Photo by Kyan Mahzouf

I’ve eaten five 15-ounce packages of raisins in the past month alone. 

It’s not such a bad thing to be hooked on — it could be worse. Besides my super-hot salsa from a couple of weeks ago (which I’m still making regularly), my fruit intake is a little below normal, to say the least. So eating raisins like an elephant eats leaves, in large quantities for all of my waking hours, actually benefits my health.

This past weekend I went with my friend Rachel to the beach — something many of you may identify with, as summer and the lull between midterms and finals is upon us. Translation: time to procrastinate! You can tell we were at the beach and lying out in the sun because our skin (or at least mine) is currently peeling off in huge sheets.

Before we left for the beach and at the last minute, I decided that instead of bringing raisins I would bring graham crackers as a snack for the day. I immediately regretted it. But later, I was thankful.

After briefly dipping our feet in the water, Rachel and I came back to a giant swarm of seagulls devouring every last graham cracker on our towels, to the obvious dismay of our neighbors, who were in proximity to the feeding fest. Shooing them away with all manner of curses and death threats, all I could think about was how they weren’t eating my raisins, which were, thankfully, safe at home.

At the end of that day, my dessert of choice was a heaping handful of raisins. I can’t often say that I eat fruit for dessert, but it really does taste like candy. I can see why chefs use it as a sweet addition to balance any savory dish (recipes below).

Raisins have all the essential sugars that you need to stay energetic throughout the day. But the extra benefit is their size. For those of you who hike or backpack, or even bike up to campus, you know acutely well how much you would rather carry a serving of raisins rather than a serving of oranges or apples in your bag. Weight alone may convince you, but for me, the taste seals the deal.

If you’re still not convinced, all you have to do is look at the nutrition label on the back of your raisins box, which will tell you how awesome this quick snack can be for your body. It can give you high energy, a solid five grams of protein per serving, and virtually no fat, cholesterol or sodium to mess with your balanced diet.

So as the quarter begins to wind down a little before finals start to kick in, and you’re looking for a go-to snack for the summer that’s easy to find, easy to buy and easy to eat, say hello to good eats in the tiniest of packages. Go for raisins, but don’t forget to hide the evidence under your towel.

Some cool raisin recipes:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:

Cinnamon Raisin Bread: