Top Boat Snacks for Summer

Top Boat Snacks for Summer

Top Boat Snacks for Summer

If you're planning a trip to the lake this summer, make sure to pack snacks for the boat to keep you going all day long.  Whether you plan to waterski, wakeboard, or just relax in the lake, the snack ideas below can help set you up for hours of fun in the sun.

Planning Boat Snacks

As you prepare snacks for a day on the lake think beyond the typical snack aisle at the grocery store.  If you change your perspective and view a snack as a mini-meal you can ensure you have a variety of nutritious options available. 

Items to include in your snack plans:

  • Whole Grain Carbohydrates – Snack crackers, bread, wraps
  • Lean Proteins – String cheese, hummus, deli meat, tuna fish, beef or turkey jerky
  • Fruits and Veggies – All varieties!
  • Healthy Fats – Nuts, nut butter, seeds, guacamole

Easy Snack Ideas for the Boat

When packing your snacks for the day, it is important to consider which snacks you can throw into your bag and which should be packed into a cooler.

Boat Snacks to Throw in Your Bag

Non-perishable snacks, that do not need to be held cold, can be thrown into your bag on the way out the door.  Stock-up on the items below to have ready for your next boat trip.

Boat Snack: Trail Mix
  • Pretzels, pita chips, baked chips
  • Snack crackers, graham crackers, animal crackers
  • Whole grain sandwich bread or wraps
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Granola bars, fig bars
  • Beef or turkey jerky
  • Nuts, seeds, trail mix
  • Individual containers of nut butter
  • Raisins and dried fruit
  • Whole fruit – bananas, apples, oranges

Favorite Snack Idea: Build Your Own Trail Mix – Toss your favorite whole grain crackers, dry cereal, pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds together.  Pack into individual serving size bags and enjoy on the boat!

As you pack your snacks, be mindful of foods that will melt in the summer heat.  Items such as chocolate chips in a granola bar or trail mix will melt and make a mess.

Boat Snacks to Pack in Your Cooler

When filling your cooler with drinks for the day, don't forget to save room for snack items that need to be held cold.  Below are items you will want to ensure go into your ice chest:

  • String cheese / cheese sticks
  • Individual containers of hummus or guacamole
  • Premade sandwiches – cut in half and packaged individually so you can grab half a sandwich at a time.
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (will maintain quality better when held cold)
  • Fruit – Apple slices, grapes, orange wedges, pineapple, cut melon
  • Veggies – Celery, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, celery sticks

Remember to Hydrate

It is important to stay hydrated when you are spending time outdoors in the sun.  If you are participating in water activities, such as water skiing, wakeboarding, or wakesurfing, pay particular attention to your hydration needs.  Even though you are in the water, your body still sweats and you need to replace fluid and electrolyte losses. 

Tips to ensure you stay hydrated on the boat include:

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Pack extra water bottles in your cooler to ensure you have plenty of fluid to last the full day on the lake.
  • When you sweat your body loses both fluid and electrolytes.  If you will be spending a long period of time outdoors, consider drinking a sports drink to help replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.
  • Enjoy fruits and vegetables that contain a high-water content to help you stay hydrated.  Foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges, celery, and cucumbers all have a high-water content and are great snacks for days on the boat. 

*Note: Talk with your doctor about staying hydrated in the heat if you are on a low-sodium diet or are required to limit your fluid intake.

Boat Snacks: Stay Hydrated - Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables with a High Water Content on the Boat

Energy Drinks

Avoid energy drinks when you are spending a day in the sun.  The caffeine along with other ingredients have stimulatory effects on the body.  Energy drinks can increase your risk of dehydration and potentially lead to heart complications. 

Combining energy drinks with extreme summer heat can be dangerous.  If you need extra energy while you are out on the boat, eat one of the snacks you have packed.  Foods that are high in carbohydrates provide the body with energy and can give you the boost you need.


Be mindful about the consumption of alcohol when you are spending a day out on the boat.  Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, which can increase your risk of dehydration. 

In addition, consuming alcohol can impair judgement and reduce coordination.  For these reasons, avoid alcohol if you will be driving the boat or participating in water sports.

If you do drink, make sure to drink responsibly and in moderation.  Moderate drinking is defined as 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less for women.  A standard drink is considered:

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 8-oz of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (40% alcohol content

Keep in mind, there are plenty of ways to have fun on the water this summer that do not involve drinking alcohol in excess.

Don't Neglect Food Safety on the Boat

Taking steps to minimize the risk of foodborne illness is important.  Keep food safety in mind as you prepare your snacks and as you enjoy them on the boat.

As you pack your snacks, make sure to follow food safety precautions.  Washing your hands, cleaning fresh produce, and avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen are important steps you can take to minimize food safety risks.  Once you are on the boat, keep the food safety tips below in mind.

Sanitize Your Hands

The first step to food safety is washing your hands.  On a boat you may not have access to a sink with running water.  When soap and water are not available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

Choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  To apply the hand sanitizer, rub the gel all over your hands and fingers.  Continue rubbing your hands together until they are dry.  Make sure to remind your kids to sanitize their hands before eating as well.

Temperature Control

An important rule for food safety is temperature control.  On a boat, making sure cold foods are held cold is paramount.  Store your cooler in a shaded location on the boat that is out of direct sunlight.

Perishable foods, such as meat, cheese, and cut fruit, should not be left out of the cooler for more than 2 hours.  This time frame decreases to 1 hour If the temperature exceeds 90 °F.  If food is left out over these time limits, throw it away – it is not worth the risk of getting a foodborne illness.

Top Boat Snacks: Food Safety on the Boat

Use extra caution with maintaining temperature control for the following foods:

  • Deli meat, salami, and hot dogs
  • Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products
  • Eggs (hard-boiled eggs, egg salad)
  • Mayonnaise or products containing mayonnaise (tuna or chicken salad)
  • Sliced Fruits and Vegetables
    • Especially cut melon – toss the melon out if it is left in the heat for over an hour.

To reduce the amount of time food is out of the cooler, pack individual servings of items rather than one large container.   This way you can grab a small container of watermelon to snack on without exposing the rest of the cut melon to the heat.

Ready to Boat!

You are now equipped with boat snack ideas for your next trip to the lake.  Remember to plan your snacks as mini-meals, include foods from a variety of food groups, stay hydrated, and practice food safety.  Enjoy your next day on the lake!

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