Food Sense

How to Cook Healthy During Finals

imagePhoto: flickr member, norwichnuts

As I’m gearing up for my first set of grad school finals, I have one major goal. And, it’s not to get all As. This week, my goal is to avoid frozen foods and take-out - to keep cooking fresh, even though it’s an intense time. This is a much easier proposition now, than it was when I was an undergraduate living in a dorm room. I’ve got my stocked, full-size fridge, and a real kitchen, all to myself in my apartment. Prepared with a plan for the week, I should be able to stay on track. Rachel, however, is still living in a dorm room, and continues to impress with her ideas for healthy dorm room eating. Keep reading for her take on staying healthy during finals.

Staying vegan during finals is not always an easy thing. When you’re low on time, and there are sugar and dairy-laden lattes at the coffee shop, gelatin-filled fruit snacks in the pantry, and your roommate is eating freshly-baked cookies, eating healthfully can be a major struggle. But you know what? You’ll be thankful you declined that slice of cheese pizza.

Especially during exams, a plant based diet is important because it will keep you happy, nourished, and focused. Without all the dairy-laden foods to make you feel heavy and weighed down, you’ll feel lighter and happier throughout those stressful days. All the nutrients you’ll get from eating more fruits and vegetables will keep you alert and focused longer than your omnivorous roommate. Plus, the vegan diet can actually improve your memory skills and decrease your stress!

So, instead of munching on deep fried chips, eat a handful of blueberries, a bowl of red beans, or a baked potato, all of which are high in antioxidants. Cinnamon is also rich in antioxidants and can easily be worked into a snack.

Speaking of snacks, here are some quick and easy munchies for your study breaks:

    a banana with peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon,
    plain popcorn with a pinch of salt, or
    hummus and pita bread.

If you need something sweet, munch on a handful of dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, or homemade trail mix.

If you need a take out that’s quick and healthy, try Chipotle or Currito. Both of these burrito chain restaurants offer a large variety of vegan-friendly options that are also easy on the wallet. Subway’s Veggie Delight on whole wheat bread is another good choice for a somewhat nutritious fast food dinner. If you are really craving pizza, Papa John’s veggie pizza with no cheese is vegan and delicious.

This week, I’m leaving you with my recipe for Lazy Bars. These are a quick and easy sweet treat that take only 10 minutes to make in the microwave. They are perfect for a late night snack during finals!

Lazy Bars

by Rachael


  • 1 cup, flour (Use brown rice flour if GF)
  • 1/2 cup, brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons, almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon, cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons, Earth Balance butter
  • 6 tablespoons, chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons, crushed raw pecans
  • 4 tablespoons, pumpkin butter
  • 2 tablespoons, unsweetened shredded coconut


  1. In a large glass bowl, combine all of the base ingredients. Mix well. Using a spoon, spread the dough all around the edges of the bowl to form the cookie bottom. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from microwave and sprinkle with chocolate chips while still warm. Add pumpkin butter, crushed pecans, and coconut. Microwave for another six minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Eat with a spoon right from the bowl!

Be sure to visit Rachael’s blog, Passing Daisies!

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