College has been going on for a little more than two months, and chances are I’m not the only one lamenting my suddenly tighter jeans. The first round of all-nighters and research papers naturally included sugar-loaded caffeine drinks and bags of potato chips. The notorious freshman 15 has reared its head, and students can be seen freaking out as their once-toned beach bodies are engulfed in the results of dining hall and grocery store food. But fear not: For every problem, there is a solution, and for this one, there are five healthy, delicious and easy-to-make or -buy snacks that will help turn your fat-pack back into a six-pack (or at least a flat-pack).
Kale’s dark green, cabbagelike appearance may not make it the prettiest thing out there, but kale chips are low in calories and taste better than any of the diet-destroying chips that you usually eat. Cut and wash the kale, bake the leaves in the oven for about 20 minutes or microwave them for about 30 minutes and voila — kale chips!
You’ve probably heard about the healthy fruit-and-yogurt combo plenty of times throughout your life, but the claims are true. Take a cup of Chobani or some Yoplait, and toss in some fruit. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are high in antioxidants. Kiwi is high in vitamin C. Mangoes and oranges contain other necessary vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E and niacin, which helps one’s immune system.
Granola bars are one of the easiest to find, cheapest and most filling snacks out there. My favorite companies are Kashi, Quaker Oats, Nature Valley and Trader Joe’s. They’re high in fiber, and their flavorings are good sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Just be sure you aren’t buying granola bars that are pretending to be healthy. I’m sorry, but a triple-chocolate-fudge granola bar that’s healthy — that is too good to be true.
For those of us who can’t substitute our junk foods with healthier alternatives, there is always an easy way to making your food healthier. Take popcorn. Buy a bottle of popcorn kernels, stick them in a microwavable container, put on a lid and let it pop as you would packaged popcorn. This type of popcorn is much healthier than normal microwavable popcorn because it uses less oil and contains fewer calories. Once the popcorn is done, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over it. Now you can catch up with your favorite shows without expanding by the minute.
Pita bread comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from pita chips to mini-pizza-sized pieces of bread. For the best nutritional boost, pick whole-wheat or whole-grain options, and combine them with delicious hummus flavors such as basil pesto, sun-dried tomato or spinach and artichoke to enrich yourself with iron, protein and vitamin B6.