Healthy and Easy Snack Ideas for College Students

College and healthy eating are not often found in the same sentence. With unhealthy options in the dining hall tempting you and the healthy options being extremely limited, it may cause you to give up on trying to stay healthy altogether while at school. I’m here to give you some healthier options you can keep in your dorm room or suite to eat instead of succumbing to grabbing nachos or an ice cream cone from the dining hall. 


1. Pretzels:

Buying a big bag of pretzels is cost effective as I know us college students are always on a budget, and eating a serving size of pretzels won’t knock you off track from being healthy. To make this snack more filling I suggest dipping the pretzels in peanut butter or one of my new found favorites – chocolate hummus! (don’t knock it until you try it)

2. Chips and Salsa:

I know what you’re thinking, how can chips and salsa be considered a healthy snack, but hear me out. If you buy a bag of Tostitos, making sure they are the “Baked” kind, and find a salsa with a small amount of ingredients that are mostly vegetables, eating a serving size can be a filling snack or even part of a meal and beats eating nachos that consist of salty chips and “cheese”. 


3. Rice Cakes

This is a snack I’ve tried recently since starting school. Eating one with a little bit of peanut butter, Nutella, or even cookie butter spread over it adds taste and makes it a very filling snack for the middle of the day. There are also different flavors you can find other than plain which can taste good without anything added to them. 


4. Granola Bars

This is a snack most people think of when going to college and when starting to eat healthier. The important thing to know is that not all granola bars are as healthy as they appear to be. It is important to look at the ingredients in different bars and find one with a short list of easy to read and familiar ingredients. Some of my favorites are Kind Bars and Special K protein bars.

5. Fruits/Vegetables:

It might seem to be an obvious option for a healthy snack, but fruits and veggies are hard to come by in college. At the dining hall they are offered, but sometimes the fruits you like are not available, and eating the same bowl of cantaloupe or pineapple everyday gets old very quickly. My suggestion is to take fruit or vegetables such as bananas, apples, or carrots from the dining hall to keep in your room. Another option is to buy fruit cups (with real fruit juice) or applesauce to keep in your dorm as a quick snack to grab as an alternative to a bag of chips. 



6. "Healthy Ice Cream":

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, it can be difficult to pass the dessert table in the dining hall without getting anything. An alternative is to pick up some healthy ice cream and keep it in your dorm. My favorite brands are Halo Top and Arctic Zero, and I have recently discovered that Ben and Jerry’s offers some low calorie flavors and non-dairy options. It isn’t practical that everyone will be able to keep ice cream in their dorm if they don’t have a freezer, so an alternative is to have peanut butter, Nutella, or cookie butter on hand and have one scoop if you find yourself craving something sweet. 

These are just a few of the snacks I have been trying out this semester and I’ve been enjoying experimenting to find what works for me as alternatives to what I ate at the dining hall last year. Overall the key to staying healthy in college is to be mindful of portion sizes and to eat everything in moderation. It’s OK to have an ice cream cone or to go out to dinner with your friends on the weekend as long as you keep a balance in what you eat other days of the week. 


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