We’ve all been there: you’ve spent the morning at the beach, your skin is all tingly from the tan (or sunburn) you’ve been working on, and as you take a bite of your sandwich you’re suddenly choking on grains of sand that have somehow found their way into your beloved ham and cheese.

To prevent future snack casualties, keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your beach experience.

Make a Parchment Paper Wrap


Photo by Emma Hammock

No one wants to eat a literal sand-wich. To keep sandy hands off of your gooey PB&J, take a piece of parchment paper and make a pocket for your sandwich to rest in. Your sandwich will stay nice and clean and it’ll keep all that yummy peanut butter from dripping out the other end. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also use the burrito wrap method. But let’s face it, who has time for that?

Pack Water Jug for Hand Washing


Photo by Kristen Kumar

I don’t know what magic happens when you dip sandy hands into the ocean, but whatever it is, is sucks at getting the sand off. Do yourself a favor and bring some tap water along in a jug to use throughout the day to get the sand off your hands. If you run out, find the nearest water fountain and refill that bad boy.

Bring a Folding Table Along…


Photo courtesy of Christiaan Triebert on Flickr

If you want to keep things sand-free, it only makes sense to keep your food as far away from the sand as possible. If things get a bit windy, having a small card table will help prevent sand from flying directly into your snack bag or any drinks you’ve left lying around.

…And Use Your Beach Umbrella to Block Wind


Photo courtesy of Julien Belli on Flickr

Forget about needing shade, get your priorities straight and protect your food at all costs. Wind + sand = worst case scenario. The less wind you have directed at those juicy watermelon slices, the more likely you are to be able to actually eat them.

Use Baby Powder to Dust Off Sand More Easily


Photo by Anna Arteaga

Genius idea, I know. Dab a bit of baby powder over sandy fingers and toes to dry them off. You’ll be able to wipe the sand off much easier and won’t have to worry about attracting more of it to wet limbs. Baby powder is multi-purpose and can be used to prevent your damp swimsuit from chafing your skin on the car ride home.

Cover Open Bowls with Shower Caps While Eating


Photo courtesy of Chris Lott on Flickr

Don’t let your fruit salad go to waste because of a little sand. When not using serving dishes, cover them up with shower caps to prevent anything from creeping in. Shower caps are awesome because they’re more flexible than regular lids. If you want to get a second helping, just hold up one side of the cap, sneak your spoon in and out, and bam! Sand-free snackages.

Pack Finger Foods That Don’t Need Your Fingers


Photo by Mira Nguyen

In case you decide to ignore every piece of advice I’ve given (shame on you), just stick a toothpick into your nibbles and call it a day. Fruit skewers, meatballs, cheese squares, and lil’ smokies are all good options for those moments when you’re in need of a snack but can’t touch the food without contaminating it.

Cross Your Fingers and Hope For The Best


Photo by Natsuko Mazany

At the end of the day, you can’t avoid getting a little bit of sand into your food. It’s pretty much a fact of life that beach snacks will inevitably get an extra pinch of salt courtesy of the wind and grubby fingers that are working against you. My advice? Don’t worry about it. After all, stuff like that builds your immune system or something, right?