Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Food: Exam Season Snacks

If you've ever crammed for multiple exams, you know there's not a whole lot of time to cook your own food. Heck, sometimes you can't even spare the time to go out to eat. Yet that doesn't mean you should fill your body with potato chips and Snickers bars, either. Here's a few of my favorite healthy convenience foods for this harrying season:


There was a massive effort to rebrand prunes by Sunsweet Growers (the largest prune producers in the world). Traditionally associated with people with digestive problems, prunes were emphasized as tasting great and being good for you. To this end, Sunsweet introduced "Sunsweet Ones," individually wrapped prunes in an attractive plastic canister.

Okay, so it's not ecologically friendly, but the individual plastic wrapping for each prune eliminates the previously sticky experience of sticking your hand into a jar of prunes. And it's not all marketing hype, either; prunes have a boatload of soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as potassium and antioxidants. The form factor of "Sunsweet Ones" is ideal for study breaks - pop a couple of prunes every hour, and you'll have long-lasting energy and colon health.


Nuts have always been a mixed bag nutritionally. On the one hand, nuts are good sources of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. On the other, they're rich in fat. And even though most of that fat might be the "good," monounsaturated kind, it still means you can't gorge on nuts without adding to your overall calorie intake.

I favor Blue Diamond Growers' whole, unflavored almonds for my snacking needs. You can get them in either the traditional nut canister or a sleekly designed plastic fliptop container. The plastic containers have clever markings on the side to help you measure out one-ounce portions. Short of eating cans of beans, this is the most cost-effective way to get your protein on the go.

Rooibos Tea

If you need less caffeine and tannin than even green tea, you should try some rooibos tea, or "bush tea" as it's known in South Africa. I was first introduced to this stuff in the pages of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" where main character Mma Ramotswe imbibes the stuff whenever she is working on a difficult case.

It has a calming effect, especially when served with some milk and a little sugar. Rooibos makes the list of convenience foods because it's mind-numbingly easy to make - it's almost impossible to oversteep this tea. Just pour boiling water over the leaves, wait however long you want, and drink up. If you tried that with green tea, you could end up with an astringent mess.


At 9:30 PM, Blogger Home on the Range said...

Loved that book, but had to hunt for the tea. Good recommendation.



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