In addition to the normal drove of city dwellers on-the-go to work or to-and-fro, some approximated 110,000 college students started scurrying about central Sacramento last week. All that movement about town means munchies will be required as part of curriculum to maintain attendance, awake-ness and energy.

We’ve all got to eat, but studying and snacking are practically symbiotic. You’ve got to be at school by 7 a.m., have four classes back-to-back, then a lab before going to work? Well then chomping away on cheesy Doritos in class almost seems acceptable.

Snacks, quick bites, nibbles or treats aren’t new concepts, but consider this a refresher, like food to our bodies, for our mange-ing manners. That goes for any a busy Sacramentan body, but students are some of the worst offenders, perhaps because they don’t feel an obligation to be considerate, either out of fatigue, or just because they don’t care.

For this, I’ve thought about a solution: make the offending party aware of their socially insulting snacking by embarrassing them in a group setting. Good luck if that works. But it probably won’t.

Purchased food, prepared food and produce are all commonly consumed popular snacks. Fair enough. They are generally conveniently located and taste-friendly snack choices, but for the sake of health, convenience, consideration and conserving scrilla spent on snacking, some planning is necessary.

When packin’ for a snackin’, variables like portability, odor, cleanup and long-term effects are important. Stinky, crunchy, crumply, mushy snacks and ones that make you gassy (eeeeww) are annoying and embarrassing.

You may fall victim to vending machine buys and purchases at nearby cafes and fast food joints. You can buy it on the spot, it’s ready, it’s prepared and the garbage is easily tossed when you’re done. But that could be costly for your pocket, health and breath.

Some go-to snacks that come to mind straight away are treats like whole grain Lean Pockets, yogurt, crackers and bananas. But these items, although tasty, don’t provide seamless snackery. Unless you have a refrigeration unit in your bag, perishables like dairy products and frozen foods just aren’t convenient and could spoil. Bananas, like hard-boiled eggs, carry an odor and appearance that can be appalling to others. Plus, smoosh-ability is a factor. Making noise, or trying not to, is distracting and one can’t enjoy crackers as one should.

After careful scrutinizing of the best foods for strategic snacking, I’ve found some great snacks for grazing on-the-go. Most of which can be found locally, and many of which are USDA certified organic and ethically sourced ingredients.

Acai berry beverages.
The acai berry has decent recognition. The dark purple, chalky blueberry-tasting fruit makes delicious juice and has great health benefits. With 10 times the antioxidants of red grapes, acai berry also decreases sluggishness, suppresses appetite and helps with hangovers. And what’s more, juice blends like Acai Machine by Naked Juice and Rio Energy acai blends from Sambazon are thick and filling and only about $3 each at area grocery stores. Bottles of juice are self-contained, easily stored, compact in size, light in odor and can survive in a bag all day—if they last that long.

Gummy fruit snacks. Sure, there’s sugar, but we are speaking of snacking for speed here. Sugar gives that burst of energy needed for speed. Aside from all fruit gummies tasting yummy, the little portioned packets are perfect for a mid-class snack when you want spur-of-the-moment sweets. Easy to pack, consume and dispose of, fruit snacks are pocketbook friendly (six packs for $1.50 to $3.50, depending), not messy, not noisy to nosh and easy to offer a to a friend. Fruit Jammers and Gushers are popular choices, but more nutritious gummies are available for snacking. Some have higher levels of vitamins A, B and C, and some pack super sweet power. PowerBar Gel Blasts Energy Chews are super-sized gummies that come in berry sweet flavors like raspberry and strawberry-banana and pack a sugar punch with energy and edibility.

Small, self-contained fruits. Mandarin oranges, tangelos, small apples (Fuji, Golden Delicious and Sonyo are my faves) are in-season and tasty. Such self-portioned, light and healthy snacks require no prep or peeling, don’t bruise very easily and smell nice. Being sure to purchase produce that is ripe, but not overly so, will minimize smooshing, juicy eating and cleanup on desk aisle two, seat five.

Sliced bread, rolls, bagels, buns, and biscuits. Any type of bread can be packed easily, eaten easily, stored easily and be a rather filling snack. Pick up a roll on the go or just plastic bag a slice from home. A slice of whole wheat bread can serve as a light snack and cost about 10 cents, while a cheesy jalapeño foccacia roll will run you about 70 cents but will almost pass itself off for a meal. Bagels are bombastic and don’t need to be sliced, toasted and cream cheesed to be enjoyed.

String Cheese. These little mozzarella munchers are cheap, tasty and nutritious. A single string cheese, light or regular will only cost a quarter to 55 cents and stays cool inside its wrapper for a while. What if you forget it in your bag or the classroom is warm? What will happen to your coveted string cheese snack? Let’s be honest, class, nearly no one will turn down a stick of string cheese, lukewarm or even room temperature. You can use the wrapper to hold the fromage so your pencil-tainted phalanges don’t contaminate the goods. I mean, string cheese!

Keeping these snacking principles in mind, you’ll be sure to snack with the best of ’em, sans snacking faux-pas incidents.

This week’s lesson:
Considerate Consumption = Check+
Socially Responsible Snacking = Check+

Hollar at a snacking scholar.