Quick, easy snacks


Photo: Stephen Koenigsfeld/Iowa State Daily

Trail mix can be an easy snack to make if you’re looking for something while you’re on the go. 

Melissa Richards

College students do not always have an abundance of time and money.

So here are three recipes that make eating easier and cheaper. Free of the additives and preservatives found in most packaged snacks, these quick and easy recipes will keep you on track with your budget and your waistline.

Not Your Grandma’s Cookie Dough Balls

The dates in this recipe provide much-needed fiber while the almonds provide your body with necessary fats to improve concentration and sustain an increased energy level. Add dark chocolate for antioxidants and fat-burning benefits, and you are ready to tackle that looming study session. Note: This recipe is easily customized. Add dried cranberries, mixed nuts, rolled oats or any of your favorite snack bar ingredients.


  • 2 cups almonds
  • 10 pitted medjool dates
  • ⅔ tbsp water
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


1. Grind almonds and salt in food processor or blender until it reaches a near-flour texture.

2. Add the dates to mixture and grind until incorporated.

3. Add the water, one drop at a time, until the mixture forms a doughy consistency.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips and other remaining ingredients.

5. Roll into balls and stick them in your mini-fridge for a couple of hours until set.

Caveman trail mix

Trail mix is the ideal college food. This snack can be eaten with your hands, made in bulk and has unlimited possibilities for personalization.

Unfortunately, it is done wrong all too often. Besides being as expensive per-ounce as some steaks, vending machine trail mixes are sugary and artificial, leading to a sugar rush and the inevitable crash.

Avoid the assault on your wallet and energy supply by fueling your body and mind with this savory trail mix recipe. Note: No portion sizes are given, adjust based on your preference. Add spices to your tastes.


  • Beef or turkey jerky (shredded)
  • Dried cherries
  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Banana Nut Mug Cake

Ready in less than two minutes, the banana nut mug cake is the perfect individual-serving pastry. With an entire banana packing powerful nutrient punches and peanut butter providing important fats, this snack is as mighty as it is delicious.


  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • Dash of cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients into a coffee mug and mix until smooth.

2. Microwave the mixture for one minute and check to see if it is firm.

3. Microwave in increments of 15 seconds until the mixture is no longer runny.