Best Beach Bites: What to Bring to the Beach

I am a beach girl! At a young age my family spent time on the Rhode Island beaches. When we moved to Mississippi, we enjoyed the Gulf Coast beaches. We had a spell of no beaches for two years, while my dad’s Naval pilot career took us to Iceland, but we always missed the scent of that sweet ocean air and sand between our toes.

Today I live in Virginia Beach, where my dad transferred after Iceland. We were not walking distance to the beach, but when I was a teen, my friends and I would ride our bikes to the ocean regularly. Our beach bag would always have water and a salty snack.

I continue to live in Virginia Beach with my two teenage girls. A day on the beach for us means fun, sun and good eats. We will take cut up watermelon chunks, fresh cherries, and fresh firm red grapes. We will bring whole fruit, such as peaches and apples with a small cutting board and a sharp paring knife—and some sharp cheeses and pecans, pistachios or cashews. If I have cottage cheese on hand, I will also take the fresh red grapes and make a healthy parfait, topped with chopped pecans. This concoction is fresh, clean, nutritious and refreshing.

During the summer we keep frozen edamame on hand. Throw a few bags in the cooler and they help keep the other items cold as well. We also bring fresh baby carrots and some ranch dressing. Additionally, I make homemade hummus fairly regularly and love to pair that with fresh Lebanese pita or pita chips.

Beach Block of Cream Cheese
Unwrap a whole block of cream cheese and place in a glass or plastic container that has a tight fitting top. The following toppings are great for the beach.

Asian- Top with lots of soy sauce and cover completely with toasted sesame seeds; serve with Nabisco Wheat Thins—or other crackers of choice. I have found wheat thins to be the best combination.

Nautical- Top with cocktail sauce and then crab meat and/or chopped cooked shrimp. Bring crackers of choice or baguettes.

Chicken Salad
A simple way to make chicken salad is buy a rotisserie chicken, shred the chicken and add what you would like—such as green grapes, walnuts, Craisins, mayo, and balsamic vinegar. Put in a covered container and bring yeast rolls, whole wheat bread or a sturdy cracker.

Tips for Avoiding Sand Monsters
If you have young kids who constantly have sandy hands and always want to dig their hands into a big bag of chips, pretzels or cookies, I strongly recommend having plastic baggies on hand. Fill up the individual bags for the little sand monsters, so the adults can enjoy the same snacks sand free.

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By Guest Blogger, Tammy Jaxtheimer, C-CAP Hampton Roads Program Director

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