Best college care package recipes

Make healthy, easy-to-mail snacks that will keep your college kid alert and energized for classes and late-night studying. By: Amy Ahlberg

When teens head off to college, they're faced with some healthy-eating hurdles, like fueling all-nighters spent studying for exams, making up for meals missed due to paper deadlines, and offsetting the less-than-healthy grub they're gobbling while socializing with their campus pals. But you can help your child fill those nutritional gaps with a care package crammed with homemade, healthy treats. Send some TLC with these energizing, easy-to-ship snack recipes.

See More: 12 Healthy Snacks

Molasses-Almond Granola

Your child probably has a mini-fridge in his or her dorm room that can house milk or yogurt to top this healthy breakfast (or snack). The oats in this filling granola recipe provide slowly-digested complex carbohydrates, which will provide lasting energy and will keep blood sugar levels steady. Pack it up in an airtight tin for lasting freshness.

2 cups regular oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dried currants
Cooking spray
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarsely chopped. Combine oat mixture, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; toss well. Spread oat mixture on a baking sheet; bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from baking sheet; stir in currants.
3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Combine cranberries, sugar, molasses, canola oil, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Pour the cranberry mixture over the oat mixture, tossing to coat. Spread the granola evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes or until the mixture is lightly browned. Remove granola from oven, and cool completely. Break into small pieces. Store granola in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

View Recipe: Molasses-Almond Granola

See More: Fitness-Friendly Snacks

Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix

Ground chiles, cumin, and oregano spice up this sweet and hot nut mixture. Nuts are a protein-dense snack, and they also provide heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.

A glass storage jar with a locking lid is the perfect vessel to keep this homemade treat fresh or store individual servings in zip-top bags for quick backpack-friendly snacks.

View Recipe: Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix

See More: Hot Trend: Restaurant Snack Menus

Vanilla-Spice Nuts

For another nutty nibble, skip the chiles and use comforting spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom. The aromatic addition of cinnamon is a stealth source of health benefits, as well: A mere teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains roughly as many antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries to help ward off any colds.

Shipping tip: Mail college care packages early in the week to avoid having them languish in the campus mailroom over a weekend.

View Recipe: Vanilla-Spice Nuts

See More: Top Ten Healthy Chips

Spicy Maple-Cashew Popcorn

This glazed popcorn mixture is sure to be devoured during movie night at the dorm. Popcorn is a filling snack that's also a good source of whole grains, and mild, sweet cashews provide immunity-boosting zinc.

Mailing advice: Call or e-mail your child to let them know the package's estimated arrival date.

View Recipe: Spicy Maple-Cashew Popcorn

See More: Road Trip: Healthy Convenience Store Foods

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

This quick bread is loaded with two cups of grated zucchini, a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C (6). Bake quick breads like this one in a disposable foil pan or lightweight aluminum pan that can also protect it during shipping; simply follow the directions in the recipe for cooling and removing the food from the pan. When cool, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and return to the cleaned container.

View Recipe: Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

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