woman on beach with fruit

Summer is in full swing and you may be planning a trip to the beach. Whether you want to show off the beach body you worked hard to build, or just want to relax while catching some sun, no one likes that bloated, full feeling that can happen after we eat. There are a number of snacks you may want to avoid packing in your cooler that can cause “beach bloat” as you’re lounging on the sand. Here are some foods to avoid before going to the beach and some healthier alternatives that you can enjoy while soaking up some sun.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages can cause gas retention and stomach bulge.

Substitute: Rather than reaching for the soda, try flat water or ginger tea. Ginger has a neutralizing effect on your gastrointestinal tract.

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Salt and Sodium

Curb salt and sodium intake. When you eat sodium-rich food, you retain more water which can leave you looking and feeling bloated. Foods like bananas, avocados, mangos, and papayas can help because they are high in potassium. Potassium acts as a natural diuretic, helping to flush the system of excess sodium.

Substitute: Salt-free seasonings such as Mrs. Dash

Cruciferous Vegetables and Legumes

Foods like broccoli, kale, and cabbage are good for long term weight loss, but if you’re headed to the beach, you may want to avoid these. They contain a complex sugar called raffinose which has been known to cause bloating.

Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils are packed with protein, but cause excess gas that leads to bloating.

Substitute: Cooked vegetables over raw. Try mushrooms or squash instead.

Apples

Apples are packed with beneficial nutrients, but they are also high in fiber and carbohydrates which can cause excess gas.

Substitute: Canned fruit in their natural juices or dried fruit like raisins or plums.

Gum

Chewing gum causes you to inhale excess amounts of air, causing your stomach to swell.

Substitute: Roasted nuts, or raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Alcohol

When you drink too much alcohol, you can get dehydrated, which results in your body retaining fluid.

Substitute: Homemade fruit smoothies.

Dairy

Lactose is the sugar found in dairy products. If you feel gassy after a bowl of cereal with milk or a few slices of cheese, you may be lactose intolerant. This can cause gas to form in the gastrointestinal tract, which may trigger bloating.

Substitute: Non-dairy alternative or lactose free products like Lactaid.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest — and it’s difficult to enjoy summer fun when your stomach is at its fullest. With a little planning before you hit the beach, you can fill your cooler and beach bag with several healthy snacks that won’t leave you feeling sluggish in the sunshine.

What are some of your favorite healthy summertime snacks? Please share them with us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

About Digestive Disorders

The UPMC Digestive Disorders Center cares for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases, from diagnosis to treatment. Upon referral from your physician, we coordinate your testing and treatment. If you have a complicated condition, we can refer you to one of UPMC’s digestive health centers of excellence. Most of our office visits and outpatient procedures take place at UPMC Presbyterian or UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. We also provide inpatient care at UPMC Montefiore or UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.