Crunch time doesn’t need to be chip time

Thu, Mar 15, 2012

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Crunch time doesn’t need to be chip time

Hot PlateWith warm sunny weather and the end of the semester around the corner, it’s tempting for students to throw healthy eating habits out the window. But help is at hand: we spoke with Amanda Garbutt of the Hot Plate for some healthful snacking tips you can share with your student.

The habits you adopt now are going to seriously impact your lifestyle when you leave university. I can’t help but find humour in the number of people I know that avoided the Freshman Fifteen, but not the Bay Street Fifteen when they joined the work force. Eating is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and for many of us (myself included) the hardest part to control is the in between mealtime snack.

Snacking is a slippery slope. It starts with that first bag of chips at the beginning of the semester and then all of a sudden exam time hits. You find yourself running to the vending machine at 3pm for your routine “exam time only” Doritos and Snickers hit. These are the types of habits that are avoidable. To help I have three simple rules:

1. Keep it Crunchy

When students get busy, they’ll use any excuse to avoid cooking. Instead, try thinking of cooking as a quick and rewarding break from hitting the books. Try whipping up some crunchy snacks like Roasted Chickpeas (recipe below) in larger quantities so you’ll have snacks all week long.

To help make these last, buy snack size bags and portion out snacks for the week. Now you’ve got a great, low fat and protein rich snack that won’t disappoint. Not a fan? Swap greasy chips for all natural popcorn that is just 160 calories per 6 cups. That is more than 14 handfuls of crunchy delicious popcorn, which you can flavour to your liking. We love sprinkling fresh rosemary and sea salt on ours for a comforting kick. Also try flavours like chili powder and lime zest.

2. Keep it Portable

Using snack size bags, small Tupperware and other grab and go friendly snacks is the key to eating well. The fewer barriers and hurdles, the more likely you are to follow this. Another great idea is to avoid foods requiring utensils. That is just another element that will stop you from packing your own healthy treats.

3. Eat more of Nature’s Candy (aka Fruit)

Fruit is a refreshing and satisfying way to get your midday sugar rush. While fruit alone will not stave off hunger, it is a key element to a perfect snack. Try pairing sugar rich fruits with high protein yogurts or nuts to keep you energized until dinnertime. Grab-and-go friendly snacks like apples, pears, bananas and grapes are a perfect choice. For fruits like pineapples, mangoes, etc. make sure to cut them up and portion them out. For better freshness keep them in an airtight container and then place a handful of the fruit into an individual bag as you run out the door.

Eating healthy is just about making a few small changes that not only streamline how you cook, but also how much energy you have to study. These quick tricks are a simple way to get and keep you on the right path. We have tons more simple recipes and 5-minute cooking videos on our website www.thehotplate.com so feel free to check them out!

Roasted Chickpeas

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

2 – 19 fl oz tins chickpeas
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Let them dry for 2 minutes in a colander. Dry the chickpeas completely between paper towels.
3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 30-40 minutes until they rattle and sound hollow when you shake the baking sheet.
5. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Portion into individual bags and you’re ready to enjoy your grab and go snack.

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