Gather round children. We’re here today to talk about how to snack wisely when you’re on the go. I sat down with SCNC RD Sarah Butler to get some tips for ya’ll, cause I know how hard it is to fit good snacks into a busy day. All tips below are from her, so let’s get a nice preemptory round of applause for Sarah. *insert clapping*
First, Sarah wanted to set the basics straight. If you know you have a lot of classes back to back and won’t have time to grab something or eat a meal, bring a snack with you to eat during class. Most professors don’t mind, and if you aren’t sure if it’s okay, just ask your professor before class if it would be too distracting to him/her. If you’re snacking in class, you might want to have a relatively quite/unobtrusive snack, like a banana instead of an apple. Yogurt is good too because it’s not loud or big, even though some yogurts have a strong scent. You can always stick to the classic granola bar, which, if you’re trying to keep it quiet, you can just open before your class starts and keep it on your desk till you’re ready to eat it.
Don’t forget that you can order a Rhetty-to-go meal, which counts as one meal swipe, the night before your busy days. Sarah is a fan of the Rhetty-to-go system because it makes life easier for students who have little time to stop for snacks and meals. You can have half a sandwich for a snack earlier in the day and save the other half for later, or eat your whole meal whenever you get the chance.
Sarah then broke it down more specifically. If you know you’re gonna eat in about an hour but you need something RIGHT NOW, keep it simple. Try a fruit or vegetable snack for quick filling power. If you need something to last a little bit longer, add a protein into the mix, like maybe an apple with peanut butter or carrot sticks and hummus. If you’re not gonna get the chance to eat for about three hours, have a mini-meal! You’ll want to have a grain, a vegetable or fruit, and a protein. An example Sarah poses is one serving of 100% whole wheat Wheat Thins with some veggies and a string cheese (the low-fat string cheese at City Co is an easy, inexpensive grab!). Or even a half peanut butter sandwich and a banana, like a healthy take on the Elvis Presley sandwich. (And then, in a separate comment, Sarah mused, “Why do I always talk about Elvis?”) If you wanna read more about why this mini-meal is a good choice, check out our meal planning information.
Sarah also wants to give mad love to the Clif bar. And really the Luna and Odwalla bars too–any in the 200 calorie range. Why, you ask? Because a bar of about 200 calories will actually fill you up and satisfy you, unlike the “100 Calorie” bars that are so popular these days. Sarah and I agreed during our interview that every time we eat a 100 Calorie bar, we get to the end and wonder, “Where did it go?” I personally have that Patrick Star moment where I look at my friend and say, “You took my only food, now I’m gonna starve!” The Clif/Luna/Odwalla bar alone will last you through your long class, and if you add a piece of fruit with it you’ll be set for even longer.
Last big tip Sarah wanted to give is that if you like to eat at the dining halls a lot, you should get an Unlimited Meal Plan if you and your family can swing the extra $280. With this plan, the dining hall becomes an endless meal and snack supply for you because you can go in and have a glass of chocolate milk and a banana with peanut butter if you only have 20 minutes to spare, and then you don’t have to pay on-hand cash for a snack at a convenience store. You could even swipe in for just a piece of fruit and not have to worry about running out of meals. Always utilize the 1-piece-of-fruit-may-leave-the-dining-hall-with-you-at-a-time rule, because then you have a snack for later that you don’t have to find time to buy. The deadline to change your meal plan for the semester has passed, but keep this in mind for next year!
To wrap up, I wanna guide ya’ll to some resources on our Sargent Choice website. Find here some tips about figuring out if you’re actually hungry or if it’s something else, (like maybe your parents always told you to clean your plate even though you got full before you finished the meal). Learn your nutritional ABC’s here by clicking through the tab on the right-hand side. And finally, here is our official smart snacking chart.