Packed snacks curb impulsive eating

Granola Snacks

Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult for students on the go, but to fight off the infamous “freshman 15,” preparing and packaging snacks like this Coog Energy Bar could prevent unhealthy impulse habits. | Jasmine Tamez/The Daily Cougar

For on-the-go students, the busy schedule of a new school year could result in stress and weight gain.

A recent Auburn University study tracked weight gain from freshman to senior year and found that 70 percent of participants saw a difference on the scale. Over the course of four years, males packed on an average of 15 pounds, and females gained an average of 9.3 pounds.

Gail Gillan, the director of UH Wellness, shared advice on maintaining a healthy diet while managing day-to-day responsibilities.

“If you have prepared ahead of time, there is no impulse to eat unhealthy, based on what is available to you,” Gillan said. “One of the most important things about maintaining a healthy diet is taking the time to prepare.”

Preparing and packaging food is not a daunting task, as many students might think. It can actually take as little as a few hours per week.

“Packing my food before heading to class and cheer practices helps me save more money and gives me more time to study and get my work done,” said education sophomore Jessica Garcia. “It also keeps me away from fatty foods, which helps me stay eating healthy.”

Liberal studies junior Eddie Shaw packs his own meals to monitor food portions and target the types of foods that control his appetite.

“A good way to stay healthy on campus is to eat small portions and always include lean meat like chicken or seafood in your meals,” Shaw said. “Muscle is built from protein, so having less carbs and more protein will help keep you lean and keep your appetite controlled.”

These healthy energy bars have wholesome ingredients and baking is not required. You can modify the recipe by adding dried fruits of your choice. Enjoy.

Coog Energy Bars

Makes 12 servings
Serving size: 1 bar, 1.5 x 4.5 inches

You will need:

  • 9 x 9 inch pan
  • Wax paper


  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 ½ cups dry old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 ½ cups blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1 ½ cups walnut halves & pieces
  • ½ cup granola
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract


Place oats, coconut flakes, almonds, walnuts and granola in a blender or food processor. Pulse until a dusty texture is achieved. You should still see small chunks of oats and nuts.

Add peanut butter, coconut oil and honey to a medium-sized bowl. Place in microwave for 90 seconds or until contents are completely melted.

Add melted peanut butter, coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract to a food processor. Your mixture should be difficult to stir and a bit crumbly.

Line pan with wax paper. Spoon out the oat, nut, coconut oil and peanut butter mixture into pan.

Press the mixture with the palm of your hand until it feels stiff and will not press anymore.

Pull wax paper out of pan. It should pull out easily without breaking. Should it begin breaking, put back in pan and press with more force.

Cut across the middle. On each half, cut six equal parts.

You should have 12 granola bars to grab and snack on as you please.

To store, simply wrap each bar in wax paper or plastic wrap and store in your pantry or fridge.

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