I have eaten a Clif energy bar every single day of my undergrad. It’s not like I haven’t tried variety: there was the Chocolate Almond Fudge year, the Peanut Butter Crunch days, and the current splendor of the Cool Mint Chocolate era.
Despite my steadfast Clif consumption, I am always game for change. Variety is the spice of life after all. That being said, I’m balancing a jam-packed schedule. Between school, work, exercise, and a semblance of a social life, I don’t have much time to get all Gordon Ramsay.
So, I am ready to embark on my own small-scale Eat, Pray, Love voyage. The rules are quite simple: each day this week, I will make a healthy new snack. Each snack will involve 3 ingredients or less and must satisfy my newly minted snack-ronym: ACE. That is to say, each snack must be Accessible, Cheap, and Enjoyable.
If it helps to know, I’m an awful cook. So if I can do it, you can, too!
Let’s begin on a rainy Monday morning.
Monday: Ants on a Log
I’m going to be honest: I picked this snack entirely based on the name. I mean, Ants On a Log. It’s really cute until you realize you’re eating the ants. But it’s so tasty I’m not going to complain.
Just cut up some celery, slather on some peanut butter and top it off with raisins. It’s as simple as that!
For those amongst us that don’t like raisins, you can always substitute in other dried fruits or nuts as a topping. Ants can come in all shapes and sizes!
Tuesday: Apple Quesadillas
On Tuesday, I was missing a friend who’s living in Mexico, so I decided to go with a Mexican-inspired snack.
Here’s how it works. Grab some tortillas, grate some cheese, and slice up an apple. Put the apples and cheese into the tortilla, and toss it into the oven heated to 350℉ for 5 minutes. It doesn’t seem like it would work, but it works. It really works.
Wrap it in foil to keep warm. It was pouring rain all day, but eating these tasty quesadillas, I could almost picture myself on a pristine beach in Tulum.
Wednesday: Banana Pancakes
On Wednesdays, I have a long stretch of classes and I don’t want to be the guy loudly crunching away in a crammed lecture hall. So this one had to be snacktical (a tactical snack)—equal parts subtle, conspicuous, and tasteful. The pressure was on.
After much deliberation, I settled on chewy banana pancakes. This choice proved very wise and quickly became my favourite snack of the week.
This one is almost too easy. Grab two eggs and a banana. Mash the banana in a bowl, crack the eggs in, and whisk them until they’re consistent. Pour the mixture onto a pan turned to medium-heat and cook until browned. I slathered mine with raspberry jam, but the options are endless!
They were ready before my coffee had steeped and they didn’t distract from a riveting lecture!
And, of course, I sang that Jack Johnson song the whole time.
Thursday: Crunchy Chickpeas
With a marathon of a day ahead of me, I needed lots of protein to stay sharp. This recipe was the perfect fit.
Start by pouring a can of chickpeas onto a pan. Bring to medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. When they’re looking crispy, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and bake them in the oven at 425℉ for 15 minutes.
Presto! A protein-packed snack to handle anything Thursday throws your way!
Friday: Pear Cinnamon Chips with a Side of Disappointment
For the grand finale, I figured I had to go big. I needed to make the best snack yet, but topping Wednesday’s pancakes would be a herculean task. It was like an episode of MasterChef (but I was the only contestant).
I pondered peanut butter cookies before quickly changing my mind. I considered applesauce but decided otherwise. Just when it seemed like the triumphant snack would never be found, I came across a recipe for pear and cinnamon chips—it was love at first sight. I knew I had found the one.
I followed the instructions. I chopped 3 pears into thin slices, sprinkled them with a little sugar and a lot of cinnamon, and fired them at 200℉ for 15 minutes.
As quickly as I found love, I discovered heartbreak. My pear and cinnamon chips somehow managed to be rubbery and soggy at the same time. It was a bit like eating burnt cinnamon off wet cardboard. It did not top the banana pancakes. It was not even enjoyable. I ate them through gritted teeth.
Like T.S. Eliot once wrote, “this is how the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” Well okay, that’s probably a little bit too dramatic…
While my Friday snack proved to be a bust, I learned to find value in the adage “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Throughout the week, I made some great snacks, and in doing so, expanded my culinary limits. Yes, it’s true: variety is the spice of life (unless that spice is cinnamon and it’s on baked pears).
Now it’s time for you to take snacktion (snack action). All it takes is 3 ingredients and a willingness to try new things.
Hungry for more inspiration? Check out these hacks for healthifying your meals.