Self & Health
Summer holidays: what should I pack for the beach?
If you are like most Greeks, you love spending most of your holidays on the beach. And this is great! Let's see how you can combine healthy eating with long hours under the sun.
Plan ahead, and ensure you have enough snacks and drinks. Insulated lunch bags and water bottles are a must. High temperatures can alter the safety of your foods and beverages, so make sure you keep them fresh and cool. And don't forget to store them under the shade!
Being at the beach means that you are probably going to swim. So choosing foods that are easily digested is a priority. Fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, light sandwiches and wraps are some good options. You can carry whole peaches, apricots and nectarines. Alternatively, fill up a container with grapes and melon/watermelon bites. If you are super-organised and want to increase your variety, you can also go for a cold pasta or couscous salad. If you can't carry a cool bag, choose dry foods that won't be affected by high temperatures, like
- whole-grain crackers
- plain biscuits
- cereal bars
- nuts (preferably raw and unsalted)
- dried fruit
Having your own snacks is the healthiest (and cheapest) option. However, it is important to know what to choose if you have (or want) to get something from a beach bar or canteen. Some ideas are:
- fresh fruit juice and smoothies
- fruit salads
- ice tea
- sandwiches (avoid mayo, butter and too many chips/crisps!)
- salads (avoid greasy sauces)
Who can resist ice cream when sweating under the sun? You can include this in your "beach diet", just avoid rich flavours and toppings. Sorbets are a good option as they are equally refreshing and low in fat, so they are more easily digested than dairy ice cream. In any case, when choosing a frozen treat, make sure it’s safe to eat. Soft ice cream is more "dangerous", as the machines used to dispense it can encourage nasty bugs to grow. If ice cream is in a freezer exposed to the sun or you notice any signs that it thawed and was re-frozen, stay away!
Selling food at the beach is challenging, as food hygiene can be easily compromised. If you are concerned, avoid high-risk foods and ingredients such as chicken, mince/burgers, egg, fish, seafood, leafy salads and cold cuts. Pre-packed snacks may be a safer option, so if in doubt, opt for those.
The most important thing when spending hours on the beach is staying hydrated. Make sure you drink enough fluids and eat foods with high water content such as fruit and vegetables. Sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks should be consumed in moderation and should not be a substitute for water.