Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Day At the Beach

As the summer begins to slip away, I find myself making excuses such as, “oh, it’s really too hot out” or “I can’t wait for fall fashion”. However- you know, and I know, that all I am doing is trying to make the painful end of summer a little more bearable. It’s like when you pick a fight with someone before you leave so it is easier to bare being apart (sorry, Mom :) ).

What I am really going to miss the most is my favorite part of summer: a day at the beach! Nothing is better than a full day of walking, reading, swimming, laying, chatting, snacking, and playing; all under the beautiful sun and mixed in upon layers of soft sand. Plus- guess what? A day at the beach can be amazing for your health and body, if done the right way!

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

I don’t know about you, but when I hang out in the sun all day, I simply feel less hungry. Rather than desiring a hot and juicy burger, I crave cold foods, such as watermelon, gazpacho, and salads. Plus, there is something about sitting in your finest bikini that says, “maybe I shouldn’t have seconds.”

Think of all the exercise you can do at the beach without even realizing it. Perhaps you go for a long romantic walk on the beach, or jump into a heated game of beach volleyball? Then take a dive into the ocean to cool off. Finally as the sun is setting, you jump onto a paddleboard and sail across the sea. Sound like a plausible day for you? Guess what: you just burned a ton of calories!

Here are how many calories you burn per hour (approximately and differing based on sex/weight) doing everyday beach activities:

Beach volleyball- 427 calories

Walking- 207 calories

Swimming- 236 calories

Frisbee- 177 calories

Fishing- 236 calories

Paddleboarding (beginners)- 300 calories

After all of these activities, I gather you will be a bit hungry. So jump onto your towel and whip out the cooler. Here is a Your Secret Ingredient list of what to fill it with.


1. Gazpacho soup (blend tomatoes, cucumbers, salsa, Worchester sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and any other fitting ingredient; serve cold, topped with chopped cucumbers and red peppers.) Bring in Tupperware and serve into paper cups with spoons

2. Hummus and vegetable sandwiches (cucumber, pepper, lettuce, tomato) on whole grain bread

3. Homemade pita chips with Salsa Verde (chips: simply cut whole grain pita bread into small triangles and place on a baking sheet; spritz with non-stick olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt, bake in the oven on 425F for 12-15 minutes) (salsa: take tomatillos- AKA little green round chili peppers- and char them directly on the flame; place in blender and add salt while blending)

4. Watermelon with mint for dessert

Extra Snacking for watching the sunset:

5. Cheese, crackers, and grapes. Bring whole grain crackers such as Triscuits of Whole Food’s 365 whole grain cracker mix. Pack 2 oz per person of your favorite low-fat cheese or 1 oz per person of your favorite full-fat cheese and plus about 10 grapes per person, washed and stored in the damp paper towel in a zip-top container.

6. Wine (a light and fruity red may be easier to transport because it does not need to be freezing cold- plus, yes we are dietitians and must tell you that resveratrol, a main component in red wine, is a powerful antioxidant and good for your health when consumed in moderation). For a non-alcoholic option, make your own unsweetened iced tea or flavored water like cucumber mint water stored in water bottles.

So now that you have your cooler ready to go and a plan for a fun-filled day of exercise in the sun (with plenty of sunscreen protection). Be sure to hit the beach as much as possible to soak up every last moment of this hot summer- it’s good for your health!

--Samantha Jacobs, MS RD CDN

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