The freshman 15 exists throughout all four years of college — there’s no escape. After all, how could there possibly be an escape when it’s a maze trying to balance academics with a thriving social life, involvement, jobs, necessary downtime and the next season of The Bachelor? Late-night studying and long nights out call for inevitable snacking. However, this indulgence does not need to lead to regret. Below are five healthier alternatives to the classic unhealthy, greasy and fatty regulars.
1. Dark chocolate
The need to satisfy a sweet tooth is all-too-common of an occurrence. I’m guilty of giving in way too often, yet my stash of dark chocolates helps me avoid a late-night cupcake or bowl of ice cream. Much better for you than milk chocolate, dark chocolate has even been shown to contain ingredients that help lower blood pressure and limit the probability of diabetes, heart disease and mortality.
2. Alternative dips
Instead of munching on a creamy dip or dressing, healthier options include hummus, almond butter and peanut butter. Carrots with hummus, apples with almond butter and celery with peanut butter are all hearty snacks filled with nutrients. Hummus contains many essential vitamins and supplements: calcium, iron, potassium and more. Containing more nutrients and fiber than peanut butter, almond butter makes for a delicious spread on toast or a banana. I find peanut butter to be the most filling, and it even helps combat the effects of Alzheimer’s as well as limit the chances of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Everyone’s favorite movie theater snack, when consumed properly, can be a healthy midnight option. Without butter or added salt, popcorn actually has many health benefits that Organic Facts claims “include its ability to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, improve the digestive process, protect against osteoporosis, prevent cancer, inhibit cognitive decline, prevent premature aging, and help you lose weight.” Next time you’re in the chip aisle, walk away from the bag of Lay’s in exchange for a bowl of popcorn.
4. Trail mix
Trail mix is the perfect on-the-go snack choice. Filled with nuts and seeds (useful proteins), dried fruits (a good source of fiber) and raisins (an energy and vitamin resource), trail mix gives you the energy boost you need to continue the day. The ones with M&Ms even allow you to satisfy those mid-day chocolate cravings.
5. Avocado toast
For a quick and healthy snack, avocado toast makes for the best delicacy. Since it’s pretty filling, this snack can even be turned into a meal when paired with an egg or another veggie side. Avocados are also filled with potassium and fiber. They help with digestion, liver health and weight regulation. This dish can be expensive in restaurants, but avocado toast can easily be prepared at home.
The munchies are unavoidable. Don’t let them ruin your college days, and try a healthier option next time you need a study break!