Have a Better Beach Day

Hot, sunny, and steamy weekends are the perfect time to pack up the family and head toward water.

Maybe you seek a relaxing day on the lake, an activity-filled afternoon at the beach, or a vigorous rafting adventure. In any case, packing for the day requires some planning. You must decide not only where to go and what to do, but also what to wear and what to eat. The latter decisions are just as important as the former to ensure you have a comfortable, energized, and successful outing.

Consider sustainable products and foods when deciding what to bring along. Here are five ways to make life a little easier and the planet a little happier.

>> Tired of your old ubiquitous, generic swimsuit cover-up? Embrace a new look, continue your ethical lifestyle, and shop organic clothing lines. Find companies that work hard to craft fashions that will keep you cool and stylish this summer without sacri­ficing your beliefs.

>> Choose reusable containers to reduce your use of disposable baggies and bottles. Look for products free of harmful chemicals and toxins to avoid their leaching into your food and beverages. Pack full meals in a bento box; with separate compartments so your food won’t cross-contaminate, the bento box is an all-in-one storage container for sandwiches, crackers, veggies, and small drinks.

>> Rev up your internal engines and load up on fresh fruits and veggies. Raw foods are natural body-boosters because they don’t require a ton of energy to digest—so, our bodies can redistribute that energy to keep us moving through the day. Raw foods with high water content, such as cucumber and watermelon, prevent dehydration, too.

>> Want to avoid beach-day bloat? Look for energizing superfoods that will kick-start your day without ruining your bikini bod. Superfoods are packed with antioxi­dants, vitamins, and minerals, and many are linked to numerous health benefits. Try a yogurt parfait for breakfast—made with nonfat Greek yogurt, berries, and quinoa—then pack almonds, cherries, or pineapple for an afternoon snack.

>> Comfort is key, especially when it comes to your feet. Step into sustainable shoes and seek out companies that make footwear from recycled materials such as yoga mats. Avoid blisters and foot fatigue by choosing comfy gear for the whole family so you are better able to focus on the day’s activities without worrying about sore feet. And, know that each step you take is a step toward a healthier planet.

Be Beach-Day Active

Bored with building the same old sand castle? Get up and engage in some healthy competition!  

>> Jump over the waves and see who can do the most hops in a row.

>> Take games to the sand: think volleyball, soccer, or disc golf; your body works harder (and burns more calories) when it has to adjust to the soft, uneven ground.

>> Rent a canoe or paddle boat to make manual transportation part of your day; you can give your muscles a break once you’re out on the water, but eventually you’ll need to paddle inland.

Protect Skin in the Sun

Before you head out, remember these tips to prevent sunburn, wrinkles, eye damage, and the big bad skin cancer.

>> Purchase and pack ahead of time: Organic, water-resistant, SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreens may be harder to find after you’re already en route. Same goes for UV protective clothing, SPF 15 lip balm, and sunglasses that protect from at least 99 percent of UV light.

>> Be hat-savvy: Plan to pair a wide-brimmed hat with your outfit; look for one that covers your face, neck, and ears. Avoid baseball caps and hats with holes.

>> Reapply and cover up: Set a timer to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and cover your skin with breathable material (such as organic cotton) when you’re not in the water.