Skip to content

12 Foods People Eat at the Beach—But Shouldn't!

Some of your go-to beach foods could be sabotaging your sunny day by the ocean.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Now that the sun is out, the temperatures are rising, and the days are longer, it's no surprise that everyone wants to hit the beach ASAP. And while everyone talks about the food you shouldn't eat before going swimming, there's actually a list of off-limit foods that aren't suitable for the beach, in general.

Noshing on the wrong foods can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, which isn't ideal for a day spent in your bathing suit. What's more, some food and drinks can even make you more sensitive to the sun's UV rays. Yikes!

That's why you should think twice before packing any of the following items in your beach bag. And next, find out what you should be snacking on with the 27 Best Snacks for Summer Outings.

White Wine

Shutterstock

We know it's more refreshing than red, but leave the Chardonnay at home. Recent studies suggest that consuming certain types of alcohol—especially white wine—can increase your chances of getting Melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

Why? Because this type of alcohol strips away the antioxidants and essential vitamins that help you withstand the sun's damaging rays. It's even higher for those who drink seven or more glasses per week!

However, red wine is excellent in helping you avoid those terrible UV rays (gotta love those flavonoids).

Beef

person grilling burgers with cheese and bacon on large grill
Shutterstock / Matej Kastelic

Sure, summer and a burger go together like nothing else, but eating one at the beach could make you feel extra hot—and not in a good way. Research shows that the high protein and fats found in beef make it harder for your body to digest so it has to use more energy. The result? A spike in body temperature, which can make the summer heat feel even more unbearable.

Instead, get creative and try these 21 Grill Recipes That Aren't Burgers.

Doritos

doritos in bag
Shutterstock

Sure, all chips are hard to put down, but none are more addictive than Doritos. The reason? The recipe was specially designed so that no single flavor overpowers another. And when foods lack a dominant flavor, people are less apt to feel full—and, in turn, consume more, say researchers.

Crazy fact: One of the first ingredients on Dorito's label is monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive that's been known to increase appetite and make foods taste more appetizing. Stay away from this addictive snack when you're at the beach.

Coffee

friends holding iced coffee
Shutterstock

There's a time and a place for your cup of joe, and the beach is one where you'd want to ditch your caffeine. First, coffee acts like a diuretic, which means that consuming it will make your body expel more salt and water, leaving you dehydrated.

Also, according to a study in Gut, "Coffee has been shown to promote the release of gastrin, which can increase colonic spike and motor activity." Translation: You'll need to hit the bathroom to have a "bm," as mom used to call it. It's just one of the 25 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Drink Coffee.

Tea

iced tea
Shutterstock

Similar to coffee, sipping tea excretes water and sodium in your body, leaving you dehydrated. If you're one of those people who absolutely need your caffeine fix or else you'll cease to function, make sure to drink plenty of water, too.

Frozen Drinks

frozen margaritaas
Shutterstock

There's nothing like relaxing at the beach with a frozen drink in your hand, right? Well, whether it's a piña colada or a strawberry daiquiri, those fruity drinks offer zero nutritional value whatsoever. Instead, they're sugar bombs that will cause your energy levels to spike and crash, possibly give you a headache, and definitely leave you with a bloated stomach.

RELATED: The 7 Foods to Eat to Help Prevent Sunburn

Corn

corn on the cob
Shutterstock

Corn by itself might not be at the top of your beach day grocery list, but there's a good chance it can make its way into a salad or dip. The problem? This fiber-rich vegetable may be the source of your ballooning midsection that you worked so hard to deflate before a beach day.

"Not all types of carbs are easy to digest, and corn contains a type of carbohydrate that is difficult for the body to break down," registered dietician and Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board Member Lisa Moskovitz, CDN, says. "This can lead to GI bacteria fermentation and trapped air and gas, which causes bloating."

Cruciferous Veggies

veggies
Shutterstock

Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are great sources of vitamin C and satiating fiber, but they can also make you bloated and gassy. And who wants to feel like that at the beach? Save these 17 Ways to Use Cauliflower for another time!

Pretzels

pretzels
Shutterstock

A common and seemingly-innocent beach snack, pretzels aren't any better than a bag of potato chips. They're just sodium and will turn your belly into a balloon faster than you can ask for a drink of water.

Dried Fruit

dried fruit
Shutterstock

Dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fiber, but it can also be a musical fruit for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugar. To keep your stomach flat, dial down your dried fruit to nut ratio in trail mixes and opt for fresh fruit. We recommend watermelon, which has a ton of water in it.

RELATED: 5 Most Effective Exercises To Get Toned For Beach Season, Trainer Says

Deli Meats

Processed deli meat cold cuts
Shutterstock

Reconsider that deli sandwich for a beachside lunch. A standard serving of deli meat packs up to 790 milligrams of sodium—a third of the daily recommended intake. Now, consider that most people pile their bread with far more meat than what's considered to be "standard," and processed cheese isn't much better. Some varieties, like feta, carry 400 milligrams of salt in a quarter-cup serving.

"High sodium foods like deli meats, bacon and cheeses cause water retention," explains Kristen Carlucci Haase, R.D. "And that bloating and extra water weight can make cellulite more visible."

Sodas and Other Sweetened Beverages

soda
Shutterstock

Talk about instant bloat; we're not sure why anyone would want to drink sugary, carbonated beverages on the beach. Sugar has been shown to accelerate collagen's demise, which can lead to the appearance of cellulite. Though the sweet stuff is found in everything from bread to cereal, it's most abundantly found in sweetened beverages like processed juices, energy drinks, soda, and even your favorite diet soda. Stick to water on the beach, and you'll feel and look your best.