My College Snack Food Staples

Hello, hello, hello! What’s happenin’?! Today’s post is inspired by yesterday’s grocery shopping trip with Nana, where I realized after all this time, “I always buy the exact same snack foods at the grocery store!”. Sometimes I’ll add a fun item to the list if I’m feeling adventurous, but my core items always remain the same.

college snack food staples

Basically, I love snacks. I was trying to think of the reasons why I like ’em so much, and I came up with a little list:

  • They’re fun foods to eat! (nuts, individual yogurt cups, crunchy popcorn…)
  • They distract you from the mundane nature of school work
  • They taste good. duh.
  • You get to eat when it’s not mealtime!
  • Snacks go with pretty much any social setting (a movie, sports games, road trips… you name it)

However, although I dooooo like my snacking, I do try to keep it on the relatively healthy side, so that I don’t feel lethargic afterwards, and so that I don’t still feel hungry! (As my dad used to say, “Nicole, stop eating those Cheese-Nip cracker things! They are empty calories!”

Now, although I don’t say “no” to Cheese-Nips (they will always hold a special place in my heart), I make a point not to stock my shelves with them on a regular basis.

So! Here’s my list of go-to foods that I pick up at the store without even thinking twice. (Easy for my brain, bad for my wallet).

  • Nut Butter 

Usually if I’m at school I’ll buy almond or cashew butter to give my stomach a little break from peanut butter. I have, however been known to buy all three both at once.

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  • Cheese (a recent addition)

I’m not talking about pre-shredded TexMex here. I mean good, interesting, flavour infused cheeses- that cots a maximum of $5. For example, a couple of weeks ago I bought a Rosemary infused Asiago, and a smoked Gouda. This week’s choice was a little more adventurous in the looks department…

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Pesto Gouda Cheese! Don’t hate, don’t hate, don’t hate- while it does look like some scary green monster invaded the cheese with a fungus, I swear it tastes normal (and delicious).

  • Nuts (at least 2 kinds)

Because one or two container of nut butters just isn’t enough- you gotta have the real deal!

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Lately I’ve been loving these coconut cashews from Trader Joe’s, as well as salted, roasted, Macadamia nuts. I do try to limit my Macadamia nut purchasing because they’re so darn expensive, but once in a while they’re a worthy splurge 🙂

  • Greek yogurt (both the flavoured individual cups and a large, plain container)

The rate at which I go through Greek yogurt is insane. But seriously, I think I need to either, a) start making my own yogurt, or b) start returning my large yogurt containers straight to the manufacturer because I swear they are wasting sooooo much plastic on me.

Exhibit A: The amount of yogurt I picked up from Wegman’s yesterday. This should last me through the week.

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  • Popcorn (some other salty snack)

I have a slight popcorn addiction, however it kills me that it’s so much more expensive to buy the pre-popped variety. When I’m at home, I try to make my own the old-fashioned way, but when I’m at school I get a little lazy, and usually resort to my faves, Boomchickapop and Chiapop.

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  • Coconut chips

It’s safe to say that I’m addicted to coconut chips, and I can’t wait to have the chance to make them myself (if I can…). Sadly, coconut trees aren’t exactly common in British Columbia, especially in the winter, sooooo my chances of finding a coconut and making this myself are pretty slim. Thankfully, Trader Joe’s and Dang do a pretty good job of keeping my coconut craving satisfied!

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  • Protein Powder

Although I don’t buy protein powder every single time I go to the grocery store, I do make sure that my backpack shelves are always well stocked.

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My two current favourite protein powders are Jay Robb, and Vega. They both taste great, and have great nutritional stats without the crazy ingredients. Those criteria are a must for me!

Questions:

Do you have any snack food staples?

Do you like snacking?

Do you snack more now than you used to during other periods of your life? 

 

Friday Favourites #8: Salads and Overnight Oats

I have a confession to make…

After posting last night about getting enough sleep, I proceeded to stay up until 1:30 am working on a project :(. Definitely not ideal, but hey, sometimes life gets in the way, right?

Anyway, here are some (mostly) pretty food pics of my meals lately. They’re unintentionally mostly vegetarian, mainly because I haven’t been inspired to cook meat when it’s so hot out. Fortunately I’ve been able to integrate protein into my diet in a variety of ways, and I haven’t missed meat one bit!

Overnight Oats

Ever since my Chobani Experimentation on Monday, I’ve been addicted to the Greek yogurt and oats combo. There’s so many different ways to make it interesting and different, and lately Ive been loving the addition of frozen fruit to change up the flavours.

Until I ran out of frozen mango (which I go through in about a day), Mango overnight oats made a couple appearances for my morning meal.

IMG_3937Inspired by Apple Cinnamon Chobani Oats, I made myself Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats, and they were deeeelicious.

IMG_3923The past few mornings I’ve been enjoying Peach Overnight Oats. 

Image 13As I prepped my breakfast for tomorrow morning, I snapped some pictures of the 2-minute assembling process so that I could post a recipe soon. Overnight Oats for everyone! 😀

Salads

It’s been so warm out (and I’m not complaining), that I haven’t felt like heating up the apartment even more by cooking hot meals. I’ve also been trying to focus on eating more vegetables, and I find that salads are a great way for me to throw a bunch of veggies in a bowl and get a few servings in at once.

A kale, sweet potato, feta, and cranberry salad from Fuel did the trick for lunch earlier this week!

IMG_3932A base of spinach, topped with Greek yogurt, guacamole, chick peas, black beans, carrots, deli turkey, goat cheese, sriracha, and tortilla chips.

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More tortilla chips! This salad is awfully similar to the one pictured above, but without turkey, carrots or sriracha sauce.
ImageGreen salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and a whole wack of feta cheese. They piled it on high!

IMG_3936You tired of my similar salads yet? This one has a base of spinach, topped with cottage cheese, garlic hummus, carrots, black beans, pistachios, and deli turkey.

Image 6I ate this fresh salad outside on the porch while reading and relaxing in the sun.

Image 7Why be stuck inside on a gorgeous day like this?

Dinner from Thursday night: quinoa, sweet potato, carrots, kale, spinach, black beans, and chick peas.

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Yummers! Check out those colours 🙂

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Okay well minus several spoonfuls of cashew butter, a couple bananas, and some Goldfish crackers, that’s a fairly good recap of my latest eats. The following week should have some fairly vibrant, fresh, and (hopefully) delicious dishes, because I went grocery shopping today and bought vegetables! And I plan on getting a little more creative than the basic salad.

I see some green smoothies in the near future! 😀

Questions:

What’s one thing you’ve been loving lately? Any latest food faves?

Overnight Oats Are Back!

Two summers ago, thanks to healthy living blogs, I discovered the creamy deliciousness that is Overnight Oats.

This breakfast became the perfect post-swim meal that I would scarf down before I begun work at 9 am. I ate it religiously during the summer weekdays, since it was easy to make and transport, and not to mention super filling!

However, when I went back to school, I returned to the dining hall, which meant my breakfasts consisted of hot oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and omelettes. Since then, overnight oats haven’t made a huge comeback in my repertoire of breakfast staples until my love for them was reborn, thanks to my Chobani Experimentation yesterday!

IMG_3920Yesterday’s apple cinnamon oat concoction was so refreshing after my morning workout, that I knew overnight oats would have to make an appearance today.

Sadly, I didn’t have any more apples, so I resorted to one of my all-time favourite fruits: Mango!

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Before going to bed last night, I combined the following ingredients in a tupperware dish:

  • 3/4 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 Tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (I’m not gluten-free, but I found some at Trader Joe’s and bought them out of curiosity)
  • ~1/4 cup milk
  • a drizzle of maple syrup
  • ~2/3 cup frozen mango

This morning I added a few more chunks of frozen mango, and dug in!

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Get ready for a lot of overnight oats in the future, because I have a feeling they’re going to become my go-to breakfast, and quite possibly my snack as well!

Workout

I enjoyed my mango overnight oats after a sweaty spin class this morning at Body Cycle.

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I thought about going to Unite Fitness afterwards for “leg day”, but decided against it, as I am playing squash later today and don’t want to overdo it. Playing squash with dead legs is a recipe for disaster, since I completely forget how to move and end up tripping over myself.

Questions:

Do you like overnight oats? If so, what are your favourite mix-ins or flavours? 

Oh man, I’m going to have to dedicate an entire post to my favourite mix-ins, because the combinations are endless! Surprisingly, although I love my protein pudding (Greek yogurt + protein powder), I like to keep protein powder out of my overnight oats. No idea why, but I think it’s because I actually like the tartness and thickness of the Greek yogurt in its natural form. I’m a weirdo!

Chobani Experimentation

It’s Monday Monday Monday! Hope you had a good weekend and had the chance to do something fun.

Doesn’t this look like the definition of fun?

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Squished

 

I had to move apartments yesterday, and since I have about 6 bags (which aren’t even all full!), I figured it would be a good decision to cab to my new place instead of walk.

Thankfully it wasn’t too long of a ride, because I barely fit in the backseat with all my stuff!

Dinner

Last night I went out to Mix for dinner with Nabilla, and her friends Chris and Andres. I had already eaten dinner, so I wasn’t too hungry, but they were famished and ordered a large BBQ chicken pizza and a pasta dish.

We knew the pizza was a size “large”, but we really didn’t realize quite what that meant according to Mix’s standards.

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And just in case you can’t quite get a sense of how large this pizza actually is…

PicMonkey CollageEach slice was roughly the size of Nabilla’s head.

And magically, there were no leftovers! Hungry people can devour pizza like it’s their full-time job.

Post-Workout Meal(s)

I think it’s safe to say that my stint of egg-cellent meals has come to and end…for now. Although I love eggs and I’m pretty good at eating the same thing over and over again, I am honestly a bit egg-ed out. When you’re impatient and hungry with limited options in the fridge, there’s only so many things you can do with eggs. (Or maybe only so many things I was willing to do with eggs…)

In any case, after my session at Unite this morning, I knew eggs were not in the cards. So, I stopped in at a local market to gather inspiration, and what did I find….?

Not just Chobani yogurt, but new, limited-batch flavours!

Watermelon yogurt? Who woulda thunk it?

IMG_3917And you know what? It was surprisingly good!

IMG_3918I also picked up a few more snazzy flavours which will be making some appearances in the near future. And by near future, I mean…right now!

Another flavour I tried was Apple Cinnamon Chobani Oats.

IMG_3920This “Oats” line that Chobani started intrigued me, so I decided to give it a go. It’s normal flavoured Greek yogurt, but has gluten-free steel-cut oats mixed in to give it a little extra texture.

The texture and consistency was great, but I found it a little too sweet, so I decided to modify it a little bit to make the yogurt more substantial and dilute the sweetness.

I combined the cup of Apple Cinnamon Oats with plain 2% Greek yogurt, 1/2 a Pink Lady apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some chia and hemp seeds.

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IMG_3926This post-workout meal was delicious and filling, and I have already started thinking about how I can recreate it from scratch!

(P.S. When I actually end up eating it, it looks like this)

IMG_3928And it tastes d.e.l.icious.

Have a great rest of your Monday!

Questions:

Do you ever “modify” your Greek yogurt? 

Do you like Chobani? Have you tried any of their new flavours?

 

 

 

Chocolate Cheesecake Pudding… for Breakfast?

My obsession with chocolate and peanut butter continued this morning, with one of my favourite warm-weather combinations: Chocolate “Cheesecake Pudding”!

I’m a huge fan of cheesecake. I’ve always preferred it to normal cake, which I find kind of boring and sometimes tasteless. Cheesecake, on the other hand is thick, rich, and creamy, and rarely disappoints.

So, if pancakes can be eaten for breakfast, why not cheesecake too?!

Sadly, there are three problems with having cheesecake for breakfast:

  1. Cheesecake takes over an hour to make and bake, and I’m not very patient when I’m hungry.
  2. I don’t have easy access to a kitchen at college
  3. As much as I love having sweet foods for breakfast, that much sugar first thing in the morning would put me through such a sugar high/low, I’d never be able to make it through one 50-minute lecture, let along a full day of them!

After some experimenting, I discovered an easy and healthy winner, using only 3 ingredients!

Breakfast Chocolate Cheesecake Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (either 0% or 2% works best)
  • 1/2 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I used Vega’s Choc-a-lot Protein Smoothie, the same one I like to use in my Chocolate/PB/Banana Oatmeal!)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk or milk of choice
  • Optional: Peanut Butter (highly recommended), nuts, seeds (chia, flax, hemp hearts), chocolate chips, banana

Directions

  1. Combine greek yogurt and protein powder.
  2. Thin out mixture by gradually adding in milk
  3. Stir until fully mixed
  4. Top with desire add-in’s, and dig in!
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Chocolate Cheesecake Pudding topped with Peanut Butter

I topped my Chocolate Cheesecake pudding this morning with Adam’s peanut butter, and enjoyed it alongside a banana (with more PB of course), and some Almond milk! Adam’s is my favourite Canadian brand, because it is made with just peanuts, and is not too expensive! Win-win! 🙂

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Image 1It was so good, I had to make myself another bowl about 15 minutes after finishing off my first batch! (This happens often in my house 🙂 )

Now I think I’m sufficiently fuelled for my workout. On the agenda for today:

  • Cycle to squash club
  • Train for 1 hour with Brian
  • Run with a friend (distance TBD)
  • Cycle home

Squash Off-season = endurance grind!