What to pack for a safe gluten-free beach trip

It’s 4th of July week, a popular time for people to visit the beach for some fun in the sun. No matter what beach you’re headed to, one thing is for certain: You’ll need to bring a proper beach bag, filled with all the things you’ll need for a fun day at the shore. If you’re gluten-free, this presents a few challenges—but nothing that can’t be overcome with a little preparation. Read on to learn what you should pack to head to the beach for a fun, safe, and delicious day!

Beach Bag Essentials

  • Your swimsuit. Unless you’re already wearing it under your street clothes, of course.
  • A towel or two. For sitting on the beach and/or for drying off after a dip in the ocean.
  • A beach chair. More comfortable for your tushie than sitting on a beach towel all day!
  • Flip flops. Perfect for walking on the beach or the boardwalk!
  • Beach tags. Many Jersey shore towns require that you purchase beach tags to visit their beaches. Research your destination in advance, find out what kind of tags you need to buy, and learn where they’re available for purchase.

Safety Essentials

  • Sunscreen. This one’s doubly important for anyone who’s gluten-free. Not only do you need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, but you also need to pick a sunscreen that doesn’t contain gluten. Think about it: If you use your hands to slather something that contains gluten all over yourself, and then you touch food and eat it, guess where that gluten ends up? That’s right—it’ll get onto all the yummy things you were planning to eat, and then make your day at the beach much less fun. So to be safe, pick a gluten-free sunscreen. For my face, I like Juice Beauty’s SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer, and for my body, Juice Beauty’s SPF Sport Sunscreen.
  • Bug bands. If you’re in a location where mosquitoes love to bite tourists, consider getting bug bands—they’re essentially bracelets that you can wear to keep the bugs at bay.
  • Sunglasses. Choose shades that protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • A stylish hat. A wide-brimmed hat can help protect the top of your head from getting burned.
  • Water. This is the best beverage to have when you’re out in the heat for long periods of time. It’s really important to stay well-hydrated on hot summer days, so bring plenty of water and drink it often!

Safe-to-Eat Foods

  • Fresh fruit. Bananas, apples, and oranges are healthy, portable snacks. Bring a few along in your tote bag!
  • Frozen grapes. This treat tastes decadent but is nutritious and hydrating—the perfect cool snack for a hot day.
  • Frozen juice boxes. Not only can these double as ice packs for a while, they’re also a tasty beverage to have at the beach. My favorite is R. W. Knudsen’s juice boxes.
  • Safe sammies. At home before you leave, make gluten-free sandwiches to enjoy. I’m partial to Glutino white bread and Applegate meats and cheeses. Seal ‘em up in individual sandwich bags.
  • Cut-up veggies. Pack some baby carrots, cut celery, sliced bell peppers, and any other veggies you like in a plastic container. Pack them in the cooler alongside your favorite dip, like Sabra hummus.
  • Yummy snacks. What’s a fun beach day without a few treats? Just be smart about what you pack. Remember, you’re going to be out in the heat all day, so it’s best to leave your chocolate products—which could melt and be difficult to eat—at home. Instead, bring easy-to-munch snacks like Glutino Animal Crackers (Graham or Original), tangy/sweet Glutino Lemon Wafer Bites, or (my all-time favorite) Glutino Vanilla Crème Cookies. If you’d prefer savory snacks, try Glutino Pretzel Chips or Glutino Pretzel Sesame Rings.
  • A cooler to keep it all safe. Put all food that needs to be kept cold—like sandwiches, fruits and veggies, meats and cheeses, dips, etc.—into a cooler that has plenty of ice and/or ice packs to keep the food at a proper temperature.

Creature Comforts

  • A good book. Reading’s a great activity for when you’re catching rays on the beach. Bring that new book you’ve been meaning to read for a while now—or bring and reread an old favorite.
  • Magazines. Don’t we all have a lump of magazines that keeps piling up in the corner? (C’mon, admit it, this can’t just be me…) Grab a few and stash them in your tote for some easy beach reading.
  • Your favorite tunes. Looking to drown out the sounds of the other beachgoers? Bring your iPod or other music player. Make yourself a summer playlist or get yourself a new album to enjoy.
  • Lip balm and lip gloss. Again, gluten-free folks need to be careful here. You’ll need to buy products that are safe for you to use. Desert Essence has a variety of quality gluten-free lip balms (you can find them at Whole Foods) and Bite Beauty has amazing gluten-free lip glosses. Tip: Avoid bringing lipstick to the beach. Gloss and balms are fine, but lipsticks will likely melt on really hot days!

No matter where you are this holiday weekend, have a happy, safe, and gluten-free 4th of July!

Disclaimer: Some of the products mentioned in this article were provided to me by Glutino for review purposes. Under no circumstances has this affected the integrity of the article. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t cover it here. See my personal disclaimer for more details.

I first posted this article on Examiner.com.

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