Top Five Healthy College Foods
Although ramen is frequently cited as the number one staple of college students' diets, there are far healthier, far more convenient options for snacking in the dorms. In no particular order, here are the top five college student snacks, based on cost, nutrition, portability, and cheap and easy preparation. Since many dorms place restrictions on the kinds of cooking equipment students may keep in their rooms, none of these options require cooking, although a couple of them do benefit from refrigeration.
Frequently overlooked in favor of packaged and processed convenience foods, fruit is nature's sweet and tasty handheld snack food. Instead of turning to sugary candies to satisfy your sweet tooth or to individually sized-- and overpriced!-- bags of chips for convenience, try grabbing an apple or a banana to go. Fruit is available at the grocery store for a few cents per piece and is packed with vitamins and fiber. While some fruits, like oranges and pears, are the perfect size for a handheld treat, others, like grapes, are a perfect replacement for bite sized snacks like chips or pretzels. For a fruit fix that won't spoil quickly, try dried fruit. Some grocery stores also carry individually sized cans and cups of fruit, but the convenient packaging on these makes them far less cost effective.
2) Peanut Butter and Crackers
Although a little high in calories, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein. Spread it on whole grain crackers for a nutritious and highly convenient bite sized snack. For even quicker and more convenient snacking, brands like Austin sell premade packages of peanut butter and crackers at very low prices. These can be a perfect pick-me-up in the morning if you just can't roll out of bed in time to get to the cafeteria, and they're also great as an after class afternoon snack.
3) Granola Bars
A great way to get your chocolate fix without the guilt is in a whole-grain-and-fiber-packed granola bar. Alternatively, try them with dried fruit or nuts to stock up on other nutrients like vitamins and protein. Some granola bars are even fortified with additional vitamins. Like peanut butter and crackers, granola bars can serve as convenient breakfast substitutes. They're available in a huge variety of brands and flavors, and they can be easily eaten on the go or tossed into a backpack for snacking between classes or at the library.
4) Baby Carrots
Conveniently cut for bite-sized snacking, baby carrots are just about the most convenient way to get your vegetables with absolutely no preparation required. They're a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. And, it's no myth that carrots are good for your eyesight. They provide your body with the vitamin A necessary for the sharp vision you'll need for all your reading.
5) The RIGHT Chips and Dip
Although potato chips are high in calories, fat, and sodium-- and also unhealthily addictive-- and creamy dips are similarly unhealthy, more nutritious alternatives are easily available. For a healthier alternative to potato chips, try hummus and pita or tortilla chips and salsa. While still salty, pita and tortilla chips are far lower in fat and calories than potato chips. Salsa and hummus are also nutritious choices. Salsa a painless way to add some fruits and veggies to your diet. It contains tomatoes, which are full of antioxidant lycopene, along with peppers and onions. Hummus, a popular Middle Eastern food made with mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic, is high in iron and vitamins B and C. Both can be found in most grocery stores and make excellent dips. To change things up a bit, try them with vegetables as well as on chips. Carrots or celery taste great with hummus.