October 18, 2023

Foodie Fuel: Nutritious Foods that Also Satisfy the Sweet Spot

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As a First-Year student at Cornell, the dining halls have totally won me over. From french fries at North Star to warm cookies at Morrison, it seems as though everywhere I turn there is something delicious to eat. However, ever since I’ve gotten here, I’ve fallen victim to “college air.” What is “college air,” you ask? It is very similar to the phenomenon “school air” that you may have heard about back in high school. Basically, “school air” is the mysterious composition of the atmosphere in a high school that causes one’s appearance to go from perfectly put together in the morning to messy and grimey by the end of the school day. I’m finding evidence of this same sensation here; I’m always breaking out and bloating for some reason. And it’s not just over the course of a school day– it’s a perpetual event.

As much as I like to believe that my issues are a result of “college air,” I can’t help but feel as if my meal decisions are playing a role, as well. After all, how can I resist the Dairy Bar ice cream and diverse pizza stations? So, I’ve decided to devise a list of foods and food combinations that may help me and my fellow foodies incorporate some nutrition into our diets while also satisfying our  cravings. Just a disclaimer: if you still want that cookie, by all means eat it! These are just some potential additions to your diet that happen to be healthy and yummy.

To start us off, I thought I would suggest a combination that would make my Jewish family members proud – apples and honey! On the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, us Jews welcome in the new year with the sweetness of this killer combo. And trust me, it is gooood. So good, that I’ve even incorporated apples and honey into my day-to-day life. You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Though this popular saying is a little silly, there are some serious health benefits to apples. For one, they are loaded with fiber and antioxidants, which aid digestion, stabilize glucose levels, and ease inflammation. Honey, while composed of sugar, also has some of those coveted antioxidants too, making its fusion with apples a great snack to not only enjoy for dessert, but also enhance your health with!

On the note of honey and fruit, another sweet pick of mine is chia seed pudding with granola and/or bananas and honey on top. This combination is just as easy, accessible, and delicious as the first, and it’s a particularly great supplement to your breakfast! Like apples, chia seeds are high in fiber, which fills you up for longer and gives you the power to finish writing that essay *wink wink*. If you’re a fruit lover like I am, you’ll eat up the addition of bananas to your chia seed pudding. Bananas contain a slew of nutritional elements including high amounts of potassium. Potassium has been found to help get rid of sodium in the body, lower blood pressure, and aid muscle contraction. If you’re looking for some extra crunch, add a little bit of granola to the mix. I promise, this snack will leave you feeling satisfied when you walk out of the dining hall!

My last recommendation is one that requires a little extra work, but I think you’ll find it’s worth it when you try it out. It’s…drum roll please…frozen greek yogurt bark! I love this recipe because it gives you the freedom to customize it however you want. Technically, the only thing you’ll truly need is greek yogurt, but it’s not as much fun eating the bark plain. Some toppings I like to include in my bark are peanut butter (or a substitute like sunflower butter if you have a peanut allergy), semi-sweet chocolate chips, honey, and fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, or blueberries). You’ll want to mix the honey and peanut butter in with the greek yogurt and spread melted chocolate over it with a toothpick or fork (all on a tray or plate) before freezing your mixture; that way, you can work the sweetness into the bark. Right before entering the freezer, add your fruit right on top! Let your bark freeze for four hours, and then enjoy! Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, provides health benefits such as boosting your metabolism, building muscle, and encouraging better bone health. Making greek yogurt bark is a great dorm room activity to do with your friends, and you’ll even get a great sweet treat out of it.

Well, that’s my little spiel on my sweet snack secrets. I personally enjoy all of these, and when I make the effort to switch up my dining choices, I always notice a difference in how these foods make me feel. It’s so much fun to experiment, and there are an endless amount of combinations to try. If you’re also struggling with incorporating healthy options into your diet, maybe consider giving some of these snacks a try. We can combat “college air” one cool food combo at a time!

 Maia Mehring, dining contributor, is a first year student in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected].