Read on for 6 beach snacks to pack for a better beach day with kids.
Normally I’d say that the best beach snacks are the ones that your child eats.
However, when we’re talking about beach snacks for kids, you want to make sure the snack makes sense.
Four Qualities of Great Beach Snacks
- Nutrition – I’m a dietitian by trade, so nutrition is always at the front of my mind. When picking beach snacks I think of two main factors: hydration and staying power. Hydration speaks for itself. In terms of staying power, I like “mini meal” snacks – something that contains protein, healthy fats, and fiber that will keep kids full, energized and satisfied when spending the whole day at the beach.
- Ease – Beach days are fun, but there’s so much schlepping! When it comes to packing a beach bag, I want the food to be as easy as possible. I favor snacks that are easy to prepare, eat, store and carry. No melting or leaking are important bonuses.
- Mess – Sandy hands are an inevitable part of a beach day with kids. Sandy snacks don’t need to be. I focus on beach snacks that are just a few bites big and don’t create a lot of waste (I do a lot of chasing my toddler around in the sand. No need to add a granola bar wrapper to that list as well).
- Fun – Food that looks good and is fun to eat might not get you the bonus points with your kids that you’d like…but it can make an eating opportunity appealing enough that your child will want to stop playing to eat.
6 Practical and Nutritious Beach Snacks for Kids
Energy balls are great for the beach because they’re tasty, easy to eat, and full of the most important nutrients for kids: protein, healthy fats and fiber. They can last outside of the fridge, so they’re good for cooler-free days.
You’ll also appreciate that they don’t take up a lot of room and aren’t heavy.
I love that they’re easy to prepare ahead of time (can store in the freezer) and how customizable they are.
- 1 ¼ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ cup nut butter / sunflower seed butter
- ⅓ cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried fruit, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips or combo
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add more sweetener if too dry or oats if too wet. Refrigerate for ~30 minutes. Roll into balls. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Make Your Own Trail Mix
I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like a bag full of crunchy snacks. Mixes are so fun and great for the beach because they are incredibly simple, easy to pack, and sure to be a hit.
Invite your kid to help make it or customize to their preferences. Salty versions will make kids want to drink (a good thing for a beach day).
It’s not a high protein snack unless you’re including nuts (reminder: nuts are a choking hazard for young kids), so you might want to pair it with cheese, a sandwich or a yogurt pouch.
Note: these are crushable, so I recommend packing them in a hard container.
Mix a selection of preferred snack foods in desired ratios. Store in a Ziplock, hard container, or reusable snack bag.
The possibilities for ingredients to include in your trail mix are endless, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Dried fruit
- Freeze dried fruit
- Dry cereal
- Pea crisps
- Crispy edamame beans
- Any other preferred foods
Homemade Cereal Bars
Homemade cereal bars are great for the beach because they’re easy to pack and prep and are less expensive than buying packaged bars (plus you don’t have to worry about the wrappers blowing away in the wind).
These are basically glorified Rice Krispie treats but with a good dose of protein (more nutrition), so you can ward off hangry meltdowns.
Heads up that these will want to stay in a cooler.
- ½ cup nut or seed butter
- ½ cup honey
- 3½ cups Cheerios
Mix nut/seed butter and honey. Melt if needed. Mix in cereal until well combined. Press well into an 8×8 baking dish with wet hands or silicone spatula. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut with a sharp knife and store in the fridge.
No utensils needed! Mess free! Fingers won’t get sticky and fruit won’t get sandy!
These won’t keep kids full for super long but what they lack in oomph they make up for in water, which is so important for a beach day. The kebabs are optional (and honestly, a little extra), but make them easier to eat and that much more appealing.
You can use any type of fruit you’d like. Some of my most hydrating favorites are melon, blueberries, grapes, and strawberries.
- Wash and prepare fruit as needed
- Add fruit onto skewers
- Store in a hard container or Ziplock bag.
Tip: Tired of getting poked with skewers? Use coffee stirrers instead.
Pouches (frozen or not), Yogurt Tubes, Homemade Smoothie in reusable pouch
Pouches are always a fan favorite, especially for younger kids, and if you have a cooler, throwing in a yogurt pouch couldn’t be easier. Pouches make for phenomenal beach snacks because they’re easy to eat and guaranteed sand-free. Grab a yogurt pouch or pack up a homemade smoothie for a high protein option.
Tip: You can also freeze them so they double as an icepack and are extra refreshing.
A few of my favorite pouches:
ABC Muffins (adapted from Yummy Toddler Food)
We always have a stash of these in the freezer. They’re one of my favorite beach snacks because you can grab them still frozen on your way out and they’ll defrost by the time you need them.
Mini muffins are quick to eat (so they won’t detract from time playing) and these are so satisfying (achem…for the whole family).
They’re loaded with nutrition that to keep kids full – fiber from whole grains and fruits and veggies. I love that they have no added sugar.
Recipe (adapted from Yummy Toddler Food)
- 2 small mashed overripe bananas
- 1/2 cup shredded apple
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup oil or butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon BP
- ¼ tsp baking soda
Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dry. Bake in mini muffin tins for 16-22 minutes at a 375 degree oven.
You can learn more about these recommendations by watching my segment on Good Day Philadelphia.
Looking for even more snack ideas?