A few commented that you wanted to see more articles like the one I posted a couple weeks ago, 4 Healthy Snacks for College Girls on the Go. Many of you commented that you wanted to see more healthy, non-packaged options, and I agree - just because a treat is portable doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice. After all, sometimes we really just need good, old-fashioned wholesome treats before trekking to that 3:00 pm lecture.
So instead of lauding convenience, in this edition, I wanted to emphasize overall snack healthiness. This week's post features healthy snacks that are not only good for you, but also provide plenty of energy, lasting satiation, and, most importantly, mouthwatering taste!
Contrary to what some may believe, nuts are healthy and can be in multiple ways. Pecans, almonds, walnuts, and other varieties are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and very good for you... just as long as they aren’t heavy on additives such as butter, salt, etc. These crunchy morsels are an excellent source of protein and, depending on the nut, will offer a boost of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids (important for a healthy heart!), and other important minerals.
However, be forewarned — it’s easy to overdo it with nuts (which are relatively calorie and fat-dense), since you can munch by the handful. So instead of just grabbing them straight from the bag, try pre-portioning them out into individual bags and mixing with them with raisins or other dried fruit, then adding flavoring like cinnamon for extra pop!
Some of you mentioned that you loved to eat popcorn for a snack. And I agree that it’s a delicious alternative to your run-of-the-mill potato chips or pretzels. However, the jury's still out on popcorn’s healthiness. On one hand, popcorn is a whole grain that's packed with fiber, vitamins, and other minerals. However, the extras we usually put into popcorn (ladles of butter, handfuls of salt, powdered cheese) often offset its inherent healthiness. These additives are the main reason behind popcorn’s reputation as a poor snack choice.
However, there is a way to make popcorn a healthier snack choice. The versions I’m thinking of are not of the grocery store variety or, heaven forbid, the kind sold by the bucket in movie theaters. Instead, I’m talking about the kind of popcorn you make from scratch. For example, air-popped popcorn is probably the healthiest type of popcorn you can make, but I doubt many of us have a hot air corn popper in our dorm rooms. Stovetop popcorn is probably the second healthiest option, and is likely the easiest means for most college students. Both of these methods enable you to control how much butter, salt, and oil you put into your popcorn, which makes for a healthier, happier you!
If you aren’t one for cooking, haven’t the patience or time, or just really prefer the microwave method, there are some healthier microwave options out there, as well.
Personally, my yogurt consumption habits oscillate wildly. There will be periods when I’ll eat an entire 32 oz. container of vanilla yogurt in two days for two weeks straight and then months where I avoid yogurt religiously. But regardless of your attitude towards this dairy delight, rest assured that yogurt is one of the healthiest and most easily-accessible snacks available. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, and, of course, calcium. It also helps improve one’s immune system due to its live and active cultures.
It’s hard to go wrong with yogurt, but here some ideas to mix up your yogurt-eating routine:
- Combine it with fruit in a blender for a healthy morning smoothie.
- Mix it with granola, nuts, and/or assorted fruits for different flavors and textures.
- One of my favorite ways to eat yogurt: Freeze it in popsicle molds for a healthy ice cream-like treat!
Many of you commented that your snack of choice often involved. To be honest, this is my ultimate go-to snack, regardless of whether I want to munch on something during an afternoon lab or while working on a term paper at 2 am. Fruit is an excellent snack choice because it’s readily accessible, easy to store, and delicious!
There’s no possible way for me to talk about all of the fruits I snack on, so I’ll try and keep it brief. Here are two you may not think of, one everyone does, and some ways to change them up:
These unusual fruits are high in antioxidants and fiber and also help to prevent some types of heart disease. They’re a bit intimidating to try and figure out how to eat, but once you de-seed them, you can add the seeds to cereal, yogurt, or just eat them on their own.
Avocados are probably not what comes to mind when you think of a fruit, but they’re definitely a personal favorite and very worth incorporating into your regular diet. Avocados, typically known as the primary ingredient in guacamole, are packed with healthy goodness - they contain fourteen minerals and several vitamins!
I like to eat them as a spread on my bagels (really!), eat them with milk and sugar, or just eat them straight out of the peel. You can also cut an avocado in half lengthwise, remove the seed, and pour Italian salad dressing into the hole in the center for a savory snack.
No list of healthy snacks would be complete without apples. They're definitely the fruit I reach for most often, and many of you also cited them as a go-to snack! My favorite ways to eat an apple? There's always the old standby of apples dipped in peanut or almond butter. I particularly like to dip them in caramel for a treat (my not-so guilty pleasure!).
Want more ideas? You guys also had some great suggestions for how to eat apples in the comments. Here are a couple of tips from CF readers:
I also love cut up apples- squirt on some lemon juice to stop them from going brown if you’re on the go – Charlotte
Dice up an apple […] and top it with some broken up pecans and drizzle it with maple syrup. It is delicious! – Molly
What do you think?
What are your favorite healthy snacks that keep you energized? Do you prefer healthiness or convenience when it comes to your snacks? Or do you need both? How do you like to spice up or be creative with your snacks? Also, would you guys be interested in a future post about quick, easy, but healthy meal ideas? Drop me a comment and let me know!