Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Quick Snacks for the College Health Nut

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quick Snacks for the College Health Nut

     Going off to college can be a stressful adjustment, but I have found that having healthy, available snacks is a great way to up my productivity and help me to stay focused and happy as a student and athlete!  During high school, I fought a battle against anorexia and this is still something I must stay wary of in my daily life.  The past few months, I have rededicated my focus to making sure my body is getting quality nutrition.  Heaping plates of vegetables is not healthy when there is little protein or carbs for the body to subsist on.  So what snacks do I always stock up on?  I've previously blogged about my favorite gluten free snacks, but here are a few new ones that are definitely worth a try (all are gluten free as well):



1. Sweet Potatoes
I am in love with the simplicity and health in the sweet potato.  I have a bag of mini and microwavable sweet potatoes in my room that has slowly dwindled to one.  Sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A (438% for a medium potato) and are a good source of carbs, Iron, Vitamin C, Fiber and Potassium as well.  Equally important: they are delicious!  You can dress one up with some cheese or sour cream or some other "topping," or (if you're in a dorm room like me) you can just jab it with a fork a few times, wrap it in wet paper towels and stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Wallah: a perfectly delicious and nutritious snack.  And if you've got a little more time, you can always use some sweet potato in some Super Simple Sushi!


2. Blueberry Flavored Almonds
I received a package of these at Christmas and am sad they are just about out.  Regular almonds are an amazing source of healthy fats, protein and carbs- perfect for a quick snack or post-workout mouthful to tide me over until lunch.  Blueberry coated almonds are all these things....and more!  They are so amazingly delicious I cannot even explain.  Go buy some, and I dare you to eat just one.  That's right: I'm pulling the old Lays catch phrase.  This is for real people- they're delicious.




3. Light and Fit Greek Yogurt
Even without the amazing new flavors that are rolling onto shelves, Light and Fit Greek Yogurt is a daily must-have for me.  I got hooked on the stuff about two years ago and haven't looked back.  Not only is it lower calorie and lower sugar than Chobani, but it's also much less expensive-- a perk for any college student.  I have a hatred for the sugary "fruit on the bottom" gels that many greek yogurts have, so that is another reason I love the Light and Fit Greek Yogurts.  The fruit flavors taste natural and I don't taste grainy, sticky gel in the fruit.  Each 80 calorie yogurt has 12 grams of protein, 150 mg of Potassium and 15% DV of Calcium.  Plus: only 7 grams of sugar.  How does it stack up against Chobani?  Below, I compared each brand of 5.3 oz Pineapple flavored greek yogurt:


Chobani L&F Greek
Calories 140 80
Protein (g) 11 12
Sugar (g) 15 7
Carbs (g) 17 8
Fat (g) 3 0


     And what amazing flavors are available other than Pineapple? Check out the picture to the right:
     My personal favorites are Raspberry Chocolate, Strawberry Banana and Blueberry.  However, a few of the flavors haven't come to my area yet, so I am anxiously awaiting their arrival-- especially Pomegranate Berry!  And if you find these to be delicious, don't pass up frozen yogurt bars.  Click HERE for a review of my favorite brands and flavors of this healthy treat.


4. Turkey Sandwiches
A quick turkey sandwich is no doubt a staple in many households, but the same is true in college.  Whether you get it in the dining hall or have some supplies in your room, don't dismiss this easy and nutritious option.


5. Sugar free JELLO
I'm waiting for my Peach JELLO
to solidify for a snack later :)
Does it have a lot of nutritional value? No.  Is it really a good food to nourish your body with?  Probably not.  And yet, Jello is just so stinking fun to eat!  I love it!  It is a fun snack to munch on when I'm not really hungry but really need a little treat.  And as far as treats go, it is quite harmless-- as long as you get the sugar free kind.  At home, I've experimented and put JELLO in frozen-chocolate cups which was delicious!  At college, I'm content to just eat it out of a container as a nighttime snack.  Can't go wrong with sugar free JELLO, in my opinion.


String cheese is a
staple in my fridge

6. String Cheese
Cheese sticks are another great snack to munch on or tide you over until dinner.  I always buy the low-fat cheese sticks, but brand hope depending on the price.  As the name suggests, string cheese is very fun to eat as well.  I love pulling apart the strings to eat, and the protein kick is a great energy booster.  Each cheese stick has 6-7 grams of protein as well as a good dose of Calcium and fats.



7. Organic Almond Butter
To be fair, Almond Butter is only a recent addition to my food repertoire.  Teresa bought some for me a while ago but I'd been waiting for the oil to drain to the top after I turned it upside down last week.  I was a little iffy about trying it, but I had some this morning for the first time and it was positively delicious.  As apposed to peanut butter, almond butter has higher protein.  It is also an excellent source of Omega-3s and Iron.  Below, I compared Almond Naturally More Almond Butter with both Jiff Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and Jiff Original Peanut Butter. Check out the stats:

Jiff Natural Jiff Creamy Almond Naturally More
Calories
190
190
180
Fat (g)
15
16
15
Sat. Fat (g)
2.5
2.5
1
Sodium (mg)
70
140
105
Dietary Fiber (g)
2
2
4
Sugar (g)
5
3
3
Protein (g)
7
7
8
Iron (DV)
4%
4%
8%


The Almond Butter has a lot more Iron and more protein as well as a a healthy amount of fat (lower in saturated fat).  Despite the low sugar content, I also found that the flavor was really good!  I am a peanut butter girl, but Almond Butter is extremely delicious and I might just have a new favorite...


8. Apples and Pears
Every night, without fail, I grab either an apple or a pear- or both if they are the tiny ones from the dining halls- as a delicious snack.  I love apples.  I also love pears.  I would say apples are my favorite, but I've been on a pear kick lately.  Either way, nutritionists have been preaching the benefits of both fruits for years.  I doubt I need to tell you about the healthy benefits of apples and pears.  But perhaps you didn't know that apples can help whiten your teeth, strengthen your memory, help your heart and relieve constipation (Best Health Magazine).  Or maybe you'd be interested to learn that pears strengthen the health and shine of your hair, boost your immune system (Vitamin C), relieve constipation and give you healthy skin (Health Magazine).  Not bad, huh?


9. Gatorade Chews
Gatorade Chews are a quick pre-workout snack that I have found very useful.  They provide a quick burst of energy from sugar and are easy for me to digest and keep down before a race or run.  I enjoy them as well because I can slip them in my backpack and have them readily available with minimal effort- good for those early morning practices.  I also find them less messy than a banana or peanut butter toast, which are other great snacks before practice.  At home, I like a bowl of berries, but on campus, I'm just as happy rolling out of bed and eating Gatorade Chews on the way to practice.  I wrote about them earlier as a perfect stocking stuffer for runners.  Check out some of the other great ideas HERE!


(RELATED: Gear Review- Saucony DriLete Arm Warmers)


10. Tea
Tea doesn't exactly count as a snack, but you wouldn't know that by looking at the bottom drawer of my desk.  I have over 20 different kinds and flavors of tea, and my friends know that if they need a cup: my room is the place to go.  Although tea doesn't give the calories, protein, fats, or carbs that our bodies need, it does provide many other essentials: nutrients.  Depending on the type of tea you choose, you could be reaping various benefits for your body.
     Health experts worldwide tout the wisdom and health advantages to drinking tea.  In addition to being a nice warm drink that is much healthier than a crafted concoction at Starbucks- I'm looking at you Pumpkin Spice Latte- tea is also delicious!  I love Tazo Cocoa Mint Matte, but I've also been enjoying Yogi Soothing Bedtime Caramel and Good Earth Organic Mint Tea.  In the summer, I love the fruity teas like pomegranate and raspberry.  Too many delicious flavors!  Some teas, like bedtime caramel, help relax and rejuvenate the body.  Other, like my beloved Republic of Tea Get Charged tea, are great for giving energy.  While some have caffeine, I usually steer clear of that if I can.  My Get Charged tea, for instance, is a rooibas tea that naturally gives energy without caffeine- or its side effects!  If you need some tea recommendations, I'm your gal.  And if you aren't sure that tea is "your thing," start tasting around.  I would guess that there's a flavor you might just fall in love with.  The world of tea is so varied, there's something for just about everyone.

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I bet you are craving a trip to the grocery store to stock up your own house or dorm room.  I know I'm getting hungry!  By choosing healthy snacks, you will definitely reap the benefits both now and in the future.  Hopefully, I've given you some ideas to either get started or mix-up your usual routine.  Are these some of your favorites, or would you add some others to the list?  Comment below!

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