We’ve all been there. The fluorescent lights shining overhead, the screeching PA system kindly asking non-students to get out, the vague and unpleasant smell associated with unwashed students and decades-old furniture. Gelman, late at night (or very early in the morning), reminds most of a penitentiary that has fallen into disrepair. You’re probably starving too, and when those 2:00 am munchies hit there are many ways to satisfy your hunger.
The key is planning ahead. Most students that have pushed off their work, including WID-class essays and Econ problem sets, know hours ahead that they’re going to be holed up in Gelman or Eckles. Therefore, your best bet for making it through the mountain load of homework that has piled up, is to bring food with you into Gelman.
The key to study snacks is that they shouldn’t be smelly or loud, should be able to be eaten without heat preparation (bringing a George Foreman grill into the library isn’t a great idea), and should ideally be able to be eaten without much, or any, cutlery. Below is a list I have compiled of foods that you can a) buy from establishments around GWU or b) make yourself ahead of time and pack for your night ahead.
Crispy Curry Carrots
Though more time intensive than grabbing pizza from Whole Foods, these crunchy bites provide a healthy alternative to the pathetic potato chips that can be found in basement-level vending machines. With only four ingredients that you can grab at at Whole Foods, Safeway, or Trader Joe’s, these are quick, healthy ways to satisfy a salt craving. Adapted from The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: About 50 minutes
4 large carrots
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Use a peeler to make ribbons from 4 large carrots, or even a normal bundle you can get in any grocery store.
3. Combine 1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon coarse salt, and ½ tsp curry powder, and then mix with the carrot strips.
4. Bake the carrots strips on a baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes clean up insanely easy) at 325° F for 30 minutes or until the edges are crispy.
5. Pack in a Tupperware container or Ziploc bag lined with paper towels, and enjoy!
These carrots also a make great side to a meat or carb based meal—they can even be chopped fine and tossed with rice to make a more colorful and flavorful base for a curry, or tofu.
Bacon (Yes, really)
Oft proclaimed the “king of foods,” bacon is praised by college students everywhere. Bacon is a good study snack for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is delicious. Portable finger food, bacon is a good source of protein, which gives you a feeling of fullness. It can be made ahead of time in your microwave, wrapped in a paper towel, and carried in either a plastic zip bag or Tupperware. Turkey bacon can provide great flavor while being healthier. Non-meat alternatives can also work. Beware, however—your study buddies will be jealous and will likely demand that you share.
For a different way to prepare your bacon, click here.
These delicious, green little gems are cheap and easy to find, as well as a nutritious option. You can eat edamame with just a sprinkle of salt, or you can get creative and add a multitude of toppings. Whole Foods sells a small bowl for $4.99, but if you go to the freezer section you can get a large bag that you can defrost in your microwave before you head out to study.
Homemade Trail Mix
With all the articles about how prepackaged mixes can contain hundreds, if not thousands of extra calories I believe it’s not only cheaper, but more practical to make your own mixes. You can either buy nuts and other additions in bulk in store, like at Whole Foods or Safeway, or you can you can buy customized mixes from different websites. Graze.com for example, lets you choose from numerous option and ships it straight to your dorm (or rather, Package Services). Below is my favorite mix for studying, which includes anthocyanin from blackberries, which helps fight cancer-creating oxidants, as well as vitamin-K rich pumpkin seeds.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 cup of blackberries, washed and dried
1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup of walnuts (chopped walnuts work as well, and it’s usually cheaper)
1 cup of blueberries, washed and dried
1. Mix ingredients together in large mixing bowl
2. Separate mix into 2-4 plastic baggies, and throw into your backpack in the morning, or when you’re heading to the library
Nut mixes also keep well; you can make a large bag and leave it in your backpack throughout a week to supplement both study hours as well as starvation-inducing class sequences.
(Dark) Chocolate covered Espresso Beans
A personal favorite of mine, and considering that a person’s sweet tooth is most in need during times of hardship, chocolate covered espresso beans can be bought at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. The Trader Joe’s version contains whole roasted Arabica beans, which provides a kick of caffeine without the hundreds of calories that come with a Starbucks Trenti Double-Macchiato-Extra-Syrup-Extra-Whip-Pumpkin-Spice-Monster. The bittersweet chocolate satisfies a craving for sweets without the blandness of the generally accepted milk chocolate, which I believe encourages eating chocolate in quantity.
Also, these guys just taste really, really good. I recommend packing ¼ cup in Ziploc bags and leaving them in a drawer that you can just grab from when you’re on your way to Gelman, a meeting, or even a late night Raas or acapella practice.