We just got back from the beach and typically beach vacations can be healthy diet disasters. Everywhere you look there are nutrition nightmares–boardwalk fries, greasy pizza, ice cream and fudge. It can be difficult not returning from your trip without packing on a few extra pounds.
Several years ago, a few of the nicer restaurants in town started highlighting menu items that sourced local produce items. A lot of the surrounding area outside of the beach is owned by local famers and the chefs can obtain the freshest fruit and vegetables in season to feature in their recipes. From spring through fall, the menu items would change to feature what was in season and the idea quickly caught on as diners began to wait in line and book reservations in advance for these delicious, yet healthy summer meals. Over the past few years, more and more restaurants began offering similar menu options, even expanding the offering to vegetarian and vegan meals. These businesses were never at a loss for customers as the demand for an alternative to the usual beach fare continued to grow.
One area that seemed to be missing, however, was the “quick eats” or snack food option. I felt that if you were staying at a hotel and didn’t have your own healthy snacks with you, unfortunately you were stuck with the typical pizza, burgers or fries selection. That is until now! This year, I saw that what started in the finer restaurants has finally reached the delis and stretched to tap into the lunch or “snack” crowd. We visited a popular deli and happily discovered they had included an entire vegetarian section to their menu. Veggie burgers as well as specialty veggie burgers, like the one my husband got, which added some Tex-Mex spice and came with guacamole were included. They also had a hummus wrap and a pita that was packed with various veggies and beans. Of course a variety of salads were also offered. A new business had opened this year that was dedicated entirely to juicing. Fruit and vegetable juices–the customer could pick one of the recommended blends or create his or her own personal blend. This would be a terrific alernative to the standard “icee” drink or milkshake that can typically be found on the boardwalk.
We were able to adhere to a healthy diet during our time at the beach and yes, it was still delicious. We dined at one restaurant that offered sauteed local veggies as a side to our main entree. My husband said he enjoyed the veggies even more than the entree–they were fresh and cooked with a little olive oil and herbs. Breakfast was easy to find fresh berries and yogurt at a number of places. My guess is our destination is a reflection of what most beach towns are doing as the demand for healthier options are growing. So, if you’re heading to the beach this month keep an eye open for these choices instead of the usual beach grub. You’ll find they’re just as tasty and you’ll feel a lot better about eating them!