by Stephanie Small
Published May 1, 2013
Grad students on the go need fuel constantly. When you’re brainstorming ideal snacks, keep three things in mind:
We all know most grad students are on a budget, and you need to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Ever wonder why you’re ravenous after a study session? All that studying means you’re expending tons of energy. Give your body the most nutrients possible so that you can work, study, and perform effectively.
Let’s face it –if it doesn’t taste good, you’re just not going to eat it.
Check out our two-part video series to learn our best cheap, healthy, and tasty snack ideas for grad students.
Nuts and Fruits:
1. Nuts contain lots of fat, and that’s a good thing. A handful or two of nuts will keep you full for a long time, whereas munching on candy and chips will leave you hungry an hour later. Plus, the brain is mostly fat, and eating foods rich in healthy fat supports optimal brain development. Nuts are also high in B vitamins, which support production of brain chemicals that improve mood. An added bonus: stress depletes minerals, and nuts are chock full of ‘em. Select raw nuts, since nuts in a package are often coated with partially hydrogenated oils which can lead to health problems. Also pick organic, unless you like your nuts with a nice marinade of pesticides. You can also explore nuts in the form of nut butters, such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. Be sure to check out the ingredient label –your nut butter should only contain nuts, and maybe oil and salt. Avoid added sugar.
2. Aside from being high in vitamins and minerals, fruit is oh-so-tasty. It’s nature’s candy. However, since fruit is a carbohydrate, it won’t keep you full for long – that’s why an apple never seems to cut it as a snack - so pair your fruit with a protein and fat. Some combos we like: apple with peanut butter, berries in yogurt, or pear with a slice of cheese.
Eggs and Seaweed:
1. Hardboiled eggs are very protein-dense, which means they’ll stabilize your blood sugar, give you energy, and support brain function. Don’t hesitate to dab them in sea salt for a good flavor – sea salt is rich in minerals. When you’re purchasing eggs (or any food, for that matter) think quality – the average factory farm yields eggs from stressed, sick, antibiotic and hormone laden chickens. Ew! Try pastured eggs from a local farmer, at the Farmer’s Market or at a health food co-op. Yes, they cost a few dollars more, but at the most you’ll be paying 50 cents per egg. Hard to argue with such a cheap snack when it offers such amazing health benefits.
2. If you’ve had sushi, you’ve had seaweed – nori is the dark green “wrapper” that encloses many sushi rolls. Seaweed is one of the most mineral-dense foods in the world and many of us go crazy for its salty taste. Like fruit, seaweed is a carbohydrate, so eating a few sheets of nori alone won’t be filling. Instead, pair it with protein and a little bit of fat to keep you full. Try filling sheets of nori with tuna and avocado, or nut butter, or scrambled eggs, or cream cheese. Some of these combinations may sound weird, but they’re actually pretty tasty. Experiment and be creative!
Maintaining a healthy diet may help you better manage the physical and mental demands of being a graduate student. Before you hit the vending machine to satisfy those late night cravings or grab a sack of fast food for lunch on the go, think twice, there are a great deal of healthy and affordable snack options that are easy to make and tasty to eat.
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