Kitchen InFerno: Snack On This, Not That

Healthy eating and college don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but knowing the right tricks can help turn eating right into a daily routine. Let Kiersten Ferno be your guide for navigating the health-food scene without taking a chunk out of your schedule. Welcome to the inFerno.

photo 3Well, finals week has arrived! It’s no secret that under the stress of pulling all-nighters and suffering cabin (read: library) fever across State College, we gorge on way too many greasy delivery orders, whether it’s General Tso’s or Wings Over.

Before you start overwhelming your body with junky snacks like potato chips and candy bars, think twice. Eating unhealthy foods while your body is deprived of sleep and activity slows down your metabolism and packs on the fat. Plus, it makes thinking that much harder! We’ve come up with a couple recipes for delicious, homemade snacks that will help keep you focused and energized throughout the week.

Gourmet Popcorn

What you’ll need:

1 cup Orville Redenbacher popping corn kernels (it pops the best!)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 pinch salt and pepper

What to do:

1. Put oil and popcorn kernels in a medium sized pot and turn stove to low heat– be sure to put a tight lid on it. (You have to cook the kernels low and slow, otherwise they won’t pop fully!)
2. Listen for the popping to slow down, but don’t cook too long otherwise the popcorn will burn. There’s a happy medium here.
3. Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave– it should take around 2 minutes to fully melt.
4. Put popcorn in mixing bowl, drizzle with melted butter, grated cheese, sprinkle on cayenne, salt and pepper. Toss to spread the seasonings.

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Spiced Almonds

What you’ll need:
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon water
1 egg white
1 ½ cups raw whole almonds

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Cover cooking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Mix brown sugar, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
4. Whisk egg and water in separate bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, add almonds to coat them.
5. Mix almonds into spice mixture to cover them completely.
6. Spread almonds on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
7. Use a spatula to stir the almonds. Lower the oven heat to 250 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes.
8. Be sure to give the almonds time to cool before eating them! They’re sticky and soft when they come out of the oven, but they harden and crisp upon cooling.

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Chocolate Covered Bananas

What you’ll need:

2 bananas
¼ cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup raw almonds, minced
½ teaspoon cinnamon

What to do:

1. Cut thick, diagonal slices in the banana. Lay them flat on a plate.
2. Put chocolate chips and peanut butter into bowl to microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another minute then mix thoroughly.
3. Chop up the almonds.
4. Use a spoon to top the banana slices with the chocolate-peanut butter mixture then sprinkle with chopped almonds.
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
6. Freeze for half an hour (or long enough for the chocolate to harden.)

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Tip from inside the InFerno: Whether you are craving something salty or sweet, remember that pairing it with protein like nuts counters the extra sugar, turning a fat-inducing treat into an energizing snack!

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