By Cyndie Reichert, BA, RN
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream….
I don’t know how that got associated with going to the beach, but it did. I suppose each of us has a specific beach, a place “down the shore” that we call home. My family always goes to Cape May, but lately when I take a day trip, I lean towards Asbury Park. As soon as I get close enough to smell that salt air, my stomach grumbles in anticipation of the delicious treats and meals I plan to have when I’m in town.
Sadly, I’m not the 3 year old girl with a Coke float in one hand, a chocolate dipped cone in another, and no care in the world about my stomach in that bikini. (Hey, at 3, I had a LOT of body confidence). So, I did some research on boardwalk snacks. My goal was to determine if it is possible to strut up and down Wildwood and enjoy a summery treat. Some of what I found surprised me.
First, if you have a hankering for ice cream, try a frozen custard from Kohr’s Bros instead. A small vanilla cone has 130 calories with only 6 grams of fat. By comparison, a small cone at DQ has 230 calories!
If you want a frozen sweet snack but lactose isn’t your friend, Shaved or Hawaiian Ice is a great option. With no fat at all, it comes in at 60 calories for that huge container. Just watch it if you are diabetic, because it does have 15 grams of carbs.
Chocolate-covered fruit like raspberries (those can be hard to find, but I know you can get them in Cape May), frozen bananas, and strawberries always add some nutritional value to your snack. Double bonus if you choose dark chocolate for the antioxidant factors. Roasted nuts can help if you want some crunch. The protein in the nuts keeps you full longer, but the candy coated ones can be high in calories.
Two delightful treats surprised me in their lower calorie factor: cotton candy contains only 220 calories (but please brush those teeth!); and 3 cups of caramel corn has only 200 calories.
A word of caution: avoid that Italian sausage and pepper sandwich, or at least limit it to one time during your stay. It comes in at a whopping 850 calories.
Lastly, it stinks to think about numbers and calories while on a relaxing trip. That may not be your thing at all, and I understand, because it can keep you from being “in the moment.” So enjoy your seaside treats. Share them with your friends and family, talk some longer walks while you are in town and try to focus on vacation in moderation. Now go enjoy some Vitamin Sea!