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Healthy snacks for college students are critical. Whether you are trying to avoid the “Freshman 15”, or just need some healthier fuel to get you through those all-night study sessions, an arsenal of healthy snacks and treats can really save you.
If you’re headed back to college like I am, healthy snacks are high up on my priority list. I’ll be balancing school work, a business, raising my child and running a household. So if I want to feel my best to stay on top of it all, healthy foods are a must
But we don’t always have the time (or the appliances in a dorm room) to cook a full meal. So I put together some suggestions to help you (and me!) be the healthiest we can be for fully fueled brain function.
Healthy College Snacks
The dining hall is typically filled with unhealthy snacks. College students need healthier options. And while some schools have really stepped up to the plate on that front, not all of them have.
If you are lucky enough to have a mini fridge in your dorm room, you have half the battle won. Late night college life is filled with junk food. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Healthy foods and healthy eating are totally doable on campus, or off.
Just a quick trip to the grocery store, will help you. So what are your options?
Whole grains will sustain you far longer than processed grains. Give these a try:
- Whole Oats – Think overnight oats for a quick breakfast, or add raw oats to smoothies to keep you full much longer.
- Brown Rice – This can be used for wraps, rice bowls, quick burritos and so much more.
- Quinoa – This seed has all 9 amino acids, meaning it’s a complete protein like meat! Add it to anything for plant based protein. It makes great salads and wraps!
- Rice Cakes – These portable snacks might be a little delicate, but with the right spread, they hold together just fine. These are a great way to enjoy a quick, healthy snack. Top with nut butters, jam, jelly, butter, fruit butter, or any spread you prefer.
While you never want to overdo it on fats, some healthy fats are needed for good brain function. Here are some ideas:
- Peanut Butter – Make sure you get a “natural” variety. Manufacturers love to add tons of sugar to peanut butter, and sugar packs on the pounds fast. So read the labels!
- Pumpkin Seeds – These highly nutritious snacks are portable and even come in flavors in some stores! Again, read labels to avoid sugar and other unwanted ingredients.
- Sunflower Seeds – Seeds of any kind are a quick snack that will travel well with you from class to class, or to a friend’s dorm room for studying.
- Other Nut Butters – Peanut butter isn’t the only nut butter out there. Consider cashew butter, almond butter and even a yummy hazelnut spread!
- Cocoa Nibs – These can be added to trail mix, cereal, or any number of dry snacks and mixes. According to healthline.com, “They’re exceptionally rich in antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Cocoa products like cacao nibs have been linked to reduced heart disease and diabetes risk, as well as other health benefits“.
- Trail Mix – While the nutritional benefits of trail mix will depend totally on the mix itself, a good healthy mix will really carry you through. Give this trail mix recipe a try!
Fresh fruit is always a healthy snack. And while individual fruits are very portable and convenient, there are other ways you can enjoy a healthy sweet treat using fruit.
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, you can absolutely satisfy it without feeling guilty for it. If you can have either a food processor or blender in your dorm room (or if you have one at home), fruit-based ice creams are a fabulous way to indulge without eating junk. And if you’re regularly eating healthy meals, this type of dessert won’t ruin all your hard work.
A great option for dorm rooms is a Yonana’s machine. Just run by the store, pick up some frozen fruit, and run it through the machine to have the healthiest ice cream you never knew you needed.
Don’t forget the “Nice Cream”! Here are some recipes:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
- Cherry Almond Ice Cream
- Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
- Coconut Banana Ice Cream
- Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Protein sustains us and keeps us full. Getting adequate amounts in your meal plan or snacks will contribute to much better focus during studying.
- String Cheese – This is a perfect snack when you’re rushing between classes or need a healthy snack that will travel easily.
- Chia Seeds – While chia is known for its fiber content, it’s also a great source of lean fiber. Just a tablespoon or 2 per day will give you a ton of nutrients that will easily power you through a tough day of finals. Add them to smoothies, cereal, or mix with milk and sweetener and set in the fridge for a few hours for a delicious pudding.
If your school cafeteria has a salad bar, don’t miss out on all the individual healthy snacks hiding there! Instead of a salad, create a veggie tray of sorts. Grab some tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and any other veggies you’ll enjoy raw. Then add a little dressing for dip and you’re set!
And if the dressing is an issue, grab a bottle of healthier dressing at the store to keep in your mini fridge.
While many “protein bars” are significantly low in actual protein, with a little research, you can usually find a good one.
Regular snack bars or “energy bars”, such as Lara Bars, have the healthy carbs you need to fuel your day. While they are best eaten on very active days, they can also be a healthy sweet treat when you need one.
And when you’re home on break, you can also make yourself some bars to keep in your fridge at school. Try these Chocolate Chip Protein Bars.
I also have another version I did for the Autumn season. Pumpkin Spice Protein Bars. Delicious and perfect for the “back to school” season!
Healthy College Meals And Snacks
These recipes are for both snacks and meals. Some require a microwave or blender while others simply require a fridge. There is even a suggested shopping list. But note that the recipes you are able to make will depend heavily on what your college will allow.