by 4 July 22, 2014[caption id="attachment_8168" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Image via Your Family. Click on the picture and find out how to crochet that bag, then feel free to send me one.[/caption]What’s the first thing you do when you get to the beach? I like to put my toes in the sand as soon as possible, but it’s likely that the prime real estate on the to-do list belongs to “go to the grocery store.” We arrived in Barbados last week and had a running list of store items before we even saw the ocean. The first store run is controlled chaos. When you have nothing, everything sounds like a necessity. Plus, there’s something about being at the beach that makes light eating and heavy snacking feel like an appropriate culinary choice. That means everything from BBQ Lays to organic local pineapple make it into your basket. If you want to conquer the store you need parameters. I am all about spontaneously picking up those cute little Nutella to-go snack packs that are perfectly accompanied with fourteen (yes, I counted) little cookie sticks. That’s why I choose parameters over plans, because I love Nutella. I think I will make you the perfect beach trip stock-ist. Six guidelines from this (overly-excited) beach shopper to you. Simple Breakfast You don’t want meals to keep you away from the beach or the pool. Make breakfast something you will enjoy, but will come together quickly. Plan for two breakfasts out if you are there for 5-7 days. Breakfast is the perfect time to stretch the use of the incredible edible egg. Try a simple scramble full of veggies and cheese, eggs fried and served with avocado, or soft-boiled (6 minutes in a pot of boiling water and 2 minutes in an ice bath) with toast. And always, always, always, accompanied with an overflowing bowl of fresh fruit. Splurge on the best juice and good coffee and every morning is a treat. Easy Lunch Only Lunch should require you to turn on no more than one cooking device. If you can make it zero, even better. You want to make smoothies for lunch? Great. The blender was your one thing. I see beach lunches as the perfect opportunity to indulge in the packaged goods I’d never let enter into my normal shopping basket. Open the turkey for sandwiches and bust out the Sunchips. Cheetos? Yes. Famous Amos? Wouldn't leave the store without them. If you want to be the kind of beacher who eats salads, that’s awesome for you. Bake or grill chicken one night when you are eating in and have it ready to go in the fridge. This can make putting lunch together hassle-free! Leave Out Dinner You will probably eat dinner out a few times and then when it comes to eating dinner in, you'll want fresh items: fresh fish, fresh produce, fresh ground beef. The opposite of lunch, really. Because you want fresh and because dinner holds a special place in our hearts, it tends to require more thinking and planning. Shopping for dinner starts to elongate your first grocery trip, which tends to strip you of your sanity. Leave space in your week for a quick trip to the store or the local market for fresh dinners in. Make a Snack Pack Snacks at the beach, snacks when you get in from the sun, snacks when you go to the pool-- it’s the way the beach works. Under the fluorescent lights of the big box store it’s easy to buy every snack. So before you get there, choose a number of snacks that works for your group. I say 4-5 should leave you sitting pretty. Try to make one of them fresh and always add a bowl of fruit that doesn't count as part of your perfect number. It’s a bonus snack. Want a tip? Do snack prep. Make a quick bruschetta with nothing but tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt. Put it in the fridge and have it ready. Your fresh fruit? You know, the bonus snack and perfect breakfast accompaniment? Put it in bowl. Really. Combine your berries, cut up a day or two's worth of peaches or apples and put it all together. Fruit in a bowl gets eaten. Fruit in its container gets left alone. I don’t know why that's true, but it is. Pick a Signature Drink Sangria? Margaritas? Mojitos? The options are endless. Pick one cocktail you are going to make yourself and then drink others at the beach bar or while you sit on a killer patio overlooking the ocean. You will become a pro at that drink and you won’t spend an extra $100 in alcohol accessories. Throw in some beer, some bottled water, a case of La Croix, and get to the beach. Consolidate Your Non-consumables So much of eating at the beach can be a treat, but when it comes to things like shampoo and plates, just get what you need. Don’t be too picky. If you can share shampoo with your group, share. Don’t get napkins and paper towels when just one pack will do. Don’t cut corners when it comes to sun block, but other than that, get with the laid-back beach vibe, girl! Leave Room for the Random “I just kinda want that” is a totally fine reason for one or two items to make the final grocery cut. When I am at the beach I just kind of want to eat bagel chips. Why? There isn't an answer for that question. I feel like I should tell you that on this trip I bought a packet of Tang. All orange and fake and delicious. Go with it. Say yes a time or two. You’ll be home next week, and that’s when "no" becomes the right answer.
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