Life @ U of T

Introduction

Commuter Hacks: The Ultimate Guide to Snacking Right

The downside of staying longer on campus is hunger, and ill-advised fast food purchases.

Commuter Hacks: The Ultimate Guide to Snacking Right

Every commuter knows that to make the most of their University Experience™, they need to spend long hours on campus. My first few days at U of T were pretty jarring- it felt weird to be floating from class to class, untethered. I realized I had to make a conscious effort to structure my time on campus, or I’d never really get to know anyone or have any (non-academic) fun.

The downside of staying longer is hunger, and what it inevitably leads to- ill-advised fast food purchases that are bad for you and your wallet. I know everybody worships the Brown Food Truck, and this is a heretic statement to make, but one time I bought their poutine, and the fries were woefully under-cooked. (Please don’t come at me with pitchforks. I have my journalistic integrity to uphold.)

Given that my commute is an epic journey across mountains and oceans, I keep both an emergency reserve of food (in case there’s a giant delay, some other transit-related mishap, or in the event that the campus is under attack from flying monkeys- let it never be said that I’m under prepared for an emergency) and a daily supply that I replenish. Here’s what I carry:

Light pink apples stacked on top of each other.
Fuji apples.
  1. Low-Effort Trail Mix: All it takes is mixing a type of nut with a type of dried fruit. The key principle is, the sweeter the dried fruit, the more bitter the nut:

-Raisins with cashews.

-Diced apricots with pecans.

-Chopped dates and peanuts.

-Cranberries with walnuts, or almonds, or both. (I like it with both.)

More than one type of nut or fruit is usually a good idea. In general, the greater the variety of ingredients, the better the trail mix, although I haven’t spent enough time in Bulk Barn testing the limits of this theory.

A trough full of green pears with price stickers on them.
Mushy pears. Avoid at all costs.
  1. Fruit: It’s important that the fruit in question doesn’t deteriorate after being savagely hacked to fit the box I’m carrying it in, so I only take the crispy apples. (Unless you squeeze a little lemon juice on the mushy ones; then they’re pretty good.) Grapes and any of the various berries (straw, rasp or blue) are a good choice. So are pears- the crisp brown ones, not the soft, green ones.

I also pack a small fork (or spork) for juicier fruits.

A trough full of brown pears.
Crisp pears. Commuter approved.
  1. Bulk Food is My Best Friend: What makes Canada magical, you ask? This I can tell you: it’s the bulk food in its stores. They have large containers filled with nice things, and a little shovel to scoop as much as you want into a little bag. WHAT A CONCEPT, ladies and gentlefolk! What. A. Concept. What enchantment. What unceasing delight. Walmart possesses this feature, but the real variety is in Bulk Barn. They have different varieties of nuts and dried fruits and sunflower seeds and other nice things to put in trail mixes. They also have their own trail mixes, and they’re pretty good about listing what goes in it, so you can avoid any unnecessary, sugary additives.

Happy snacking!

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