We understand that as a college student, you are constantly on the go, especially if you have full-time commitments in addition to homework and class. With only a few minutes between meetings, soccer practice, dinner and commuting it’s important to have healthy snacks throughout the day that are quick and good for you. Here are some of our favorite spring produce and nutrition bar options to help get you through your busy schedule.
Spring Seasonal Fruits
Whether we are seeking efficiencies in the workplace or in our studies, we often hear the acronym KISS, or “Keep it Simple Silly.” This philosophy can easily transfer to planning healthy eating habits in our busy schedules by packing seasonal fruits and veggies in our bag for the day. Look spring crops at the market that combine the best flavor and value during harvest. Here are a few some ideas with nutrition facts to help you find the best options for your life:
- Apricots – These orange relatives of peaches are not too juicy but definitely soft and sweet. They are excellent sources for vitamin A, which is known to promote vision health, and also contribute vitamin C, copper, fiber and potassium to your daily diet.
- Artichokes – Often resembling flower buds, these pointy veggies pack high quantities of potassium which helps cardiovascular health by maintaining normal heart rhythm. Other benefits contribute to immunity, digestion, blood health, weight control and bone health.
- Asparagus – Primarily known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits, asparagus contains nutrients that are risk reducers to common chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Grapefruit – These robust fruits are quite low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, which is why many people have actually created diets around it in the past. Although it does not burn fat in particular, it serves as a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin A.
- Lemons – There are many hidden health secrets of lemons that we often overlook. In fact, the Ancient Egyptians believed that they were effective protection agents against various poisons. Their best known characteristics today align with these theories in that they are strong antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosters, which is why they are often used during weight loss strategies as digestive aids and liver cleansers.
Quick Tip: Lemon Cubes!
Instead of filling up your ice tray with just water, boost it up with some lemon juice to make tasty cooling cubes to throw in your water bottle for the road. For bigger party pitchers try slicing the citrus and placing them in a muffin pan with water then throw them in the freezer. Add some fresh spring mint leaves and serve the most refreshing beverage on the block!
The Best Bars
Some health conscious people swear by protein powder shakes and those grainy bars, but not all products are created equal. Well and Good, a New York City company obsessed with health and wellness, showcases some of the best and the worst nutrition bars for those on the go snacks. Here are the top picks for the healthiest products:
- Kind Blueberry Pecan + Fiber - This 10 ingredient bar is made with simple, whole foods such as almonds, blueberries, honey and brown rice. It is not your traditional protein bar with only 3 grams of the ingredient, and with just 12 grams of sugar it breaks the mold of other fruit-nut varieties, giving you just the right amount of nutrition and energy without a crash. Created by KIND, the product boasts promoting a healthy digestive system, appetite control and supports steady blood sugar levels.
- Quest Coconut Cashew - For that protein fix to get you through those late night papers this is the next best bar. It yields 17 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein in only 170 calories. It is both satisfying and nutritional with quality ingredients including almonds, coconut, sea salt and whey protein isolate.
- Larabar Uber Roasted Nut Roll - Of course at least one top name brand has to make the list, Larabar is a popular brand for quick snacks, but this one stands apart from the spectrum of products the company provides. The Uber Roasted Nut Roll has that sweet and salty taste that we all love without leaving us with that lingering guilty feeling. It contains only 14 grams of carbs for that steady boost of energy, 7 grams of natural sugars and the balance of roasted nuts.
- Zing Almond Blueberry - It looks like blueberries are winning the race as the power fruit for the top bars on the list. The Zing Almond Blueberry bar is a great source of gluten-free, soy-free and wheat-free energy that is made up of all organic ingredients. It is easily digestible and absorbed quickly into your system which is perfect for a quick boost before class or after an early morning workout session.
- Health Warrior Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chia - The power of Chia seeds bloomed after Dr. Oz praised them as a good source of fiber, protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids and they are still going strong. This vegan bar is high in nutrients and low in sugar and calories with ingredients like cocoa powder and organic peanut butter.
All of these products are available with a quick search online, your local health store and vitamin shops. They are perfect alternatives to that fast food restaurant right by your home or office you grab on your way out the door. Check them out!
Try This! - Make Your Own Bar!
For those that want a little more control over what goes into their bodies and have a nice baking break in their schedule, they can try making their own health bars. There are tons of recipes out there that let you pick and choose the ingredients you want in your snacks. From sweet to savory explore 9 healthy homemade bars that you can grab on the go.
Learn More About Nutrition and Wellness
Many schools have courses that can help you manage your personal health and teach others the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles. Brandman University for example offers a undergraduate certificate in nutrition and wellness that allows students to explore the dynamic factors that impact us individually and as a society. Graduates can apply what they learned to a variety of professional fields such as sports therapy, fitness management, leadership, nursing and senior wellness to name a few.
The certificate may also help prepare students for the registered dietitian (RD) bachelor's degree program from an accredited university approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Students seeking this education path must also pass a national examination administrated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) in addition to standard requirements.