Healthy beach snacks
A few weeks into summer and life has slowed down for the better. Traffic is lighter, work is clearer, the evenings are a lot less manic. Bath time, stories and bed are just way easier, so if I could just stop making lunch boxes everything would be perfect.
Iím not sure what it is about lunches. I love cooking and prepping, but lunch boxes are the worst. Maybe itís just because it goes off into an abyss and you donít see anyone enjoy it.
Sitting down to dinner with hungry children who are happily chatting about their day and enjoying what you made is fun. Not that it always works out that way. Dinner with whining children who are arguing and say theyíre not hungry because they just ate 99 snacks is a nightmare.
Recently, if I sense a meltdown on the horizon (sometimes mine, sometimes theirs Ö) weíve just thrown a picnic together and headed to the beach. And itís nothing fancy.
Yesterday, we took chicken tenders (the good kind!), peppers, watermelon, red currants and potato chips. No one ate the peppers, the red currants were stolen by a stray toddler, the birds flew away with half the chips, but the rest was a success.
Best of all, no one argued and the children were super relaxed. I wasnít quite so chilled ó I ended up standing in the surf watching the children like a nervous mother hen because the waves were up. I was also looking after two tiny dogs that belonged to someone elseís child (who was playing with my children).
They ran in circles around me and we were tied up in knots in no time. I did wonder how I would rescue anyone with miniature Yorkshire terriers attached to my ankles, but it didnít come to that. Everyone lived! Dramatic, much? Ha. We reluctantly left as the light was fading, passing the trash along the way.
It was overflowing with soda bottles and so much junk, it made me wonder if beach snacks always had to be so unhealthy.
We were at Horseshoe and I know thatís all you can really buy down there, but if you do take your own, itís easy to clean it up a little. Obviously, things need to be quick to assemble, easy to eat on the go and a little robust (no one wants arugula blowing down the beach). So if youíd like some ideas, see below:
Get the fruit in
So simple, I know, but letís start basic! Itís great for sweet, natural energy, packed with antioxidants that help protect you from environmental-free radicals (things that trigger disease, inflammation and accelerate ageing).
My children love frozen watermelon which is icy and delicious. They love frozen grapes too, but only do that once you are past the age for a choking hazard. Orange wedges, slices of pineapple, apples ó anything thatís easy to hold. You donít want to be peeling a kiwi on the beach. If you have the time and the patience, make some fruit kebabs as theyíre easy and a bit more fun.
Chips and dip
Try the Late July (Supermart), Lundberg brown rice chips (Supermart) or the Saffron Road lentil chips (Lindoís) for the healthiest options on the market. Salsa and hummus are easy.
Only take guacamole if itís all getting eaten in a flash. It doesnít do well when itís in and out of the cooler a hundred times!
Organic chicken tenders (Belle & Evans, green box), Waitrose cooked chicken drumsticks, organic string cheese, trail mix Ö. all those work well and help to steady the glucose release from your carbs.
That means more sustained energy which in turn means more hours on the beach and better moods all around.
When it comes to trail mix ó skip the Planters and buy Eden organic (Supermart). They also have great snack packs of tamari almonds and roasted pistachios.
Buy the straws and then no one needs a spoon. Try the Annieís or Siggiís brands for organic yoghurt options that are low in sugar too. Freeze them and your children can eat them like Popsicles.
Itís hard to take salad to the beach, but donít skip the veg. Baby tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots Ö. theyíre all easy. Hummus and guacamole might get the children more interested, or try an organic ranch dressing (eg Annieís). Baby tomato and mozzarella kebabs work well too ó maybe with a pesto dip. Tasty!
ē Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda