungry. That peace that I had when preparing the food immediately dissipated!!!

To make a long story short, we never got the chicken.  I gave the boys yogurt and the tuna on crackers; prepared the salads for the adults with all of my toppings and added the tuna and chopped mango on top with the balsamic vinegar from my tomatoes.

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As we began eating the salad, I felt terrible for my friend and my brother. I thought to myself, here I am imposing my healthy food on these people instead of getting something they want. I was a little embarrassed that I had thought this was enough food, and overall I felt I had messed this up. But at the same time I thought the salad was totally delicious. All of a sudden my brother said “Oh my God!!! This is amazing!” My girlfriend said the same and said “wow, I never thought I could get full from this and i’m totally satisfied” WHAT A RELIEF!!!!  They even thanked me for being a positive influence on them 🙂

I went home and talked to Orlando about it and Orlando agreed the food just didn’t seem like beach food. He said when you think of beach food you think of sandwiches and chips…finger foods… not eating salad on a plate with a fork and knife. Maybe I didn’t pack
“beach” appropriate food…but I will tell you some of the pros of what I did pack.

  • The food was delicious and refreshing…the mango really did take my salad to another level!!!! The balsamic tomatoes, the lemony tuna, the fresh salad…it was perfect for a hot day.
  • We didn’t pick at food all day long. We ate a good lunch and enjoyed the rest of the day in the beach.
  • We didn’t get stuffed. You know how gross you feel when you eat a bunch of knick knacks and chips and your belly sticks out…that didn’t happen to us.
  • The kids ate well. I am sure that if we had balsamic tomatoes, pickles, and chips, pastelitos, and other junk food…my boys would have gone straight for the junk food! But since there were no other options, they ate yogurt, pickles, tomatoes, tuna, mango, nuts … light, refreshing foods…and they enjoyed it.
  • At the end of the day, we all felt good about our choices. Cheating definitely has its perks and sometimes it is totally worth it. But rarely do you spend a day at the beach picking at junk food and feel “good” at the end of the day. You may enjoy it at the moment but later you probably regret it. Well, we really didn’t have the opportunity to cheat, but at the end of the day there were no regrets!

All in all we had a wonderful day. And although my meal plan seemed like a total flop at the beginning, it ended up being a success. And it encouraged me to share that with you. Maybe the next time you pack the cooler for your beach outing you’ll remember this post and pack some refreshing foods. Maybe next time you can be a positive influence on someone else. And maybe “beach” food can be anything we want it to be…as long as we have plates and silverware!

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