When I was in 8th grade, I went to the beach with our Honor Roll. Yes, I was the typical over-achiever. My friends and I were in the waves out only to about our hips, but all of a sudden a huge wave came and I got pulled under the water. It was the strangest sensation to be under the waves, looking up through the water, but not being able to pull myself out. I remember being so young and so terrified that I was going to die. Thankfully, I ended up riding the wave towards the shore instead of deeper into the ocean. I had swallowed sand and water and just felt icky. I have never lost my love for the beach, but since that day I have not been a fan of the ocean part.
Since I don't like getting into the ocean, beach trips for me are all about resting on the beach, reading a good book, and of course, the snacks. It can be hard to have a healthy day at the beach because usually all you want to do is veg out and relax. This past weekend, we headed to the beach with our youth group, and we had a BLAST. The kids went into the water and my husband taught them how to body board, and I was in charge of the food. The snacks were on point: double stuffed oreos, cheddar and sour cream ruffles, chips and salsa, chex mix, carrots, watermelon, grapes, and PIZZA. Papa John's pizza, which is a youth group favorite. How can you possibly resist all of these temptation, no matter how much you know about health and nutrition? Should these days just be considered "off" days from our journey towards our health? Or should we still stick to the goals we have set and the plans we have made and just say no?
It can be a challenge to stay healthy and nourished at the beach without feeling deprived, so here are three tips on how to enjoy the day without the repercussions of a sugar and salt overload!
1. Fill up on as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Carrots, bananas, grapes, watermelon...these are all light and easy snacks to take with you to the beach. The more vegetables and fruits you fill up on, the less room there will be in your belly for the processed snacks. And even when you do have the processed snacks, you won't have as much because you filled up on those plant-based foods first!
2. Give yourself grace. Don't be too hard on yourself if you enjoy one too many oreos or those extra handfuls of chex mix. Life is too short to kick yourself and make yourself feel guilty. Food guilt is NEVER a part of a healthy lifestyle. Rather than feeling guilty, make a conscious decision to stop the mindless snacking, grab a bottle of water, and enjoy the rest of the day without being too focused on the food. Which leads me to...
3. Focus on your relationships. These days are NOT all about the food. Enjoy the beach and the company instead of being focused on which snack you will eat next. Food is a joy in life and a way to bring people together, but it is not the end of the world. I know for me, if I am feeling insecure (hello swimsuits!), I would much rather have food for company than people. But that is just replacing your need for human connection with some chips and salsa, and that is not how we were designed to be! We were made for human relationships and company, so make that the focus of the day, and the rest will fall into place!
We had such a great time with these beautiful people last weekend, we enjoyed food, the beach, and the company. Summer isn't over, so I hope the next time you head to the beach you will keep these tips in mind and they will help you have a nourished day, body and soul!