Healthy Snacks To Take With You to Class

It’s 10:30am and you’re sitting in the middle of lecture. You are starving having been in class all morning, and with lunch in the distant future after your 1pm class, you have to eat….now. Or at least before your stomach starts making embarrassing noises and people start looking around for the wild animal in the room. At this point you have two options: vending, or what you brought with you in your bag. While the vending machine may seem harmless, your desperate hunger decisions may lead you to pick an item with 50% of your daily sodium intake. By bringing your own snack instead, you control the nutrients. Snacking has a bad reputation because when many people grab a between-meal bite, it’s calorie dense, nutrient vapid and much bigger than a snack should be. "We are supersizing everything, but particularly snack foods. So even if you eat just one portion, it can really be like three portions…" said Noralyn Wilson, MS, RD in an interview with Web MD. Many vending foods have packages that actually contain more than one serving, so just read the nutrition facts label the next time you see one to know how many calories you’re really taking in. According to the Mayo Clinic, snackers should aim to keep snacks to 100 calories or less. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options and the time you think it will take to pack a nutritious snack, but fear not! The options we have below are more cost-conscious, nutritious, and low calorie than that candy bar you just bought for $1.50. Dr. Tammy Wagner PhD, R.D. CSSD, who is a registered dietitian, weighed in on our snacks.

    • Fruit plus a nut butter E.g., Apples, Pears, Asian Pears (crisper than apples and pears)
  • “This option is nutrient dense and having a fruit plus a protein is good for satiation,” says Dr. Wagner. Don’t limit yourself to peanut butter here. Try almond butter and cashew butter too. Check your grocery for single serving containers of peanut butter such as Jif Peanut Butter To Go. No refrigeration, bags, or even trash (except the core) when you bring self-contained fruit. As soon as you’re done with the peanut butter you can toss that on your way out.

    • Unbuttered popcorn with dried herbs

    Dr. Wagner mentions that replacing the salt and butter of popcorn with dried herbs, like basil or parsley, is “a great low sodium and low fat alternative” to one of our favorite snacks. Orville Redenbacher sells snack size popcorn bags. Pop one and put it in a ziplock, or reusable bag, with a few shakes of dried basil or parsley from your kitchen.

    • Low fat yogurt and honey

    Oikos Organic Greek yogurt with honey is an easy pick up while you’re at the grocery. “The honey adds flavor to a wonderful source of calcium.” Just remember to pack a spoon with you, and don’t let it sit unrefrigerated for too long before you eat it!

    • Unsweetened applesauce with graham cracker dippers
  • Many brands, such as Mussleman’s, sell individual containers of this applesauce. This combination is delicious! Dr. Wagner says, “This snack is one of my kids’ favorites! Graham crackers are a good low fat choice of crackers.” Place a few graham crackers in a baggie and dip in the applesauce. Applesauce does not need to be refrigerated!

    • Mixed nuts
  • Almonds and other nuts are a great source of vitamin E (Good for healthy skin). They taste great with Cajun seasoning. “Mixed nuts offer a variety of textures and tastes. They are a wonderful source of protein and healthy fats,” adds Dr. Wagner. Toss a serving into a baggie, about 1/3 of a cup, but be careful! Too many nuts can add up in the calorie department. Instead of using plastic sandwich bags for your snacks, consider purchasing a reusable one like the one below from ‘Evelyn Fields’. Sources: Mayo Clinic, Snacks: How they fit your weight loss plan WebMD, Healthy Eating and Diet Ecofriendly Bag, Evelyn Fields Cajun Spiced Pecans, About: Southern Food Dr, Tammy Wagner, PhD, RD, CSSD, Professor of Nutrition, James Madison University