20 Packable Foods Perfect for a Day at the Beach

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Bring Your Own

Packing snacks, sandwiches and salads for the beach requires a bit of planning, but pays off once you’re settled on the beach and don’t want to spend your entire day standing in line on the boardwalk waiting for mediocre pizza and nachos. When plotting what to bring, think of where it’s going to be stored, how hardy a food is and packing material — even the best coolers can leave your sandwiches soggy if you don’t pack them the right way. Something that always works? These colorful Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, which can be made in the morning and kept chilled for an easy lunch or afternoon snack on the beach.

Get the Recipe:Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches

Chocolate-Chip Sunflower-Butter Muffins

These muffins get better after a stay in the freezer, so pop them in the cooler straight from the freezer to use as ice packs for the rest of your snacks. Once they thaw, you can dig in!

Get the Recipe:Chocolate-Chip Sunflower-Butter Muffins

Sesame Noodle Salad

Add some leftover grilled chicken to this noodle salad and you have an all-in-one beach lunch. Skip the protein and serve this as a side to sandwiches or burgers if your beach has a grill.

Get the Recipe:Sesame Noodle Salad

Camping Muffuletta

A Muffuletta is a pressed sandwich — filled with cold cuts, cheese and an olive spread — that only gets better as it sits. Food Network Kitchen designed this pressed sandwich for camping in the great outdoors, but it’s perfect for a day at the beach, too. Prep it in the morning and pack it at the bottom of your cooler to let the weight of your other goodies flatten it.

Get the Recipe:Camping Muffuletta

Mom’s Amped Up Snack Mix

Valerie Bertinelli’s homemade snack mix is better than anything you’ll find in the snack aisle of the grocery store. One secret she insists on: Always use the honey-sweetened corn cereal for that little extra sweet ‘n’ salty combination.

Get the Recipe:Mom’s Amped Up Snack Mix

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Ina adds frozen spinach, mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice to homemade pesto as the sauce for this colorful pasta salad.

Get the Recipe:Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Sparkling Summer Lemonade

Pack a beverage cooler with this refreshing lemonade and everyone will thank you. Pack seltzer separately so every sip is bubbly.

Get the Recipe:Sparkling Summer Lemonade

Rolled Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Parsley Aioli

Opt for something on the lighter side with Giada De Laurentiis’ lightened-up chicken salad wraps. She uses an aoil made with low-fat yogurt, mayonnaise, arugula and parsley mixed with chicken breast and wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla for a beach-friendly bite.

Get the Recipe:Rolled Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Parsley Aioli

No-Bake Healthy Strawberry-Almond Cereal Bars

The flavors of summer and strawberry shortcake have found their way into your favorite crunchy childhood treat. We decreased the amount of marshmallows (AKA sugar) and stirred in some almond butter and freeze dried strawberries. Each sweet-tart bar is a generous size.

Get the Recipe:No-Bake Healthy Strawberry-Almond Cereal Bars

Ham and Scallion Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches

These kid-size pinwheel wraps are perfect for little grazers. They can grab a slice and get back to building sandcastles quickly.

Get the Recipe:Kids Can Make: Ham and Scallion Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches

Roasted Chickpeas, 3 Ways

The best kind of beach snack is one you can keep munching on throughout the day. Instead of going for a bag of chips, use standard pantry ingredients to make 3 varieties that kids will love — taco, vinegar-lime and onion-garlic. The longer you dry the chickpeas before baking, the crisper they will be. If you have time, strain and rinse them, pat them dry, spread them on a baking sheet and refrigerate them, uncovered, overnight, before roasting.

Get the Recipe:Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways

Watermelon Salad

Upgrade your fruit salad with a quick mint and lemon simple syrup. We like a mix of watermelon and blueberries here, but feel free to improvise with whatever summer fruits you have on hand.

Get the Recipe:Watermelon Salad

Caesar Club Sandwich

Give your beach lunch that Ina upgrade with roasted chicken breast, crispy pancetta and a Caesar dressing you’ll definitely be using in the future. Serve it all on ciabatta for an elevated alfresco meal.

Get the Recipe:Caesar Club Sandwich

Mango-Peanut Slaw

Pack the peanuts and cilantro garnish separately from the slaw to keep them crunchy and fresh. Mango adds a tropical element to this dish so you’ll feel like you’re on vacation even if you’re at your hometown waterfront.

Get the Recipe:Mango-Peanut Slaw

Pineapple Salad with Vanilla Custard Sauce

Sturdy pineapple can survive a day in a cold cooler. Make the salad and custard separately and let everyone decide on their own ratio of fruit to custard at the beach.

Get the Recipe:Pineapple Salad with Vanilla Custard Sauce

Smashed Chickpea and Eggplant Pressed Sandwich

This veg-forward sandwich feeds a crowd and packs many of the flavors of your favorite Middle Eastern mezze platter between slices of ciabatta.

Get the Recipe:Smashed Chickpea and Eggplant Pressed Sandwich

Fresh Peach Salad

This seasonal salad is the perfect side for sandwiches on the beach. Store the dressing separately and dress the salad right before you’re going to eat.

Get the Recipe:Fresh Peach Salad

The Best Chicken Salad

Gently poaching chicken breasts in an aromatic broth yields tender morsels for folding into a bright and herby homemade dressing. Serve it solo on a bed of lettuce with sliced tomatoes or in half an avocado. Pack it separately from bread, crisp bacon and other sandwich fixings for a killer chicken club that you can construct at the beach.

Get the Recipe:The Best Chicken Salad

Make-Ahead Turkey and Swiss Sandwiches

A homemade carrot salad studded with caraway seeds and fresh herbs takes these turkey sandwiches to the next level. Bonus: they can be assembled hours in advance and keeps beautifully in the fridge or a cooler. Valerie’s secret to keeping the toasted bread crispy? Cool the slices upright to let the steam escape.

Get the Recipe:Make-Ahead Turkey and Swiss Sandwiches with Carrot Slaw

Summer Chopped Salad with Ranch Dressing

This versatile salad is a perfect complement to a sandwich on the beach, but can also stand on its own as a main dish — take a cue from reviewers who like to add grilled chicken, avocado and chickpeas to make it a bit more filling.

Get the Recipe:Summer Chopped Salad with Ranch Dressing

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