By: Amelia Fischer –
Bundled in the average college student’s snack bin is a box of Cheezit’s, a sleeve of Ritz Crackers, and maybe a jar of Nutella. While scrolling through Amazon Pantry, these were surely the best sounding options at the time, but these highly saturated snacks are detrimental to a college student’s health. College and stress come hand in hand, and your body has difficulty coping with natural stress responses when it’s forced to set up a search party looking for nutrients in a handful of Oreos’. Yes, these options are cheap and convenient, but healthier snack options do exist and are easier to find than you might think.
Hummus with vegetables
Hummus is a sufficient source of protein, fiber, and iron and therefore provides energy and boosts metabolism. AND it is flavorful. A variety of Hummus brands are sold amongst on-campus food stores and vegetables such as carrots or celery can be scavenged from any dining hall. If you really can’t stand vegetables, whole-grain crackers are your healthiest substitute. These are also located within on-campus food stores.
Banana with peanut butter
This snack is surprisingly filling, not to mention it is free considering both foods can be taken to-go from any dining hall. They also can be found in on-campus stores if you’re on the run. Bananas are high in fiber, while peanut butter is an excellent source of protein.
Rice cake combos
Instead of your average bread or cracker, rice cakes are far easier for the body to break down and make for a lighter carb-substitute. Rice cakes can be purchased in any off-campus food store such as Target, Wegmans, or Tops. They pair nicely with spreads such as almond butter or peanut butter. Love avocado? Try a rice cake with sliced avocado.
This does not mean the protein-posing candy bars. Sufficient protein bars primarily consist of fruits, nuts, or vegetables, and offer at least 10 grams of protein. Some tasty examples include Larabars, KIND bars, Oatmega bars, and Primal Kitchen bars. These are sold in on-campus food stores as well as off-campus stores. Buying these bars in bulk might save you a dollar or two.
Although popcorn does not have a lot of health benefits, it is a light snack that can replace crackers or chips, which carry larger fat contents. Aim for non-buttered options, all of which can be found in on-campus food stores.
Cheese sticks are a great on-the-go snack and consist of suitable levels of protein. Although healthy diets tend to veer away from processed foods, low-fat cheeses are still considered to be a relatively healthy snack. These can be purchased at any on-campus food store.
Along with these inexpensive, two-step-max snacks, nuts, fresh fruit, chickpea-based chips, and various granolas also make for great dorm-room snacks. You’ll notice that most of the listed snacks emphasize protein as a major component. The body relies on proteins to build, repair, and regulate our skin, muscle, bones, blood, and cartilage. Unlike fats or carbohydrates, proteins cannot be stored within the body, thus it is important to ingest ample amounts each day, snacking being the perfect opportunity.
College is exhausting. Fueling your body with the proper nutrients will grant more energy throughout the day and additionally can kick-start other health benefits such as clearer skin, skin often being the first suffer when the body experiences stress. These listed options are not only affordable but also accessible—two words every college student loves to hear. So swap the Cheezit box for one of these healthier snack options and enjoy the health benefits that are soon to follow.