By Collier Curran
As all college students know, eating balanced and nutritious meals and snacks comes with its own challenges, namely money, time, and space. When running off to class or a study session, it can be incredibly tempting to grab a granola bar chock full of added sugar or a bag of chips or cookies to curb hunger. In the spirit of starting off the year on a healthier note, I have compiled a list of a few simple and inexpensive snacks that can be made in a time crunch and easily taken on the go.
1. Apple Pizzas
While everyone knows about dipping apples in peanut butter, a simple change in shape can make this snack not only more fun, but also more nutritious with great toppings. To make this snack, simply core an apple (which are currently in season, and therefore more affordable!) and cut it into circular slices. Spread peanut butter, or any nut or seed butter of your choice, onto the apple slice and top with whatever you would like, including dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut or dried cranberries. The nut butter makes this a filling snack, while also only containing natural and healthy ingredients. (I'm going to suggest all natural peanut butter, but in order to preserve my journalistic integrity I'll make it known that I eat regular peanut butter and enjoy every second of it.)
Tip: Making these into a sandwich using two apple slices makes them much more portable if you are taking them to class or the library.
2. Yogurt-Covered Fruit
Almost every grocery store sells some variety of yogurt-covered food, from almonds to raisins, but these varieties are often loaded with unnecessary added sugar and other ingredients. Making a healthier version is easy, inexpensive, and makes for a great study snack. Simply coat a fruit of your choice (I suggest blueberries or cut up strawberries) in either vanilla Greek yogurt or plain Greek yogurt with vanilla extract added (if you would like to completely DIY this!) and place them in a container to freeze overnight. This way, they are ready to take with you each morning before you conquer the world (or, at least calculus).
3. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are such a versatile ingredient that could easily become a staple in any college diet. Stuffing options range from roasted grapes, goat cheese and honey to turkey and cranberry sauce (Thanksgiving leftovers, perhaps?), but my personal favorite has to be Mexican-inspired, because it is just so easy. Low-sodium or no salt added black beans and corn give the meal (or large snack) great substance while not requiring any cooking besides some heating up. Many online blogs have posted actual recipes, though it is straightforward enough to eyeball. Simply poke your potato with a fork and microwave for about 8-10 minutes, or until it is tender. Then you are free to add any toppings you choose! I would suggest microwaving black beans, corn, chopped bell pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder for a few minutes until nice and warm, and then adding shredded cheese and plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream. If you’re feeling fancy, some fresh-squeezed lime would bring this over the edge.
And there you have it! These recipes are easy, cost-efficient, and most importantly, delicious! I highly suggest that you try these out when you find yourself reaching for a processed, sugary snack. However, if you’ve been studying all day and just need your chips, I completely understand.