College students across the country are starting their fall semester and that means over the course of the next few months they’ll be partying, pulling all-nighters, (hopefully) attending classes and, of course, heading to the dining hall for their meals.
While the health and nutrition of dining hall food varies, it wouldn’t be tough to argue that the real food issues for college students have more to do with their habits outside of the dining hall. These issues more than likely come in the form of beer, late night pizza deliveries and not-so-healthy snacking.
“College is a place full of tired nights, cramming, partying and little time for healthy eating, so smart snacking is a must,” said Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. Ficek is also one of the three experts that highlighted a few of the best healthy snack options college students should have in their dorms.
Another issue college students have when it comes to snacking, she says, is the amount of food they eat. “It can be easy to go overboard on calories when snacking. Portion control for snacking should range from 100-300 calories.” Ficek also mentioned that healthy amounts of fiber and protein will help keep energy levels up, which is key when it comes to those late nights.
Before you hit the books or head to your first party of the semester, be sure to stock your dorm room (and mini fridge) with these 11 healthy snacks.
“In a to-go container, layer vanilla yogurt (or kefir) with mandarin oranges, blueberries or your favorite fruit. Top with granola for an extra crunch,” said Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. You can also opt for greek yogurt, which will add some protein or top with nuts to keep hunger at bay.
Store bought granola can be full of sugar, so if you can’t find what you want in the store try making your own. Pay attention to the amount of sugar in your ingredients—especially the dried fruit, as many types are known for adding tons of sugar. “Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack,” said Ficek. “These bags can also be helpful with calorie and portion control.”