by Amy Rice

Summer is on the horizon.  After working all year long to get your beach bod in tip-top shape, don’t let your beach day diet do you in!  Hot dogs and ice-cream stands are always tempting when mid-day kicks in on a hot summer beach day, but packing your own cooler full of still delicious substitutes will help you stay hydrated, and stay on track in maintaining your health this summer.

Fruit is not only a healthy choice, but even can be used to keep you hydrated.  Pack fruits with high water content such as watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and grapes will keep you going all day for few calories.

As a substitute for ice cream, freeze yogurt the night before your beach trip.  It will thaw in the cooler while at the beach, and is a much more nutritious, yet delicious option.  Use berries and the fruit that you packed to give your yogurt more kick.  Yogurt can also be used a dip for fruits.  Try it in combination with pineapples, strawberries, and apples.

Sandwiches at the beach have a tendency to get waterlogged throughout the day if they are not eaten right away.  To avoid the sandwich blues, pack bread or crackers, such as a loaf of French bread or Triscuts, separately, and in another bag pack a variety of fresh cheeses to top it off.

Potato chips are usually a beach necessity.  However, packing trail mix or pretzels is a much better option that will still give you a satisfying crunch.  You can even include a bottle of mustard to dip the pretzels into to simulate the hot dog taste.  Also consider granola bars, or Goldfish crackers.

The most important item in your cooler is water.  Other sugary drinks have a tendency to dehydrate the body, not to mention rank low on the nutrition scale.  Water is your best bet to satisfying your thirst when the sun is at its brightest.  Staying hydrated all day is the key to having an energy filled, great day at the beach.

When packing your cooler this summer, keep these healthy choices in mind.  What you fill your body with on hot beach days is just as important as what you eat to prepare for them.  If you keep your beach day junk food free, you are guaranteed to leave the beach feeling a healthy glow inside, and out.