Being a college student isn’t always a piece of cake. While we love to have fun on the weekends, the culmination of classes, meetings, hours of homework, and everything else can be tough to manage. When you’re rolling out of bed for your 8 AM, breakfast isn’t always the first thing on your mind – and neither is lunch when you’re running to the gym between classes, or dinner when you’re trying to juggle four group projects, a paper, and some semblance of a social life. Balance is an important part of life – a good night’s sleep, everything in moderation, work before play . . . you’ve heard it all. What many people toss by the wayside is balanced eating habits, which are a major part of keeping your body and mind healthy and happy. That said, cooking – or even walking to the dining hall – takes time, which is a scarce resource in the average college student’s daily life. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to fast food binges at Kimmel or hoard sugary snack bars in your purse when you’re running late! Check out some quick-and-easy, all-natural on-the-go snacks, from packaged to fresh, that will fuel you during your busiest days!
Snack Bars are a popular way to satisfy hunger and hold you over until mealtime. Here are three top picks:
- Larabars. These are awesome, all-natural fruit and nut food bars. With only three to five ingredients – dates to sweeten, nuts to salt, and other natural elements like coconut and apple – they’re totally free of the sugary, artificial ingredients so common in packaged granola bars, so you don’t come crashing down after getting a sugar high. They’re gluten-free, and one bar packs in lots of protein and fiber. They’re filling enough to hold you over for an entire meal, too! There are tons of flavors, from peanut butter cookie to banana bread to carrot cake.
- Clif bars. You’ve always spotted them near the checkout at Schine Dining and wanted to try one . . . why not start now? These are delicious, organic energy bars that will fuel you through a tough workout or a long slew of classes. They’re full of vitamins, and the array of flavors is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth – a fan favorite is the chocolate chip peanut crunch!
- Kashi TLC bars. Need a quick breakfast fix? Try one of the cereal bars, made with real fruit and honey! They’ll get your metabolism going bright and early, and keep you satisfied to start your day. Flavors include strawberry, cherry, and blackberry. For a whole grain snack during the day, try one of the layered granola bars that satisfy your dark chocolate craving and give you something to crunch on.
Nuts are an easy DIY snack that pack in protein and omega-3s. They’re high in calories, but full of good fats, and a small handful can satisfy a craving – just combine with some fresh fruit or raisins for a perfect snack combo. Shoot for 100 calories per serving by sticking a measured amount of nuts in a plastic bag, and keep a few bags in your purse for snacking. Emerald also makes pre-packaged 100 calorie packs that you can buy. Here are the 100-calorie measurements by nut type if you’re making your own bags:
- 14 almonds
- 10 cashews
- 17 peanuts
- 29 pistachios
- 13 walnuts
- 10 pecans
Fruit is a no-brainer for quick snacking, and the dining hall makes it easy to grab and go! Shoot for a small bunch of grapes (stick in your freezer for a few hours and then munch on a frozen dessert-style treat), a half cup of strawberries, an apple sliced up with peanut butter, or just an old-fashioned banana. These are great post-workout snacks for recovery, and they’re easy to munch on quietly without making a scene in class.
Veggies are easy to grab at the salad bar, and paired with a hard boiled egg, make a filling snack. Grab a few handfuls of baby carrots, celery, cucumbers, or broccoli, and add a little feta cheese for flavor! They’re a great low-calorie snack option that help keep you hydrated and nourished at and between meals.
Crackers can be tricky – some are packed with too much salt or sugar, and end up making you crave more throughout the day. Go for a more natural take and try one of the Blue Diamond nut-thin varieties – they’re a perfect nutty, crunchy way to get some protein in your diet. Gluten-free and made with rice, they come in almond, hazelnut, pecan flavors. For added flavor, try one of the seasoned almond nut-thin flavors like pepper jack cheese or country ranch! Pair a serving of these with some mozzarella string cheese and a cup of skim milk, and they’re a calcium-packed mini-lunch substitute.
Dark chocolate is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet craving without going overboard. Plus, it’s good for you! The higher the cocoa percentage, the better – that means there’s less artificial, sugary ingredients in there. 90% is too bitter for most people at first, but ultra-dark chocolate is an acquired taste – try 60% or 70% first. Keep a Lindt bar in the fridge and stick a square in your purse every morning, or keep a package of SweetRiot chocolate cacao nibs in your purse for an instant treat!