Illustrations by Arundhati Prasad
If you’re anything like me and don’t have a meal plan, your healthy choices are probably being tossed to the wind when you visit the Hub. However, it’s true that the healthier you eat, the more motivated and focused you stay throughout the day. Packing well-planned and portioned snacks will help fuel you through the day, so I’ve cooked up a list of relatively easy snacks to pack when you’re spending all waking hours in the building.
Cinnamon roasted almonds: These are a delightfully addicting snack that you can portion out into 100-calorie bags and toss in your purse or backpack to satisfy your sweet tooth throughout the day. The recipe is pretty quick and will make your kitchen smell like grandma’s house. Place almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Lightly coat with cooking spray and sift cinnamon sugar onto the almonds in large mixing bowl. An alternative is to make cocoa almonds with a light dusting of Hershey’s cocoa powder.
Hummus jars: If your inner hipster is crying out for new ways to use those mason jars, fear not — I have found a solution! Drop a couple of dollops of your favorite kind of hummus into the bottom of the jar, and then stand freshly sliced carrots and celery into the hummus. Put a lid on top and store in your fridge for up to one week.
Yogurt-covered blueberries: This is the easiest snack on the list. Simply take some fresh, organic blueberries, give them a good wash and then lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Take your favorite greek yogurt (I’ve found the thicker the yogurt, the better) and drop a small amount to cover each blueberry. Pop into your freezer for an hour and you’ve got yourself a chilly blueberry delight.
Baked apple chips: These apple slices are full of fiber, vegan and basically the best substitute for potato chips that I have found yet. The fun thing about apple chips is that you can play with different types of apples for a mixed bag of flavors to take on-the-go.
Rainbow veggie pinwheels: Take a spinach tortilla, spread some Laughing Cow herb and garlic cheese on it, and top with slices of red, yellow and orange peppers, purple cabbage and spinach. Roll into a tight wrap, and then slice into pinwheels for a bite-sized treat (and if you can think of a blue vegetable or tasty blue addition, comment below).
Cucumber tuna cups: Cucumber tuna cups are fast, refreshing and filling. Packed with protein and flavor, this is a snack (or lunch) option that will keep you healthy and alert for that big art history exam.
Cucumber sandwiches: Alternative options to the cucumber tuna cups are cucumber sandwiches. This is something my mom packed in my Muppet Babies lunch box during elementary school (sadly, I do not have the lunch box … nor does my mom pack my lunch anymore). I thinly chop cucumbers and put a small square of cheese and turkey in the middle of two slices. Play around with you favorite types of fillings to customize this crunchy snack.
Apple sandwiches with peanut butter and granola: Take warning — while incredibly messy, you will abandon all manners and keep coming back for more. Sometimes I even add in a few mini chocolate chips for extra goodness.
Fruit salsa with sweet and salty tortillas: I learned how to make this while working with a catering company over the summer and let me tell you, it is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Finely chop up your favorite combination of juicy fruits — I like to use strawberries, kiwi, granny smith apples and raspberries — and toss into a mixing bowl. Heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray tortillas front and back with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cut tortillas into wedges and enjoy with your customized fruit salsa. Good luck cutting yourself off from these goodies!
Sriracha popcorn: Every so often, there comes a master with tastebuds of steel. This is the snack for those who like to let their inner dragon breathe fire and keep their snacks spicy. This recipe is an awesome and fast bowl to whip up in a hurry for a movie night with friends.
Buffalo chicken celery sticks: In my family, buffalo sticks are a favorite — they give you the experience of wings with a slightly healthier spin. I like to put a few crumbles of bleu cheese on top to balance the heat.
Texas caviar logs: Another way you can jazz up your celery stick without adding too many more calories by using them as a holder for Texas caviar — black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, cilantro and red onion. I mix together the veggies with a little lime juice and olive oil (and salt and pepper to taste), and then load them into the celery stick grooves.
I hope all you busy bees are able to take a few minutes out of your schedules and drawing studios to make a nutritious snack so you can stay bright eyed and buzz-buzzing through the next week of tests and projects. Remember, food is an art, and your creations in the kitchen can fuel you and your artwork if you keep things healthy and colorful!