Welcome to Notes from a Far-Flung Correspondent, which features the weekly interests and musings of Bossy’s Son, who is currently enjoying his sophomore year at Columbia University in the City of New York.
This week: Seltzer Water
So let me explain. I am not one of those people (cough, cough, my friends from LA, cough) who think NYC tap water isn’t great to drink. Nor am I the San Pellegrino socializer, the restaurant patron for whom sparkling water is the way to go.
But to members of Bossy’s Esteemed Council, I say that I am one of those people — the unfortunate, battered souls — who are often awake past 2 a.m., reading Kant & Confucius & Chomsky & Snyder & Dostoevsky & so on & so forth and zzzzzzzzzzz. And since I try although barely succeed to avoid a caffeine addiction, one of the things I resort to in order to stay awake is snacking.
Snacking wasn’t a big deal in high school — my metabolism was kickin’, my nights ended earlier, my workload was easier, and I lived in a house with a kitchen. But then this happened:
I graduated, and that means going to college, staying up later, paying for my own food, blah blah blah this is how the freshman 15 and the sophomore slump happens. I’ve tried a cornucopia of slightly-healthier alternatives — celery, decaf tea, sunflower seeds -– but nothing proved a good way to munch late at night without sacrificing health.
Enter a local grocery’s 5-for-$2 special on Vintage Seltzer water. It’s fizzy, it’s fresh, it comes in a variety of flavors, and hell yes there are no calories, sodium, dyes, or whatever other impish substances sneak into most beverages. And it keeps me awake, even through the most perilous Tao Te Ching or Ecce Homo.
Any other suggestions for cool late-night snacky substances?
dgm saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:21 am
Well, we used to make late-night runs to Alberto’s or Roberto’s taco shops, but I guess that’s not what you’re lookin’ for. My only other suggestion is air-popped popcorn. Or: just don’t.
BOSSY saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:26 am
Bossy can relate, the only way she can stay awake is snacking too. She snacked her way across the country on her Excellent Road Trip and then she snacked her way all the way home. They should really make Air Chips.
BOSSY saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:27 am
But how can Seltzer not have added sodium????????!!!!!!! Sure tastes like it.
That moment brought to you by Jewish mom Bossy.
km saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:37 am
crunchy baby carrots??? I love peppermint tea at night.
I’m not the best member of council for this, as this morning I am embarking on a very low cal diet as somehow Octomom gave me her preplastic surgery belly. How did that happen, Bossy’s son???
Also Bossy’s mom is right about the sodium. Up your water content through the day. Some of those seltzers are full of sodium. (heart mom here).XXXX
That moment bought to you by a very lapsed Catholic mom
BOSSY saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:49 am
Bossy hears crack cocaine works wonders. KIDDING!! Kidding Bossy’s Council! How about oxygen fries?
The Domestic Goddess saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:01 am
Seltzer is soooo gross…
But seriously? Protein. Veggies and fruit. Apples and peanut butter, cheese and crackers, yogurt or how about my college constant meal, the bowl of cereal with fruit cut up upon it? It is healthier than a bowl of ice cream. Though ice cream…mmm…
Becca saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:02 am
Provided you have access to a freezer, frozen berries can be good snacking. A proper serving (measured out in its own little container) of your preferred (healthy) dry cereal? The crunch and piece by piece eating can keep you busy while still keeping the portion reasonable. Frozen yogurt? Freeze some Kefir into paper cups with sticks. You can water down juice to make yummy popsicles too. Chew sugarless gum or a lollipop?
As for the beverage, the only calorie free thing can think of enjoying would be tea. and there are tons and tons of flavors. Republic of Tea has some of the best flavors! Just watch for caffeine free. For a cut calorie drink I like to take that San Pellegrino and some 100% juice with lots of ice. About half and half bubble water and juice. Add a straw to chew on and I’m a happy little clam.
Lizzy saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:07 am
Since I was once a college student back in the day when dirt was young, I found that my self-loathing of gaining 1500 lbs from eating Taco Bell’s taco salads kept me awake. That and thumb screws.
V. saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:12 am
Celery sticks — really crunchy, kinda salty, lots of fiber and not expensive. And for the sweet side, snap peas. Plus. a squeeze of lime in the fizzy water helps. And lord but you’re a natural writer — a pleasure to read.
Suzanne saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:14 am
I Adore Vintage Seltzer… Mandarin Orange is my fav. It’s the very best drink and my soda substitute. My local natural food store orders it by the case for me 😉 Kefir is yummy and raw almonds are tasty too. I freeze green grapes as well, kinda like a mini-popsicle you just pop into your mouth. Apples and peanut butter. OH! I have to quit reading all of these suggestions. I’m very hungry now!
Keep on keeping on Bossy’s son.
lisa saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:26 am
Go to the Vietnamese grocery and buy their hard candies. I think some are made from vegetables so it seems like it could be healthy. The unexpected flavors in my mouth keep me awake!
bobbie saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:26 am
Grapes kept in the freezer; Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop microwave popcorn; jello with fat free Cool Whip; Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger tea…..
rockle saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:31 am
I ate a lot of popcorn in college — usually super-extra-butter flavor, but that was way back in the uncharted backwaters of time before they invented microwave kettle corn. I love that stuff now, and I find that it covers most of your snacking needs — warm, crunchy, sweet, salty, all at once. And I think you can get 100-calorie snack-size bags, too.
You might also want to try something a little “sturdier,” rather than just snackies. A little bit of chicken/tuna/egg salad or an ounce or so of cold cuts on half a pita might fill you up more (I am not sure about you young’uns and your supercharged metabolisms), and the protein is good for your brain. Or maybe an apple with a bit of peanut butter and a slice of good old Kraft Singles? It’s more calories than celery, but it’s good food.
kristin @ going country saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:39 am
Yup–popcorn. NOT microwave, however;there’s some scary shit in that microwave stuff. And it’s just as easy to make it on the stove. Way cheaper, too, and you can make a bunch at once and just keep it in a zip bag.
Incidentally, I’m drinking seltzer like it’s going out of style recently. Since I can’t drink anything ELSE fun (there is currently a small baby in my innards) and I’m getting pretty sick of just water. Enter the two-liter bottles of Adirondack lemon-lime seltzer. A whole bottle a day just for me. And that brand, at least, has no sodium. I didn’t even know there was seltzer with sodium in it.
kerry saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:43 am
Dear Bossy’s Son – As the mother of a college soph myself (Ole Miss, Class of 2011. FB address available upon request… if things have cooled with the Adorable One, that is) may I suggest nuts. Unsalted nuts. Pistachios, cashews, even the humble peanut. Yes, they have calories. But they’re also loaded with fiber and protein. Here in Virginia we grow the world’s best goobers. Carpe legumen.
Kelly saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:54 am
I have to object. Seltzer water is not a snack. It is water. Water does not equal snack. Geez Louise!
BossysMom saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:02 am
lemme work on this one. Most of the above avoid the “everything in moderation” rule by Ben. Wonder what Ben snacked on while inventing and such. I guess smoking is out of the question.
opps, phone ringing with bossy ID…
Grammar Snob saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:14 am
Dear Bossy’s Son,
Popcorn, for sure. Cooked on the stove — only a TBSP or 2 of oil in the whole batch, has better flavor than microwave and even tastes good without butter (I promise). And, you can make it a few times a week with enough to last for days at a time. Crunchy things like carrot sticks…I prefer cut whole carrots vs. baby carrots, I think they taste better. Nuts, but they’re not always in the college budget. Good luck! Report back with your success!
sherry saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:23 am
Stacy’s baked pita chips. They taste fantastic and the crunch will wake you up. Also? I do pushups when my head starts bobbing at the keyboard…
Jamie saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:35 am
Yikes, really? I loathe Seltzer. I do like diet tonic, though – pref. with gin. ha! My best snack is low-sodium beef or turkey jerky – great source of protein and it takes FOREVER to eat, which means of course that I end up eating fewer pieces.
Ris saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Hmmm I’d say dry Cheerios, which are satisfyingly crunchy, or carrot sticks, baked chips, apples, rice cakes. Crunchy is key for this ris.
BH saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm
OK, for all you (paranoid) concerned souls, here is the info from the Vintage Seltzer water shown in the photo:
Total Fat 0 g (0%)
Sodium 0 mg (0%)
Total Carbohydrate 0 g (0%)
Sugars 0 g
Protein 0 g
Way to go (Bossy’s) Son.
RuthWells saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm
Now see, I thought this was going to be a post about the need to stay hydrated when you’re in college and …. um…. occassionally imbibing substances which can cause dehydration.
Debbie in GA saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Seltzer water is simply carbonated. It’s SODA water that contains sodium 🙂
Popcorn. Only not that nasty microwaved bag of chemicals. Get a hot air popper, pop organic corn (to avoid nasty GMOs), drizzle generously with olive oil and sea salt. The best, the end.
Meg at the Members Lounge saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm
Radishes are crunchy, spicy and guaranteed to keep you awake!
zidia saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Unsalted peanuts and crispy Delicious apples
Amy in NJ saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Dear Bossy’s son, POWER NAP! I realize that naps are inedible, but sometimes you just need to sleep.
I also love Vintage Seltzer and it has NO SODIUM. I also get it by the case because I have a hard time with drinking water with no flavor. But by golly, be careful when you open the wild Cherry. It’s the only flavor that explodes.
Amy in NJ saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm
also, unsalted roasted almonds. yum!
Steve C saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Dear Bossy’s son, are you Kool Keith? Here is a video of Kool Keith talking about the importance of drinking Seltzer water.
Helen saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm
Love all these suggestions! My favourite snack is apple and cheese. I have a whole ritual around it… the apple (it must be a crisp one) gets cored and then sliced into six pieces. Then I slice cheese (a good medium-strength cheddar is my favourite) into six blocks. All gets arranged on a side plate. Then I alternate.. nibble some apple, then some cheese, then some apple etc. The flavours are wonderful together. Give it a try!
km saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm
someone’s blog had a “pretty snack” post and they had and adorable bowl of hummus with radials of red pepper slices. It looked so nice.
vintage seltzer it is for me then!!
Alissa saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm
Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds!
Jean saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm
It’s college son. Snacks should be twinkies with a chaser of New Castle.
Too bad they didn’t make New Castle flavored pop tarts. Man.
APeetsMom saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm
Trail mix! Or popcorn…I like the apples and cheese idea. I can barely recall what I ate in college late at night….am thinking it was a jar of Nutella with a spoon!!! Good luck staying awake! Oi- Chomsky…read some of THAT!
Liz saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm
In college I used a 32 oz Dr. Pepper (yeah, I know, caffeine) from the Wa-wa and a pack of cigarettes to pull all-nighters.
BOSSY saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm
Wow, Bossy’s son, if you would only MOVE HOME AGAIN SOMEDAY, Bossy would think about splitting the price of a hot-air popcorn popper with you. Because: mmm.
Lizzy saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm
Steve C.? I’m a new person now that I have witnessed Kool Keith. Many thanks to you and Master Getzby for showing me the way. I was blind, and now I see.
K saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm
I love some seltzer water (and have a bit of a serious soda habit). But, as an ecology professor, it’s kinda hard to justify my own personal landfill of plastic bottles every year.
So, I bought a “soda club” soda making machine (rental CO2 canisters, soda water flavors and soda syrups. Upside: cheaper, less soda carrying (are there stairs in your dorm), quick, and reuseable/recyclable bottles.
Downside: must remember to order replacement syrup/canisters BEFORE I run out, and high initial investment (cheaper in the long run, but not quite as cheap as the company promises).
Try it, blog it.
BTW, if you order, search online for coupons before your final order, you can almost always wrangle 5-10% off.
Carrie saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 7:39 pm
I go through at least 20 yogurts a week. Specifically, Dannon Light & Fit. The cashiers at my grocery store probably think of me as “the yogurt and magazines girl” every time they see me
MommyTime saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm
I’m up late reading giant Victorian novels & grading papers, so I feel your pain. My fave snacks: air popped popcorn with a bit of real butter and salt; baby carrots dipped in hummus; ricotta cheese with a little vanilla & 1tsp sugar, and sliced strawberries; homemade smoothy w/frozen berries & lowfat vanilla yogurt. Not exactly NO calories but at least healthy ones and relatively low for the nutritional punch they pack.
Cupcake Murphy saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 10:26 pm
Did I stumble into an episode of Twilight Zone? Reading Celery and Seltzer Water in the same sentence as SNACKS is like reading Joseph Stalin and Trader Joes Toilet Paper in the same sentence as SOFT.
far-flung correspondent's crack aunt amy saysFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm
hummus, meth, rice crackers, dark chocolate hersey kisses, hot air popped popcorn, did i mention meth…
Bossy's son former boss saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 12:13 am
Nuts, any variety. MUFAs are very good for you!
mitzie saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 7:04 am
Fritos from the vending machine in the library annex if I recall. Stay away from “THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE” instant insommnia cure. Though it does teach the valuble lesson of living hedonistically untll too decrepide to party, then repenting.
WebSavvyMom saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 10:22 am
–>How about just a lollipop that will last awhile?
K saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 11:21 am
Gadget girl here again:
Carrie – you can make a half gallon of yogurt for the price of a half gallon of milk and one small yogurt. Then, you flavor however you want… it’s amazingly easy, cheaper, and again with fewer plastic containers. Another added benefit – it is all yogurt (no gelatins or other thickening agents). I either add a bit of vanilla and splenda (for me) or either jelly (for fruit) or chocolate syrup for my kids. I realize that syrup sounds gross – but, Go-gurts have several spoons of sugar per tube – so, it can’t be any worse.
Franca Bollo saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm
Inspiration from a recent trip to the Middle East: hummus (different in the ME from what’s made here. Here’s an example of how it’s sometimes served: http://jcarrot.org/the-best-hummus-in-israel) tabbouleh (made with a higher ratio of parsley to bulgar, though don’t smile at anyone after eating without checking your teeth first), pita bread and almonds. Also, there’s this nasty stuff, a kind of chocolate crack that I’m fighting a current addiction to, Mochatonix. But like cigarettes and meth … don’t go there.
Lisa saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 4:47 pm
Coastal Nest CRAVES the seltzer, especially with the vodka and the ever and uber fabulous LEMON slice (or 10). Perfect for late night snacking.
Bellacantare saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm
I honestly don’t recall what I used to snack on in order to stay awake while cramming, BUT, my no fail, get through that boring chapter and actually comprehend it method was to walk the stairs in my 9-story dorm. Sometimes reading aloud if it was particularly yawn-inducing. It definitely worked to keep me awake and it did wonders for my ass. Good luck!
Elizabeth saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm
Don’t do what I did, which was wrap, oh, 6 chocolate-chunk cookies from the dessert table in the cafeteria in a couple of napkins and then snack on those while studying. No no no. Although it did get me through many a late night’s writing of papers on “The Death of Ivan Ilytch” and “Notes from Underground”.
What about pistachios? You can have 50 of them for around 150 calories, and there’s that satisfying *CRACK* sound they make when you pry the two halves of the shell together. Just chug a bunch of water to make up for the salt. Stupid salt.
Victoria saysFebruary 10, 2010 at 10:44 pm
Little Miss Sunshine State saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 2:34 am
My favorite “fourth meal” when I work late is an 8oz container of fat-free yogurt with 1/4 cup of fat-free granola topped with a fat-free chopped apple or a handful of fat-free blueberries.
Did you catch my fat-free-three-foodgroup theme?
David saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm
You’re only in college and your metabolism is already tanking? Mine is just starting to drop below the speed limit. I assume in addition to all those smart food choices, you also pay regular visits to the decently equipped gym that your University provides free to you. The pool they have is also pretty damn sweet.
Being borderline hyper-active, I never needed any aids to stay up late. I pulled all night-ers powered only by my fear of failure.
almudena saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm
bulimia did wonders for my freshman 15. forget the calorie counting and snack all you want. kidding! sort of…
what?! bossy suggested cocaine! point your finger at her for goodness sake!
almudena saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm
fine…here’s a good healthy option:
brush your teeth often while you study – it curbs hunger and wakes you up.
reen saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm
I’m the same as #30 Helen with the ritual alternating-bites-of-cheddar-and-apple thing…also, try the same with grapes and smoked Gouda! Also, fruit/yogurt smoothies…or frozen peas (still frozen!)
Amelia saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm
My favorite snack in college was turkey pepperoni and reaaaaally sharp cheddar cheese. Nom nom nom.
Medkid saysFebruary 11, 2010 at 11:09 pm
The key to all the snacking I want: 4-5 mile runs a day. Except then you want to snack EVEN MORE because your metabolism will explode. Just a warning. 🙂 Oh yea, and I consume 10 pounds of frozen berries every 2.5 weeks. But my favorite way to avoid snacking in med school is going to bed and not studying (oops!).
Tracey saysFebruary 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm
whole wheat pita & hummus, baby carrots & light ranch, roasted almonds, light yogurt, string cheese, sugar free jello. And try unflavored seltzer with a little fruit juice.
adria saysFebruary 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm
sunflower seeds (in their shells- it takes longer to eat and it makes things interesting)
Dharmamama saysFebruary 12, 2010 at 10:24 pm
I guess Red Bull’s out of the question?
janny226 saysFebruary 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm
I love Vintage seltzer. Also everyone else has already suggested popcorn. My husband likes his pistachios in shells (same reason as adria suggests sunflower seeds — slows down consumption to have to open them up.) How about gum??
cat saysFebruary 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm
We used one of these for years, until it stopped working… Impressed friends and made great tasting seltzer from tap water!
You just need to buy the cartridges, which weren’t expensive, and no plastic waste bottles!
Here’s a site at Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=39720230
monica saysFebruary 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
My roommate and I used to walk to 7-11 to grab those FrozFruit Popsicle Bars…(don’t know if they’re still available)…banana and strawberry were favorite flavors. While not non-caloric, they were a better choice than a bag of Doritos. Plus, the chill they provided was always an effective late-night stimulant.
Heide saysFebruary 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm
When I was in college, I snacked on pop tarts. These days I go for apples, carrots, celery, herbal tea, handfuls of almonds. And for quick energy, a few pushups or a headstand works wonders.
Chesapeake Bay Woman saysFebruary 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Stick with those seltzers. It’s bubbly, cold, inexpensive, and basically water with air so can’t be but so bad for you, depending on the source of the water and air, of course.
I can’t live without seltzer and didn’t even know it existed until one summer at the Jersey Shore when I was enlightened.
Wal-Mutant actually sells cans of raspberry, lime and orange in 12-packs for like $2.88. It’s a bahgain.
p.s. You do not want to know what we did back in the Mesozoic Era to stay awake to cram in all the work we’d avoided for the entire semester. Stick with the seltzer.
bossy's friend martha's sister saysFebruary 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm
seriously ya all…….sweetie just eat …..Chocolate
BossysMom saysFebruary 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm
almond slivers, unsalted, one at a time chewed with only front teeth until pulverized.