There’s something about boating that makes people particularly hungry.
Regardless of whether you’re setting out on a short or long boating trip, you’re going to want to be prepared with some boat snacks.
This is especially so if you’ve got kids with you. Kids burn through energy at alarming rates, therefore causing them to constantly seek out snacks.
Because of this, I’ve created the ultimate guide on the best boat snacks.
This will help you pack for an effective trip. Most ideas are very simple and require very little if any preparation. In-fact, you can buy most of these items straight from your local store.
This guide involves a few different categories of boat snacks to match any occasion. From breakfast ideas, to healthy snacks, all the way to party food ideas.
5 Healthy Boat Snacks
This section consists of healthy snacks that won’t make you feel like junk. It’s always nice to have a few healthy options on deck that will give you good energy rather than make you feel sluggish and sick.
You probably expected fruit to be on this list for obvious reasons. You simply can’t go wrong with having some fruit aboard. You can cut them up before-hand for convenience or put them into a fruit salad to mix the flavors.
Fruits contain a wide range of nutriments and vitamins, providing you and your kids with ‘healthy energy’. They’ll also provide you with some hydration which is always good.
My favourite fruit to bring are:
I’d recommend bringing a portable cooler to keep the fruits nice and fresh. You can buy the YETI Roadie 20 from Amazon. This is one of the best coolers on the market.
Frozen fruit is an extremely refreshing way of eating fruit. These are perfect on a warm summer’s day. Frozen grapes specifically are my favorite however you can also try frozen strawberries and blackberries. Just put them in the freezer over night and bring them with you in your portable cooler.
Pro Tip: Frozen fruits also work effectively as ice packs.
Trail Mix is a delicious savoury snack which you can consume without guilt. There are packed with a variety of different ingredients such as raisins, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, seeds and tons of other little munchies.
These are every outdoors enthusiast’s choice of weapon. This is because they’re essentially a bundle of energy. You can make your own trail mix or buy an already prepared bag.
Planning to make your own trail mix? Here are some ingredient recommendations:
- Nuts: Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds.
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds.
- Dried Fruits: Raisins, Apples, Orange Peel, Cranberries, Apricots.
- Sweets: Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Chunks, M&M’s, Marshmallows.
- Breakfast Cereals: Granola, Rice Krispies.
Take your pick and throw them into a container or bag. Don’t forget to give them a good mix. It’s as simple as that. Some people like to crush their mix a little, whereas others prefer everything whole.
I’d always recommend creating your own so that you can completely customize your mix to your tastes, however if you’re feeling less adventurous, you could always purchase a bag of trail mix from the store.
Granola Snack Bars
Granola snack bars are a convenient, healthy snack.
I’m a big fan of them as they don’t have to be kept cold and require no preparation if store bought.
Granola bars are fruitful in protein and fibre so are sure to keep you topped up with energy.
The nutritional value of your bar depends on what ingredients have been used. Check the packaging for an overview of what’s contained. This is very useful for those dieting or tracking their calories.
Some brands will put more sugar into their bars than others so keep an eye out for the sugar quantities. I try to avoid Kellogg’s products are they’re known to add a lot of sugar to their snack bars.
Ingredient labels tend to list their ingredients in a descending order by weight. Meaning that if sugar is near the top of the list, I’d try to avoid it.
Though, if you don’t plan on packing a load of granola bars, you shouldn’t think to deep on the subject. Just get something which you think you’ll enjoy.
Though not for everyone, chopped up vegetables can be a nice little snack. The kids usually aren’t big fans of vegetables, but they can be nice in small quantities. Vegetables like cucumbers and carrots can be rather tasty snacks.
They should be kept as cool as possible, so I’d recommend storing them in a cooler. If you don’t have a cooler, then try to keep them against something cold like the water you’ve packed.
You could make cute little veggie snack packs like the cucumber or carrot bags that McDonalds offers.
Personally, I prefer my vegetables in a salad.
I cut up some vegetables and throw them in a plastic container and make sure I pack some salad dressing and a fork. For some, this is all you’ll need for lunch. You even throw in other things like pieces of chicken.
Everyone loves a good sandwich. You can make your own in little to no time and you can customize them exactly how you want.
It’s important to get some protein in your sandwich. Chicken, turkey, tuna, cheese and eggs are some of the best sources of protein and all of which you can throw into a sandwich.
Some of the healthiest sandwich fillers:
- Grated Carrots
- Smoke Salmon
- Rainbow Slaw
If you want to add to the nutritional value of your sandwich, ditch the white bread. Get yourself a healthier alternative like some brown whole grain bread with seeds.
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a sandwich. You could also use a roll, sub or wrap to hold all of your ingredients.
Add some flavours to your sandwich with your choice of dressings and sauces.
3 Boat Food Appetisers Ideas
So now we’re going to talk about appetizers. This is a small dish of food which you’ll eat before a main meal. This is just something to stimulate your appetite. This is pretty similar to a snack however it’s more of a small meal than something you snack on every now and then.
Pasta salad is a yummy boat snack that you can customize to your liking. I’m a big fan of these meals that you can do whatever you want with. If you want to throw some meat into it, why not? If you want some fruit in there, go for it.
A pasta salad doesn’t take long to prepare. You can spend less than an hour preparing a bunch of pasta salad for your crew before your trip.
It’s a very simple recipe so anyone could do it. This could be a nice little activity for the kids to participate in before the real for of the boating trip. This will get them pumped and even more excited.
This is filling enough to qualify as a meal but it’s a very effective appetizer because you’ll still have plenty of room left for main course. Just don’t go overboard, don’t eat too much or you won’t have enough room for your main meal.
Everyone loves tacos. This must be one of my favourite appetizers. The combination of flavours just blends so well.
Again, you can customize your tacos exactly how you want them. You can have crispy or soft tacos, you can have meat, veg or both fillings in your taco, your choice of sauces! Literally whatever you want, throw it into the mix.
The only problem with tacos is they’re messy.
Messy foods aren’t ideal for boating. However, me and my family have come up with a good solution for the mess. We eat our tacos out of potato chip bags. This means that as you snack into your taco, the left-over pieces that break apart fall directly into the bag. The leftovers can then be eaten afterwards or just thrown away.
Don’t forget to bring napkins and wet wipes as they will still be a little messy anyway.
Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a very healthy appetiser.
You can either cook the corn before setting out on your adventure and eat them before your main meal. By this point they’d probably be somewhat cold, if you’re saving them for the end of the day.
Another way you could eat these are by filling a cooler box with boiling water and throwing your corn inside at the beginning of the trip. By the time you’re ready to eat, the corn cobs should be thoroughly and still warm.
Warning: Be careful with the second method as the boiling water will burn you if you’re not careful. Also, a lot of heat will escape when you open your cooler.
If you’ve got some spray butter, pack this with you. This will make your corn cobs even more delicious.
5 Breakfast Ideas for Boating
If you’re camping on your pontoon or just setting out early in the morning, you’re going to want some breakfast on your boat. Lucky for you, I’ve got a few breakfast ideas which will go down a treat for you and your crew.
Yoghurt is a nice simple and healthy (depending on the ingredients) breakfast. This requires no preparation as you can buy yoghurt from the store and store it in your cooler until needed.
Though you can make your own yogurt if you have a yogurt maker. If you don’t already have one, I’d recommend this Yogurt Maker from Amazon. It’s cheap and allows you to fully customize your own yogurts from home. A worthwhile investment.
Recently my family invested into a smoothie blender, and we’ve used it every week since. Possibly the best investment (besides our boat) that we’ve ever made, It’s amazing. We bought a NutriBullet which is a high-speed blender which I’m sure you’ve already heard of before. You can view the product on Amazon by clicking here.
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Smoothies are an easy way to consume a good number of calories and nutriments. They’re also extremely tasty and the kids will love it. You can add whatever you like to your smoothies. You can make your smoothies thick or thin, sweet or bland, healthy or not healthy, whatever you like.
Tea & Coffee
This is an obvious component to a breakfast on the water. You can make tea before you leave land and store it in a thermos flask. Many flasks can keep your drinks warm for up to 12 hours. I’d recommend this Thermal Double Walled Vacuum Thermos.
Tea in the morning offers a load of health benefits. Some of which include a boost of exercise endurance, reduced risk of heart attack, hydration of the body, reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease and a load more. One of the benefits which stand out to me as a boater is improved protection from ultraviolet rays. This insists that tea can help protect you from the UV rays of the sun. Source.
Cinnamon Rolls are one of the most delicious breakfasts ever.
It’s nice to treat yourself to something that isn’t necessarily healthy every now and then.
They take about 20 minutes to prepare but will be ready in 40 minutes. Therefore, they do take a bit longer to prepare than the other boat snacks however they still have a preparation time of less than an hour which isn’t bad at all.
If you really don’t have the time to prepare your own cinnamon rolls, they can be bought at some stores. Your local bakery should have some which you can purchase and pack for your boating trip.
Muesli is a great way to start off your day, it’s rich in carbohydrates which will kick you off with some good energy. It’s also rich in fibre which is great for weight loss. Packed with antioxidants and protein. There are so many reasons to add this to your diet.
You can purchase muesli from the store or you can make your own at home. When you’re ready to eat just pour some milk in and you’re good to go. You should store you milk in a cooler box to keep it cold, unless you like your muesli warm.
Muesli is so simple to make that I’d always recommend making your own to save money. All you need are oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Take your pick, and feel free to add whatever you like.
2 Boat Party Food Ideas
Throwing a boat part and not sure what to serve to your guests? This section is for you. I have a lot of experience in boat parties and know exactly what get the party popping. This is my list of the best boat party food ideas.
Kabob’s are a barbeque favourite.
There are so many variations of kabob’s, you can have simple meat kabob’s which won’t create as much mess, or you can make more complexed kabob’s with vegetables and fruit.
Don’t forget to bring your favourite sauces and marinades to drizzle on the kabobs as they cook.
You may also find that you need to pack more than enough kabob ingredients as these go fast at parties! You’d be surprised how much people love them.
To cook your kabobs, you’re obviously going to need a BBQ grill. I have a guide in which I review the best boat grills. You can find the guide by clicking here. I’d recommend you give it a look if you’re interested in purchasing a grill for your boat. A BBQ is essential for boat parties.
Everyone loves a good burger. Whether it’s a chicken burger, lamb burger, beef burger, veggie burger, there’s a type of burger for everyone.
They’re simple to make, cook your patties on the grill and throw them onto a bun. Add whatever ingredients you want, fried onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cucumber. Drizzle some sauce on top. Finish it off with the top layer of bun and there you have it, a delicious burger.
You can grill your patty with the cheese on top so that your cheese melts.
Serve your burgers with a side of fries or potatoes wedges. You can also put some coleslaw on the side (store this in your cooler box to keep it cold until serving).
Again, to make burgers you’re going to need a BBQ grill on your boat. Check the link above for a guide on buying a grill for your boat.
How To Safely Store Food On a Boat
It’s important to ensure that your food is stored safely on your boat.
You don’t want to risk contamination, especially with salt water which will lead to food poisoning.
It can also be a huge pain cleaning up bits of food from all over your boats deck. This could lead to the infestation of your boat by rodents such a mice and rats.
The proper storage of food will save you a lot of headache and money in the long term.
Firstly, you should not store your cold and warm food together. Keep them separate. You’re asking for disaster by storing raw meat with ready-to-eat food.
Having food poisoning on a boat is much worse than having it at home. This is especially true if you don’t have a bathroom on your boat.
For those interested in setting-up a bathroom on their boat, I’d recommend you read my guide by clicking here. I go into detail on how to setup a bathroom on your boat and what the best bathroom products are.
Ziplock bags are an essential. These will hold your food together and protect them from the elements. You don’t want flies or other insects crawling over your food. You also don’t want your food to be spoiled by water.
You should also keep a sharpie nearby so that you can label your Ziplock bags to quickly identify what its contents are. Don’t forget to pack waterproof sharpies, otherwise your labels could be washed off.
You can buy Ziplock bags anywhere. I stockpile a load of them from Amazon for convenience. This saves me from taking multiple trips down to the store every few weeks.
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There you have it. As you can see, there are many options when it comes to snacking on your boat.
I diversified the list with a few different categories of food such as party food and appetizers.
You can’t have the perfect boating trip without snacks. Snacks are essential for topping up your energy levels and satisfying your appetite.
If you think you have the ultimate snack idea, feel free to leave a comment down below. I’m extremely interested to know what your favourite food to eat whilst boating is. Also, give me your opinion on my list. If you plan on trying out one of these ideas, let me know how it goes!
My name Is Larry Noel, the voice behind BoatCrunch.
I’m a boating enthusiast that loves nothing more than being out on the water. So much so that I’ve acquired a Degree in Marine Biology (MB) as well as a degree in Ocean Engineering (OE).
I’m very familiar with a wide range of different boats and I’ve owned a variety of different boats myself however I have a particular obsession with Pontoon boats. I’ve lived all across the United States and always kept company in the form of boats and now my loving family.