This semester my classes are pretty scattered and I have enough time usually to eat at the dining hall (thank god). I can grab food and bring it with me to my downtown classes which is super convenient. However, I am a huge snacker so I love finding new snacks at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s that are easy to bring with me in my backpack or even my purse. For example, yesterday I spent the whole afternoon and early evening with one of my best friends traveling from Lincoln Park to the Art Institute of Chicago and could not afford eating lunch AND dinner downtown. This is where packing snacks came in handy. I packed a bag of Mary’s Gone Crackers with a small container of spinach hummus from Whole Foods (that I was almost finished with) in my purse plus an apple from my dining hall. Perfect snack right before I took the train home and it helped my cravings without forcing me into another $10-15 meal.
Among my fix of crackers and hummus, I’ve been drinking and snacking on an array of different and new things this past week. First things first, I’m back on the almond milk and coffee train. After getting what felt like thousands of almond milk lattes in California, I’m on the quest to find any coffee shop in Chicago that sells it as a dairy alternative and trying it out. When I was exploring off of the brown line’s Armitage stop this past Friday, I found one of my top 5 favorite restaurants ever: Le Pain Quotidien (located at 1000 West Armitage Ave).
The best part of Le Pain Quotidien is that they have organic coffee beverages with soy and almond milk at no extra charge. Consider me excited. Some coffee stands in California charged up to $1 for it! How ridiculous. I had a café au lait Saturday afternoon and it was blissful. So good I chugged it too fast… resulting in some serious jitters. Oops.
I try not to indulge in coffee drinks too much because they get me extremely buzzed and I hate that feeling but I am one of the few people who enjoys the taste of dark and rich coffee and the addiction is real folks.
Next up on my snack radar are these cute Veggie Go’s fruit leather strips. I had the urge to buy 2 and they were around $1.50 for one so I figured why not. The beets apples and sweet potatoes one was my favorite. If they were cheaper I probably would have bought a box and devoured the whole thing in one sitting. You can eat one strip in 2-3 bites so having a lot is the way to do it. Veggie Go’s are created by Naked Edge Snacks and come in five different flavors including a TropiKale that is packed with organic apples, pumpkin and kiwi blended into a leather strip.
When I was younger like most kids at lunch my mom often packed my lunch with “fruit by the foot” fruit roll-ups and little did I know at the time, I was consuming harmful artificial and processed ingredients including artificial food dyes like red 40, yellows 5 & 6 and blue 1. Or corn syrup. Mmm no thanks, I’d rather have the real thing. Veggie-go’s are the first fruit strips I’ve seen (and tasted) that have a great texture similar to the beloved kid treat but are created with vegetable and fruit purees rather than concentrates. Often fruit concentrates are just pure sugar in the end so these are a better option! Super yummy.
Another one of my latest obsessions: Mediterranean Snacks’ Baked Lentil Chips. These suckers come in seven different flavors but for my first time I wanted to go simple and stick with the Sea Salt. Great choice on my behalf. They kind of remind me of PopChips and more on the potato chip side rather than a bean or lentil but I am not complaining. I am in love with them. Lightly salted they are a great dunker into any type of dip, especially in my case – Engine 2 Diet’s Falafel Hummus. I brought this hummus from Cleveland on my bus ride home and tried it out for the first time then. Not my favorite hummus I will admit and I’d much rather stick to homemade or the 365 brand from Whole Foods.
Mediterranean Snacks also creates “hummuz” crackers, lentil crackers, popcorn, veggie chips and fun little “tapaz2go” which are grab and go snack packs that contain hummus with lentil chips. Great for packing lunches or even to throw in your bag!
For the end of this week, I’m ending it off on a high note with my favorite goodie… GRANOLA! As anyone I know can tell you, I’m obsessed with my Purely Elizabeth granola because it is the only one I’ve come across that has a low-glycemic sugar (coconut sugar) and has minimal ingredients. While I was scanning Whole Foods last Thursday for dinner before my night class downtown, I found this box of granola bites begging to be picked up. When I found out it was only $3.50 I had to buy it. I have severe shopping problems when it comes to goods like this.
Anyways, it contains almond butter, rolled oats, flax seed, cinnamon, apples, dried apricots and for a sweetener? Date sugar! It comes in bulky chunks that are good for a quick bite of something if you’re hungry and need a little pick-me-up. They’re pretty chewy and only a bit towards the bottom was crumbly.
I haven’t tried much from the Health Starts Here line from Whole Foods but this was a winner for sure.
I highly recommend you try the options I’ve been snacking on lately and comment below if you’ve tried any/they look super tasty to ya!
Happy snacking 🙂