Healthy, Tasty Snack Choices
It’s easy to succumb to expensive—and high-in-fat—fast food or vending machine snacks when you’re on the go, but you can prevent indulging in such quick fixes by planning ahead. If you have only a few minutes between classes, make them count by eating healthy snacks that you’ve bought in advance and stashed in your backpack before heading to class.
Try protein-rich snacks, such as peanut butter and low-fat yogurt or cheese, combined with meals that contain complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, to keep your energy level up and your weight down. Keeping an insulated lunch sack (with an ice pack inserted) in your backpack or carryall can help expand your options for travel-friendly snacks. Following are some tasty suggestions:
- Fresh fruits: grapes (try them frozen!), bananas, oranges, pears, apples
- Dried fruits: apricots, raisins, mangos, cranberries
- Fruit and Jell-O cups
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Unsweetened fruit juice
- Fat-free pudding
- Fresh veggies: carrots, cauliflower, celery
- Yogurt fruit smoothies
- Trail mix
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, soy, pumpkin
- Sesame sticks
- Low-fat granola bars
- Low-fat string cheese
- Graham crackers
- Whole-grain crackers
- Rice cakes
- Peanut butter
- Low-fat hummus: try all the flavors!
- Plain popcorn, or popcorn with spray butter or soy sauce
- Baked chips: potato or pita
- Licorice bits
Quick Recipes—Beyond Ramen
Can't face another ramen noodle meal? Resist the urge to phone for a pizza! If you have access to a microwave or toaster oven, you can make yourself a yummy (and healthier) alternative:
- Minipizzas: Spread pizza sauce on half a bagel, English muffin, crackers, or minipita. Top with low-fat mozzarella cheese and bite-sized pieces of your favorite veggies. Use a low-heat setting to melt the cheese and crisp the bread. Or, bake a batch of minipizzas and freeze them individually. Flatten refrigerated biscuit dough with your hand; top with pizza sauce, cheese, and veggies; and bake for 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese melts and the dough is lightly brown.
- Low-fat pita and hummus: Warm the pita, cut it into small triangles, and dip the pieces in a flavored low-fat hummus, such as garlic or spicy red pepper.
- Tortilla roll-ups: Spread low-fat mayonnaise or cream cheese on an 8-inch tortilla. Add thinly sliced turkey or ham, shredded lettuce, low-fat cheese, and raisins. Roll it up and serve it with baked chips or veggies for a satisfying snack or meal.
- Easy nachos: Lightly pour canned, drained black beans over a microwaveable plate of baked tortilla chips, and top with low-fat cheese. Microwave until the cheese is melted. Top with salsa. Optional: Dot with low-fat sour cream.
Try these lighter snacks to keep your energy up while studying:
- Spread peanut butter on celery sticks and top with raisins.
- Spread peanut butter on graham crackers and eat with a pear or apple.
- Dip sliced apples into a dip made from ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese blended with 2 tablespoons sugar-free jam.
- Freeze fresh, unsweetened 100 percent juice in ice cube trays with a toothpick inserted for a flavorful minipopsicle.
- Create a healthy trail mix by mixing 1 cup whole-grain toasted oat cereal with ¼ cup chopped walnuts and ¼ cup dried cranberries.
- Make a bowl of hot regular oatmeal with low-fat milk, and stir in sweetener or 1 tablespoon sugar or all-fruit jelly. Add fruit slices if desired.
- Pierce a small potato with a fork in several places, microwave 4 to 6 minutes, and let stand to soften. Top with spray butter, low-fat sour cream, cheese, scallions, veggies, or chili.
- Eat a peanut butter and all-fruit jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread, and wash it down with a glass of low-fat milk.
- Wrap peanut butter and banana slices in a tortilla.
Channel Your Inner Betty Crocker
For days when you have more time, and on the weekend, search online for easy and healthy recipes. If you have access to a freezer, you can make double batches of your favorite new recipes and freeze them to use on your hectic days in the coming weeks. Consider cooking for friends—they can pitch in a few dollars to cover your grocery costs. You can experiment on them and save money by not going out to eat. Serve your creations in a common room or on a picnic blanket outdoors. Here are a few websites to get you started:
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