Beating an Afternoon Energy Slump

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Afternoon energy slumps are extremely common, and can be attributed to the body’s circadian rhythm, which sends out sleep signals during the afternoon, usually at around 2pm. Rather than spending the afternoon wishing that you could curl up in bed, here are a few tips to help you to beat the energy slump and ensure that the rest of your day remains productive.

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A Light, Protein-Filled Lunch
If your lunches are usually packed with carbohydrates, this will be having quite the impact on the way in which your body functions in the afternoon, as carbohydrates tend to zap the body of energy. Instead, opt for foods that are high in protein, such as a tuna salad rather than a tuna sandwich, or a green salad with hard-boiled eggs and sliced turkey instead of a bowl of pasta. You should also try to avoid having a heavy lunch, as the digestion process diverts blood away from the brain, meaning that the more food that needs to be digested, the longer you will feel lethargic for.

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A Midday Workout
Physical activity during the day will not only boost your productivity, but will also help you to beat that midday slump. If you have a gym near you, some light aerobic exercise is all that you need. Alternatively, if you do not have time for a quick gym session, head out for a brisk walk on your lunch break, or pay a visit to the very top floor of your building, using the stairs of course. Even a few simple stretches can help to provide your body with a boost of energy, and these do not require much space or time at all.

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Green Tea
If you tend to reach for a cup of coffee each time you feel your energy levels dropping, you may want to try swapping this out for a cup of green tea instead. While green tea still contains caffeine, it does not have quite as much as coffee does, meaning that it is much better for your health, and will also bring you a range of nutritional benefits.

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Listen to Some Music
Studies have shown that listening to music has the potential to boost the way in which a person focuses, while making them feel more energized at the same time. This is a great quick fix to the afternoon energy slump problem, and if you compile a few energizing playlists on your phone in advance, you will have a pick-me-up to hand whenever you may need it.

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Don’t Skip Breakfast
Considered to be the most important meal of the day, a healthy breakfast provides the body with enough energy to sustain it throughout the day. However, if you skip breakfast, you are likely to experience quite the energy crash at around 2pm, which is why this is a meal well worth making some time for. If you tend to be strapped for time in the mornings, there are many on-the-go breakfast options that may work for you, from berry and yogurt smoothies to a portable bowl of porridge.

Nobody wants to experience an afternoon energy slump, especially if you have a long list of tasks that you still need to complete before the end of the day. From nutrition to exercise, these tips will help you to beat that slump, filling you with energy for the rest of the day.

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The Lowdown on Protein Powders and Shakes

Woman drinking protein

While protein powders were once quite a niche product, they have now become much more mainstream, especially since the benefits of protein are being much more widely acknowledged. If you have been wanting to venture into the world of protein powders and shakes but do not know where to begin, here are a few basics that will help you to understand all that is out there.

Whey-Based Powders
Whey-based protein powders are the most commonly available, and are basically a milk product that has had all of its fat and carbohydrates removed. This means that it is quickly absorbed by the body, which is why many athletes turn to whey-based protein shakes for their post-workout recovery sessions.

Casein-Based Powders
Just like whey, casein is also a milk-based product, and is commonly used in the making of cheese. However, the difference lies in the way in which the body digests casein, as this process takes longer than it does with whey. While this means that they are not ideal post-workout, they are great for an afternoon or evening snack, as they will help your muscles to gradually recover overnight.

Protein powders

Combination Powders
If you feel as though you could benefit from both a casein and a whey powder, it may be worth looking into products that combine the two. This means that your body will be able to obtain an immediate effect from your shake, thanks to the whey, as well as long term energy for many hours afterwards, due to the casein.

Plant-Based Proteins
Even if you do not follow a vegan diet, plant-based proteins still have so many different benefits, making them well worth considering. These tend to contain antioxidant-rich superfoods, which will have the effect of boosting your immune system, enabling you to train for longer, and harder. They also tend to be kinder to the gut, and while many may feel as though they are not as effective as milk-based protein powders, recent studies have shown that plant-based proteins are just as capable of building muscle as milk-based proteins. Common examples of plant-based proteins include pea protein, which contains high levels of arginine, which is an amino acid required to build muscle, soya protein and hemp protein, which also contains many beneficial life enzymes and essential fatty acids.

An Energy Boost
While a protein shake on its own is fantastic for maintaining your muscles, it is not going to provide you with much energy, which is where all of the extra supplements come in. However, since you are only beginning to experiment with protein shakes, it would be easiest to skip the supplements for now and working on adding your own energy-rich foods to the blend. An easy way to do this is by using a protein powder in a smoothie, mixing it with ingredients such as oats, almond butter and coconut milk.

The world of protein shakes and powders can often seem intimidating, but even if you are not a serious athlete, you are still likely to be able to derive a few benefits from one. However, it is important to keep in mind that protein powders are supplements, and cannot replace your body’s need for a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Easy Post-Workout Snacks

hummus

The food that you eat after a workout is extremely important, as it needs to be something that will help your body to repair muscle tissue while replenishing your glycogen stores, which end up depleted after periods of intense exercise. If you have been looking for some new post-workout snack ideas, these are not only deliciously healthy, but incredibly satisfying too.

Hummus with a Whole Wheat Pita
Hummus, which is a dip that is made from puréed chickpeas, is packed with protein, and a whole wheat pita is a great source of carbohydrates post-workout, making this a fantastic, and tasty, combination. To add some extra zing to this snack, try incorporating some new flavors into your hummus, whether this be red peppers, jalapeños or beets, all of which will provide your body with some extra antioxidants too.

Pistachios

Dry Roasted Pistachios
While all nuts contain protein and healthy fats, pistachios have the highest levels of potassium in comparison to all of the other nuts, and since potassium is an electrolyte that you lose through sweat, pistachios make a great post-workout snack. To add more texture and flavors to this snack, toss some pistachios into a bag with raisins, along with some other nuts and seeds, making your very own portable trail mix.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
A large number of athletes tend to depend on protein shakes for their post-workout snack, but the taste of these can often put many people off. For a healthy and tasty alternative, try whipping up a peanut butter and banana smoothie at home, adding a small touch of protein powder, along with some almond milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The protein in your smoothie will provide your body with long-lasting energy, while the cinnamon will help to control your blood sugar levels after your workout. If you want to make your smoothie even more nutritious, experiment with adding some other fruits, or leafy greens such as kale or spinach, to the mix.

Yogurt parfait

Greek Yoghurt Parfait
Greek yoghurt contains just the right amount of digestible protein to help your muscles recover from a workout, and turning it into a yoghurt parfait makes it even more nutrient-dense. While this may sound like a complicated snack, it will only take you a couple of minutes to put together. Simply pour the yoghurt into a portable container, before topping with granola and berries, making sure to remember to bring along a spoon!

Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Chicken
If you have been working out at home and have access to a kitchen immediately after, then this hot snack promises to hit the spot. Sweet potatoes are a hugely beneficial post-workout food, as they are packed with so many vitamins and nutrients, as well as just the right amount of carbohydrates. Eating this along with some grilled chicken will not only create a well-rounded snack, but will also ensure that your body is receiving all of the lean protein that it needs.

Eating after a workout is important, and you should aim to have a snack within 20 minutes of your training in order for your body to optimally function. While you may feel ravenous after a particularly gruelling session, be sure to keep your snack under 150 calories, so that you do not undo all of the hard work that you have just done.

Creative Ways to Replace the Carbs in Your Diet

Quinoa salad

It is now common knowledge that refined carbohydrates do not deserve a place on your plate, but without having an alternative to turn to, people are still consuming huge amounts of unhealthy carbs. From spiralized vegetable noodles to vegetable crusts on pizzas, here is some inspiration for the next time you are looking for a creative way to replace the carbohydrates in your diet.

Zero-Calorie Pasta
Zero-calorie pasta is made from starch that has been extracted from a yam-like vegetable, which is then mixed with water and limewater before being shredded into pasta shapes. Rather than being a trendy invention, these types of noodles are actually authentically traditional to Japan, and not only are they easy to prepare, but they are also satisfyingly tasty.

Zucchini noodles

Spiralized Vegetable Noodles 
The spiralizing trend has been around for a while now, and is a great way to replace noodles or pasta with vegetables. Spiralizers are easy to use, and only cost a few dollars, or you could even just begin by using a potato peeler, and there are so many vegetables that you can experiment with. For example, rather than eating a standard bowl of pasta that usually amounts to just under 600 calories, spiralized courgettes provide just 30 calories per portion, along with so many more vitamins and minerals.

Vegetable Rice
Rice is a staple food that accompanies just about every meal for so many cultures around the world, but this is another refined carbohydrate that often brings very little benefit to the body. For a healthier alternative, try turning one of your favorite vegetables into rice, using that instead of the traditional version. Whether you use cauliflowers or turnips, all you need for this is a food processor with a chopping or shredding blade, or you can even use a box grater to create the rice by hand. The rice that you will end up with will be extremely versatile, and can be used in so many different types of dishes, from simply roasted with garlic and lemon to flavorful and spicy in a Mexican-inspired dish.

Vegetable pizza crust

Vegetable Pizza Crusts 
Pizza is one of the hardest foods for many people to give up when they are trying to cut back on carbs, and while there may be many gluten-free varieties available, these do not usually even come close to comparing to a standard pizza crust. However, there are many ways in which you can create a crust from vegetables, all of which will hold their shape and structure while providing you with an extra boost of nutrients. From cauliflowers to sweet potatoes to red pepper and flax, if pizza is one of your favorite foods, these are some great ways to make your meals healthier.

A nutritious diet is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can definitely be tricky finding alternatives for all of those staple foods that usually accompany meals. From zucchini pasta to cauliflower pizza crusts, give these dishes a try the next time you find yourself reaching for a bag of pasta or rice.

What You Can Teach Your Children About Healthy Living

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Helping your children to develop healthy living habits while they are still young will really set them up for success in the long run. From educating them about food to making exercise fun, these are a few ways in which you can easily teach your children about how to live a healthy, and happy, life.

Food Education
Many schools do not include modules on healthy food and nutrition in their syllabus, meaning that it is up to you as the parent to ensure that your child learns as much as possible on this subject. There are so many ways to do this, and it is best to use a variety of methods to ensure that they do not become bored. Taking your child grocery shopping with you, and then helping them to prepare a healthy meal by themselves, will teach them about making healthy food choices when shopping, while learning how to read food labels. For those aspiring young chefs out there, help them to create their very own cookbook that features healthy recipes, and introduce them to some television personalities that promote healthy eating, so that they have positive role models to look up to.

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Make Exercise Fun
The recommended amount of physical activity for children is one hour a day, but with children these days spending more and more time indoors, this can be quite difficult for some parents to implement. The key here is ensuring that physical activity is always fun for your kids, and perhaps starting off with a smaller amount before gradually building this up as their fitness levels improve. There are many activities out there that children can get involved in, from dancing to cycling to team sports. For younger children, fun games such as tag or hide and seek will keep them on the move, while older children may enjoy the challenge of a fitness app that tracks their steps.

Positive influence
Be a Positive Influence
Your children will look up to you as a role model, so you need to make sure that you are providing them with a positive influence to follow. This means that, not only should your children be making healthy food choices and staying active, but so should the rest of the family. By working on a healthy lifestyle together, you will increase your chances of success, as you will have so much extra support, and it will also help with family bonding. When it comes to picking out rewards for your children, do not veer towards the standard, unhealthy, choices, such as extra television time, and opt instead for a reward that is in line with your healthy living practices, such as a family outing to the local national park.

As a parent, there are many ways in which you can encourage your children to be making healthy choices from a young age. By doing so, you will be helping to set healthy habits that they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Woman meditating

There are a number of different factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, from the food that you eat to the amount that you sleep. While this may be common knowledge, putting these ideas into action is often more difficult than it might seem, so take a look at these following tips to help you get started.

Go Primal
Diet fads come and go, but the one piece of information that has never changed is that unprocessed foods are the best when it comes to staying healthy. Nicknamed as the primal diet, a diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and eggs is ideal, and keeping the primal imagery in mind will help you to avoid anything that is processed or filled with sugar.

Positivity
Keeping your mood uplifted is essential when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, as stress can lead to a number of different health conditions. There are many ways to bring positivity into your life, from engaging in new activities with friends, meditation and reflection, or even doing a kind deed for someone else. You should also try to laugh more, as studies have shown that not only does this keep positivity high and stress levels low, but people who laugh more usually outlive those who do not.

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Choose to Walk
Research has shown that some of the health benefits of daily exercise include an increased life span, a reduced risk of a multitude of diseases, and higher bone density, yet this is something that many still avoid. When it comes to traveling short distances, choosing to walk over taking a form of transport can make a huge difference, as can taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Eat the Rainbow
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the greens are often the ones that are most heavily promoted, but you really need to be eating a wide variety. To help you to remember to do so, try to make sure that you are ‘eating the rainbow’, consuming a fruit or vegetable of each color each day, as the different colors all indicate different nutrients.

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Go to Bed Earlier
The time when you are sleeping is when your body works to heal and regenerate, meaning that if you are sleep deprived, even for just a couple of nights, this can begin to take a serious toll on your health. The optimum amount of sleep is around eight hours a night, and a simple way to ensure that you are sleeping for this long is by going to bed at around 10pm, making sure that you turn off your computer and any other electronic devices, as this will drastically interfere with your sleep quality.

A healthy lifestyle does not need to be at all difficult, and it is usually possible to just tweak your current lifestyle in a few ways in order to make it slightly healthier. From spending more time planning your meals to ensure that you are eating a good variety of foods, to sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to bedtime, these tips are all easy to follow, and can have a significant improvement in your overall health.

Reducing the Appearance of Cellulite and Sagging Skin

Cellulite and loose skin often go hand-in-hand with aging, mostly due to the way in which the skin begins to lose elasticity, especially after the age of 50. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which you can reduce the appearance of these skin issues, from eating foods that boost elasticity to using products that will help to tighten your skin.

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Diet and Nutrition
The foods that you eat have a huge impact on your skin, and if you are trying to reduce the appearance of cellulite and sagging skin, it only makes sense to eat more of the foods that are able to help you on this quest. Foods that are low in calories but high in protein will help to strengthen your skin’s connective tissues, while fruits and vegetables will contain plenty of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Another easy way to boost your skin’s elasticity is by ensuring that you stay hydrated, as dehydration will only exacerbate any cellulite or sagging skin. If you have a difficult time keeping your diet on track, it may be worth investing in some vitamins and supplements to ensure that your skin is receiving all of the nutrients that it needs.

Creams
There are so many different cellulite creams out there, and if this is a route that you want to take, it is important to remember that, chances are, the results that you will see are only going to be temporary. Products that contain caffeine are great for temporarily tightening the skin, while those containing vitamin A will help to thicken the outer layer of skin, therefore making any bumps much less visible.

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Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is a technique that has been practiced around the world for centuries, but only became popular in the US in the 1960’s. Dry brushes are easily available, and while this may seem like a method that is slightly too simple to help with the seemingly impossible task of banishing cellulite, it is actually extremely efficient. Dry brushing works by softening the hard fat cells that gather under the skin, thereby helping to distribute them more evenly around your body, while also clearing away the toxins that cause damage to the skin’s connective tissues.

Self-Tanner
Using a self-tanner is another temporary method to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and to make your skin appear much tighter overall. The darker your skin color is, the less obvious your cellulite will seem, but it is important to only use a sunless tanner, as UV rays will only break down your natural collagen even more. There are many different self-tanning products out there, from lotions to sprays, making this method ideal if you need a quick and easy fix, as well as a boost in confidence, for a day at the beach.

Cellulite and sagging skin are both extremely common, and while women all over the world may spend millions each year on anti-cellulite treatments, it is always worth seeking out the more gentle and natural solutions first. From adding collagen-boosting foods to your diet, to dry brushing your cellulite away, these methods are all worth trying if you are looking for skin that is smooth, firm and tight.

Tips for Living a Wellness Lifestyle

For those who want to make long-lasting improvements to their health, it is usually necessary to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. From a healthy body to a balanced mind, these tips will help you to live more of a wellness lifestyle.

Exciting but Healthy Ingredients
The foods that you put into your body have a huge impact on your overall health, but the idea of healthy eating can often put many people off from a wellness diet. However, rather than focussing on the foods that you should not be eating, try to seek out new and exciting foods that are nutrient dense, because there is a whole world of fascinating, and extremely tasty, ingredients out there.

Woman seasoning fish with herbs

Herbs Instead of Salt
While a portion of herbs may be small in size, they are absolutely packed with antioxidants, are able to reduce blood pressure, and can often be a great replacement for a big shake of salt. For a sweet and spicy flavor, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon are great, while Italian seasonings work well for a light lunch. For stronger flavors in the evening, opt for basil, thyme, pepper, or garam masala.

Reduce Stress
Many may think that stress is just a mental or emotion condition, but it actually physically affects the body in many detrimental ways. In order to avoid this, you need to take steps to severely reduce the amount of stress that you experience, whether by meditating every day or by identifying the factors that cause you stress, and working out how best to eliminate them.

Woman exercising

Daily Exercise
The healthiest people out there are the ones that have some sort of exercise each and every day. Exercise does not need to be boring, and there are so many different forms of it that just about anyone can find a way to exercise that excites them. From learning a new water sport to signing up for a gardening club, staying active, and outdoors as much as possible, will help you to achieve a wellness lifestyle. As long as it gets your heart pumping and your joints moving, it will not be long before you begin to see the benefits that your regular exercise is bringing to your body.

Overhaul Your Morning Routine
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, and can have the effect of either building you up to be as productive and efficient as possible, or going in the opposite direction and wrapping your brain in a thick, dense fog. There are many ways to improve your morning routine, from taking five minutes for some peace and quiet to lower stress levels, to sipping on a glass of warm lemon water to give your body a hydrating boost to organizing your home in a way that makes life more convenient for you in the mornings.

It is so important to take care of your body, but many people make lifestyle choices that do just the opposite. By implementing each of these tips, you will soon be well on your way to living a wellness lifestyle, and enjoying the many benefits that come with this.

What’s in That Gourmet Food Box?

Gourmet food

Food delivery subscription services make it extremely easy to eat healthy, delicious meals throughout the month, and there are now so many companies out there that offer this service, meaning that you are sure to be able to find one that you truly love. From fresh, pre-portioned ingredients with chef-created recipe cards to inspiring food and music pairings, these gourmet food boxes are able to instantly transform your home dining experience.

HelloFresh
For those of you that dread that weekly trip to the grocery store, HelloFresh is the food subscription service for you. After signing up, HelloFresh will provide you with some recipes to browse and choose from. Once you have picked the ones that you like, you will receive a box containing fresh, pre-portioned ingredients, along with recipe cards, giving you everything that you need to create that gourmet meal.

Try the World
Try the World is quite unique in the way that they collaborate with notable chefs from all over the world. Each month, they pick a chef from a different country to curate a gourmet food box, picking items that are only of the highest quality, as well as truly authentic to their country. The products chosen are sourced from small family-owned business who use artisan methods of production, creating products that cannot usually be found elsewhere. Each box also comes with a culture guide to that country, as well as recipe ideas on different ways that you can use your gourmet products.

Bon Appetit Box
This subscription food box is aimed at those who appreciate French food, delivering the finest gourmet foods from France straight to your doorstep. Bon Appetit offers a few different types of boxes, such as the Paris Aperitif Box, the Café Gourmand Box and the French Breakfast Box, each focusing on a certain range of products.

Peach Dish
Peach Dish focuses on fresh Southern produce, putting their own unique twist on classic Southern dishes. The chosen ingredients are always locally grown and seasonal, with the menu featuring dishes such as Herbed Hanger Steak with Green Beans, Red Onions and Grits, and a Corn, Summer Squash and Basil Risotto. All of the ingredients are pre-measured to work with the recipe cards provided, and the dishes on the menu change weekly as well as seasonally, ensuring that you always enjoy a fantastic variety of fresh and healthy meals.

Turntable Kitchen
For those who enjoy good music with their food, Turntable Kitchen will be a new favorite. The company’s Pairing Box is a specially curated food and music experience, with each box containing an exclusive 7” vinyl, a digital mixtape, a few premium, unique ingredients, seasonal recipes and tasting notes. Themes that past boxes have been based around include A Bistro Dinner, A Farmhouse Feast, A Scandinavian Gathering, and Pizza Party, with many customers choosing to expand on these inspired ideas and create entire dinner parties around each theme.

Gourmet food subscription boxes allow you to try new and exciting foods and recipes in a way that is ever so convenient. Whether you want to sample a few unusual ingredients each month, or would prefer full meals with ingredients that have been perfectly prepared and portioned out, each of these food boxes could add a new element to a standard home-cooked meal.

Beach Foods That Won’t Leave You Feeling Bloated

Whether you prefer to pack your own lunch or eat at a beachside cafe, there are certain foods that you should be avoiding, to prevent you from feeling cramped and bloated. OROGOLD takes a look at some of the different foods that will leave you feeling invigorated and full of energy – perfect for a day at the beach!

Tortilla wraps served in a plate

Wraps
Not only do conventional sandwiches tend to get soggy, but they also easily fall apart at the beach, which is why tortilla wraps are one great alternative. They are also extremely easy to make at home, and should include plenty of dark leafy greens, as these are a fantastic way to add some volume without the heavy calories. Another alternative would be to make lettuce wraps, which, although more inconvenient, are much easier to eat with one hand than a salad. Once you have created your lettuce wraps, OROGOLD recommends wrapping them in foil, which you can then easily peel back and eat at the beach.

Healthy dip with an assortment of vegetables.

Healthy Dips
Fruit and vegetable slices with a healthy dip is a great snack to pack along to bring to the beach with you, and is extremely cooler-friendly. Apples with peanut butter is a perfect balance of fruit and protein, while hummus with fresh vegetables will fill you up without weighing you down. If you are bringing along a dip that contains dairy, OROGOLD reminds you to also pack a thermometer, so that you can ensure that the dairy doesn’t fall below a certain temperature.

Fruit salad on a plate.

High-Potassium Fruits
If you aren’t bringing any food to the beach with you, fruit is an easy one to find at most beach vendors. Fruits that are rich in potassium, such as bananas, melons and papayas, will help to offset any excess sodium in your body, which is one of the main causes of bloating. Fruits will also help to keep you hydrated during the day, and will give your body a boost of antioxidants, which will help you to look and feel even healthier.

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a much healthier alternative to the frozen yogurt you buy in stores, as that is usually packed with sugar. In addition to being full of protein, Greek yogurt also helps with digestion, which will ensure that you don’t feel cramped or bloated. Greek yogurt is easy to find at beachside convenience stores, but, for an extra treat, OROGOLD recommends freezing some at home the night before, and taking along some chopped frozen fruit to mix with it at the beach.

As satisfying as it may feel to indulge in a massive spread at the beachside pizzeria, or chow down on some burgers from the beach bar, the satisfying feeling won’t last for long, and you will soon end up feeling heavy and bloated, and unable to fully enjoy the rest of your day. OROGOLD recommends always bringing along some healthy beach snacks, just in case you can’t find any good alternatives while you are there.