The secret to healthy snacking

Illustration by Bradly Wohlgemuth

We’ve all been there: your assignments are piling up, your backpack is getting heavier and heavier, and your gym shoes are getting a little dustier and a little less stinky.

When you’re diving back in to the busy life of a student, you might be at a loss when it comes to finding nutritious study snacks. Stopping at G.P.A’.s for a bag of chips and pop is all too easy.

I’m here to tell you that healthy snacking is not as tricky as it seems. By following three simple steps, you can save your money, nourish your body, and rile up a little lunchroom envy.

Step 1: Write down your favourite not-so-healthy snacks

What’s your go-to convenience store purchase? Whether it’s a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, or a couple slices of pizza, you need to find out what you’re most likely to crave when study-hunger hits.

Step 2: Create a healthy version of those snacks

Take your unhealthy snacks and give them a facelift.

Do you love a salty, crunchy bag of chips? The healthy counterpart might be some home-popped popcorn with a tiny pinch of salt and some spices. Purchase the kernels in bulk to control the amount you pop. Two to three tablespoons of kernels makes the perfect amount for snacking. Try topping it with cinnamon and raisins, dill weed, or olive oil.

Are sweets more your thing? Fruit is the candy of the Earth. Apples make great dorm room snacks because they stay fresh for a long time unrefrigerated. Apples taste great with some peanut butter or almond butter and dried cranberries on top. This snack is full of protein and fibre, and will keep you feeling full throughout the day.

Step 3: Go shopping

Do you feel like you’re often strapped for cash? Of course you do, you’re a student! No problem. Superstore and Walmart tend to be cheaper places to purchase groceries. Bulk food stores are also a great way to go, since you can buy the exact amount you need. Bulk Barn has a 10 per cent student discount every Wednesday – just show your student card.

Bring this handy list of store-bought snacks along with you, and you’ll be well on your way to snacking success:

– Hummus, vegetables, and pita bread

– Fruit (try a new type of fruit each week)

– Nuts and seeds (try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds)

– Individual-sized yogurts

– Larabars (gluten-free and vegan)

– Small cans of tuna with whole-grain crackers

– DIY trail mix (pick a low-sugar cereal and add nuts, seeds, and dried fruit)

– Homemade muffins (freeze them individually for quick on-the go snacks)

– Ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins)

– Whole-grain crackers with pesto and olives