Sick of eating cereal and ramen for lunch and dinner? Want to spend less money eating out and finally start cooking for yourself? Put down that frozen pizza, because HC’s Health Editor, Sammie Levin, is here to share her daily eats so you can get ideas for healthy, satisfying meals that are easy enough for any time-strapped collegiette to make. After you read Collegiette Eats, your taste buds, wallet and waistline will thank you.
Whether it's because your stomach is grumbling but dinner is two hours away or because you just want a little something to nosh on, we all need a snack sometimes. Snacking is a fun, often necessary part of a balanced diet, especially for busy and active collegiettes. The trouble with snacking is that once you start, it can be hard to stop, and then what you wanted to be just a little snack turns into a full-fledged meal. This can be particularly true when you reach for packaged snacks, like chips, which are usually devoid of substantial nutritional value and have such tiny serving sizes that you're bound to hit the 300+ calorie mark with just a few handfuls.
When it comes to snacks, you should aim for something that has about 150-200 calories and contains nutrients that will actually satisfy your hunger (protein, fiber and/or healthy fats) rather than "empty" calories. These six snacks meet that criteria, so the next time you find yourself hungry in between meals, reach for one of these Collegiette-Eats-approved treats!
1. Chia Pods
I saw these Chia Pods at Whole Foods the other week for the first time, and I was so intrigued because I love everything made with chia seeds (like overnight oats or this chia seed jam). These pods are filled with chia pudding, which has a consistency similar to tapioca pudding. They come in four different flavors (vanilla bean, banana, mango and blueberry) and have about 160 calories each, with no added sugar. You'l get 100 percent of your daily value of omega-3s (healthy fats), plus some fiber and protein. Their convenient packaging makes these cute little pods a great snack to throw in your bag for when you get the study munchies at the library.
In a half-cup serving of shelled edamame, you'll get 120 calories, 9 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on top and you'll have a snack that's like chips or popcorn but much better for you. Stick to the half-cup serving or up it to three-quarters of a cup if you want a bit more. You can take them on the go in a Ziploc baggie for easy in-class or between-class snacking.
3. Roasted chickpeas
Like edamame, chickpeas are a healthy source of protein. Plain old chickpeas are a good snack themselves (a half cup serving is 100-110 calories), but roasted chickpeas add a burst of flavor and a satisfying crunch. The Good Bean makes several varieties of roasted chickpeas, such as chocolate, sea salt and cinnamon. They're so good that they taste like junk food, without the junk. One serving has 120 calories, so you can have one to one and a half servings for a well-portioned snack. You can also roast your own chickpeas with your own seasonings; it's super easy!
4. Banana and nut butter
If you've read even just a few of my posts, you know how much I love bananas and almond butter. I have the combo almost every morning in my oatmeal. This dynamic duo is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, so it can kick your cravings to a curb in a healthy way. The banana is a good source of fiber, natural sugars and potassium, while the almond butter delivers protein and healthy fats - in other words, it has real staying power, unlike those packaged peanut butter crackers from the vending machine. Spread one tablespoon of almond butter (or any other nut butter of your choice) on the banana for a snack-sized serving.
5. Scrambled eggs and spinach
Eggs and spinach are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. Eggs are a good source of vitamin B-12 and vitamin D, while spinach is a good source of almost every vitamin, but particularly vitamins A, K and C. One egg has 70 calories, so one to two eggs plus as much spinach as you want (one cup uncooked only has 7 calories!) would make for an eggcellent snack.
6. thinkThin Protein and Fiber Bars
Collegiettes know the convenience of grabbing a bar as a snack, but not all bars are created equally. What you may think is a health bar may actually be a candy bar in disguise, lacking the "natural" ingredients it touts and being full of sugar instead. Luckily, there are some brands of bars out there that do make for a good snack, especially when you're in a hurry. thinkThin is one brand that I like because their High Protein Bars have zero grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein and are gluten free. Those bars are 230-240 calories, which is still reasonable for a snack even though its over the recommended 200 calories. However, ThinkThin just came out with a new line of fiber bars, which are 180-190 calories. These fiber ones have less protein, but more fiber. They also have 2 grams of sugar versus none, but that's still minimal compared to most bars, which often have more than 10 grams. I tried the Chocolate Almond Coconut flavor the other day and it was delicious. It's an excellent mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack that can take care of your chocolate craving in an instant.
Snacking doesn't have to be condemned as it sometimes is in the weight-loss world. These six snacks are just a few of the countless healthy snack options there are out there - and I plan to feature more on the blog sometime soon!