By: Ashley Lizzi on May 5th, 2021
Best Boat Snacks: 9 Stress-Free Nibbles to Bring Aboard
You plan on hitting the lake for an all-day outing. You’re prepared for anything and you’ve got an extensive list of boating accessories ready to roll. The entire crew is lathering up in SPF and you’ve started icing down the cooler.
Prepping the boat may entail taking the cover off, wiping down the seats, and making sure your safety gear is in arm’s reach. If you’re anything like my family, we also prepare to bring our boat dog with us. A jug of freshwater is filled up and brought on board to use in his built-in pet dishes.
Since this is an all-day affair, you should also consider bringing snacks. I recommend packing a snack bag because a day on the water will make your crew hungry in a hurry. Not sure what nibbles are boat-friendly? Here are some ideas to get you thinking about boat snacks so that everyone is happy.
Boat Snacking Do’s and Don’ts
First, let’s talk about some of the dos and don’ts of boat snacks. Keep this in mind before you pack up the boat and head out for the day.
Keep in mind how much surface area your boat has in regards to setting the food out for everyone to grab. Depending on the type of boat you have, there may not be a big enough area for a full spread of food. In that case, think about packing food that can be handhelds like sandwiches or personal size snack bags.
Include foods that can sustain while being exposed to high heat and sun all day unless you have extra space in your cooler. Snacks are important second to having ice cold, refreshing beverages for all.
One of the easiest snack options for a big crew or family with kids is to bring individually wrapped food items for grab-and-go convenience. Being on the water isn’t always conducive to serving a bunch of people at one time.
There are some foods you will want to avoid for boat days. Avoid anything that can’t withstand the heat such as chocolate. The last thing you want all over your boat is a chocolatey mess. Popsicles might also sound like a good idea, but most coolers don’t stay cold enough to keep them frozen all day.
You will also want to avoid sticky foods such as candy as that’s the quickest route to a stuck-on mess aboard your vessel. Other things that have the potential of creating hard-to-clean messes are bright-colored drinks such as Kool-Aid and colorful crackers.
If your boat has carpet, you might want to avoid anything that will get spilled or ground in and leave discoloration behind. On that same note, avoid spillable foods such as salsa that have a watery consistency and can easily spill out of the container.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the best snack choices for your day on the water.
9 Best Boat Snacks You Shouldn’t Leave Home Without
1. Crackers and Dip
If you have room in your cooler, solid texture dips such as hummus are a great choice. Bring along crackers in your boat bag and you’ve got the perfect onboard dip session.
2. Pre-Cut Veggies and Dip
Keeping a healthy option on board is always a good choice because the body needs fuel to continue swimming, playing, and withstanding the heat all day. As I mentioned above, bring a thicker more solid dip along in your cooler such as ranch or dill veggie dip.
Pre-cutting the veggies will help cut down on the space you need to store them in the cooler and is a time saver when the crew is ready to crunch down on some celery.
3. Individual Snack Bags
These are perfect especially if you’ve got kids on board. You can find personal size bags of chips, cookies, crackers, popcorn, and pretzels at just about any grocery store. Typically, there will be a nice mix of flavors and choices within the same package so there’s a little something for everyone’s taste.
If you’re not concerned about a few crumbs on the floor, these grab-and-go snacks are just the ticket as they stand up to heat well and take up minimal space in your boat bag. These also pair nicely with a juice box or a brew, depending on your age.
4. Premade Handhelds
Any type of premade handheld such as a cold meat sandwich, PB&J, or wrap is a boat-worthy lunch staple. If you’ve got the time to pre-make this type of snack, make sure to wrap each one individually with plastic wrap or food wrap of your choice.
I also recommend doubling up and putting them in a Ziplock to keep any potential water away from the food. Throw these in your cooler, keep them cool and dry all day, and you will be the hero of lunchtime.
5. Pre-Cut Cheese and Meats
Who doesn’t love cheese? Keeping pre-cut cheese and meats on board is sure to satisfy any hunger throughout the day. Only bring this snack with you if you have room in the cooler because this one will not withstand the heat.
Grab crackers and you’ve got a tasty filling snack for all ages. If you don’t want to take the time to pre-cut anything before you head out, Lunchables or string cheese are perfect substitutes, even for adults
One of my family’s favorite boat nibbles is Pubmix. There are a bunch of different varieties out there of mixed salty treats, but we like a big tub of Pubmix. This has a nice variety of salty, crunchy, cheesy goodness and there’s a ton of it.
Packed conveniently in a plastic tub, this snack holds its own in the heat and pairs nicely with a cold beverage. Found at most grocery stores, you may want to keep this one around for the boating season.
7. Pre-Cut Fruit
Whether you’ve got a boat full of kids or adults, cold, refreshing, pre-cut fruit is a great treat during a day in the sun. Orange slices, grapes, and watermelon are great choices, but leave out those bananas!
You may not be aware, but bringing bananas on board any boat is said to be back luck! There are a lot of myths behind this one, but I say just steer clear. Bananas are not the most heat-friendly choice anyway.
8. Pre-Made Salads
This is another cooler-bound snack if you’ve got the room for it amongst your chilled beverages. Pre-made salads in individual containers make a great lunch to go. Pasta salads of all types are my favorite here. Stay away from dairy-based products if possible as the heat can wreak havoc quickly.
This is one we keep on board when we do our big Barletta photoshoot every year. Beef jerky, or any type of dried meat whether it be turkey, salmon, pork, you name it, is a great boat snack. It offers a lot of protein and holds up to the elements well. You can also find big bags that will feed a lot of hungry mouths.
Feed the Hunger
If you’re heading out on the boat for a long day on the water, you should be prepared to feed the crew. Between the heat, swimming, and even just hanging with friends, they will build up an appetite.
This list is my go-to for easy, hassle-free boat snacks. My family usually spends our entire Saturday on the water and we pull out the munchies a couple of times throughout the day. Keep the cranky away and feed the hunger!