The 5 Best Foods to Take to Class

In the classroom, not all food is created equal. We’ve all seen that person whose bag of chips makes so much noise, from the packaging to the chomping, that it’s impossible to concentrate on the professor’s hopefully fascinating lecture. Then there are those who attempt to juggle their yogurt, spoon, pen, and notebook (and let’s be honest…cell phone) on that tiny desk. Both are easy ways to get distracted and end up with food-stained notes. Been there and I’d prefer not to go back.

But class is no time to go hungry…

Classroom cuisine requires some thought and a little planning. The kind of thought and planning your parents mastered in your elementary school days. Think about it: your parents didn’t have oodles of time to prepare your lunches and snacks and often opted for simple foods that gave you energy for the noggin and kept your clothes clean! For the best foods to bring into the classroom, just take a nostalgic look into your childhood lunchbox for some inspiration. The results are delicious, scholastic and timeless.

**The 5 Best Foods to Take to Class**

1. Sandwiches. This may seem like a no-brainer, seeing as sandwiches are the quintessential school lunch food. The classics like PB&J are still welcome in college, but more sophisticated and nutritious wraps are also a good option for an on-the-go meal. As always, adapt recipes with what you have on hand (or what you love to eat): add eggs and beans for breakfast, sliced turkey and fixin’s for lunch. Think carefully about the wrapping, so you can maneuver the sandwich with one hand while the other hand writes vigorously. For a real nostalgic snack, make your own cracker sandwiches à la Ritz with any kind of nut butter, cheese, or your favorite spread.

2. Granola Bars. While ordinary granola bars may not be the most nutritious option, it’s hard to deny their comforting taste and portability as a no-fuss meal. Personally, Quaker Oats Chewy bars were a snacktime necessity in my family (I think I’ve tried every flavor out there), but after taking a look at the label they don’t look as good anymore. Instead, try making them from scratch! Both bake and non-bake recipes are straightforward and allow you to adjust the oil, sugar, etc to your preference. Make these ahead of time and wrap individually for a super easy on the go breakfast for class all week.

3. Fruit. It’s pretty hard to dispute the appeal of a ripe piece of fruit. Fruit often requires little to no prep, and you’re meant to eat it with your hands! But not all fruits are fit for the classroom. Some fruits are just messier, juicier and noisier than others. And in class those will not fly. Rather than reaching for that orange that requires both hands to peel, grab a bunch of seedless grapes instead. Apples may be a fairly loud and juicy fruit, but when cut into pieces (just like your mom used to do!) there is less mess and crunch (still tasty I promise). Dried fruits, like the grape’s old-ass cousin the raisin, also make a sweet grab and go snack to perk you up in that 4pm class.

4. Muffins. Similar to granola bars, muffins are not high on the healthy foods list. But just like granola bars, they are a super convenient breakfast and the homemade version scores way above the store bought in both taste and nutrition. Those awful 90s Hostess mini muffins just don’t compare. While quickbreads are equally as versatile, there’s something perfect and effortless about the muffin pan’s pre-determined portions and fast baking time. Use whatever produce is in season to guide the flavors. Right now I’m craving pumpkin, apple, and carrot muffins made hearty and filling with whole grain flour, bran and oats. For those looking to cut down on the sweets, try swapping in savory ingredients like curry with squash for a change.

5. Smoothies. Put the margarita blender to good use and whip up some smoothies, the perfect replacement for those drinkable yogurts (or gogurt!) of our childhood lunchboxes. Fresh or frozen fruit blends nicely with yogurt or nut butter for a sweet but balanced meal. But smoothies can also be a vehicle for your vegetables! With smoothies, the possibilities are endless. Invest in a plastic cup with a lip and straw and these creamy creations will make it into your regular meal rotation. The best part—the straw means they’re a no-hand meal, leaving your digits free to type out those instant messages…er, I mean notes. If you like to slurp your calories, don’t forget about an individually sized Ronnybrook 2% milk or chocolate milk.

Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, who avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen, complete with fajita night and the occasional Sunday sundae. Read more…

Originally posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

8 Responses to “The 5 Best Foods to Take to Class”

  1. 8 Life Tips and Tricks Any Girl Should Master …

    November 9th, 2011

    [...] Classroom Tricks: What Snacks to Bring to Stay Focused in Class — Small College Kitchen [...]

  2. mw

    November 13th, 2011

    Sorry, but I don’t think it’s ever really acceptable to eat in the classroom while class is taking place. While some schedules are very busy, a young adult is perfectly capable of planning meals and snacks in appropriate environments (barring some kind of medical condition that requires eating at certain times). Even a discreet snack is incredibly disrespectful to the lecturer/professor — their words aren’t important enough for you to even feign paying full attention? — and to other students as well, who might be distracted by your food or even allergic to the ingredients. These recipes look great, but should be reserved for OUTSIDE of the classroom.

  3. Laura

    January 8th, 2012

    I’ve never actually had a professor tell me NOT to eat in class. No eating messy/disruptive food, obviously, but when you’re in a four hour class or seminar it’s not really an option to duck outside for ten minutes to sit on the floor outside the door and eat.

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    April 16th, 2013

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  5. Sara

    June 18th, 2013

    I cannot believe that someone commented and said that it’s never acceptable to eat in the classroom. I am a diabetic, and I have to eat to keep my blood sugar up. People don’t think about things like that. I have a class from 4-7 and 7-10 in the same classroom that starts right after the other. If I didn’t eat during that time period, I would pass out. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s wrong for others to eat during class either. If anything, food call help you PAY more attention. Being hungry will not.

  6. Candy Dish: Campus Scoop November 13, 2011

    October 17th, 2013

    [...] Five best foods to take to class [...]

  7. Brynn

    January 16th, 2014

    It’s hilarious someone said it isn’t acceptable to eat in class! Seriously I go to a high end engineering school and if I didn’t eat in class I’d be starving myself for 8 hours. That kind of diet would then lead to me not being able to complete my homework, sleep well, and ultimately fail my exams which are from 8:30pm-10:30pm. Seriously?! I suppose eating outside the classroom works well for someone who only goes to class half a day. My school encourages you to eat even in the syllabus….just not “noisy” foods. MW save your judgement for your own situation.

  8. Healthy Food To Bring To School | kscfood

    October 24th, 2014

    [...] Small Kitchen College » The 5 Best Foods to Take to Class – For the best foods to bring into the classroom, … This may seem like a no-brainer, seeing as sandwiches are the quintessential school lunch food. The classics like PB&J are still welcome in college, … muffins are not high on the healthy foods list. [...]

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