A list of nutritious snacks that can easily be stored in a mini-fridge or drawer. Perfect nutritious snacks for college students and people on the go!
Part of my job includes working at Butler University with students, faculty and staff in one-on-one appointments and educational events on campus throughout the year. I worked with this group a little bit last semester as well, and so far in both semesters so many people ask me what to snack on and what kinds of foods to have on hand for times when they are in a pinch.
This list is geared toward college students with minimal storage, cooking equipment, and food budget BUT these snacks could easily be enjoyed by anyone 🙂
Of course certain people feel better when eating certain foods, so this list can vary depending on the individual but in general I recommends that all snacks include a bit of fiber (carbohydrate), protein, and fat. The fiber will fill you up, while the protein will help you stay fuller for longer and the fat will help you feel satisfied 🙂 Combining all nutrients (carb, protein, and fat) will also help keep your blood sugar stable and prevent big highs or lows throughout the day.
Here are my picks:
Plain Greek Yogurt – contains nearly 20g of protein in a single serving cup, which can help you feel fuller for longer to help you stay focused on your to-do list rather than your growling stomach. Yogurt is also filled with probiotics, which are good for digestion! Pair with fresh or freeze-dried fruit, or low sugar granola for extra texture and fiber. Dairy Free Option: Kite Hill Dairy Free Greek-Style Yogurt
Walnuts – these nuts are the highest in omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory in the body. Walnuts are also linked with energy production in the body…we could all use a little more of that 😉
Freeze Dried Fruit – fruit is naturally sweet and full of vitamins and minerals. I love freeze dried fruit because it is shelf-stable, has zero added ingredients, and typically comes in a resealable package. It’s a great thing to keep on hand to add into your Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or pair with nuts for a DIY trail mix!
Hummus – I was introduced to hummus in college, and I haven’t looked back since! This creamy dip comes in a variety of flavors, is made from blended chickpeas so it is naturally a great source of fiber and plant protein. Chickpeas can also be called a “good mood food” because they contain B vitamins!
Pre-Cut Vegetables – having pre-cut veggies ready to go makes grabbing a nutritious snack on the run simple. Whether you chop them yourself or at the store, fresh veggies give a boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and filling fiber. Pair these with your hummus or nut butter packs!
Nut Butter – I love having little packets because the portion size is just right, they are easy to tote in my bag “just in case” and nuts are full of healthy fats and plant protein. I recommend sticking to the options with no added sugar. Nut free option: no sugar added sunflower seed butter or pumpkin seed butter can be a great choice here!
Whole Grain Crackers – you can tell your crackers are whole grain by reading the ingredient list…the first thing listed should say “whole!” Whole grains contain B vitamins as well as minerals like iron, magnesium and selenium. They also contain fiber, which helps you feel full and regulates digestion. Gluten free option: many gluten free crackers are whole grain! Just read the label to check.
Cottage Cheese Cups – cottage cheese is another easy high protein snack option that is totally customizable. The protein helps you stay full until your next meal. My tip is to include a fiber-rich add-in such as berries, a higher fiber whole grain granola, or fresh vegetables (I love adding tomatoes!). Lactose free option: Green Valley Organics
Tuna Packets – these are great to have on hand for a quick meal. I like to mix with dijon and place on top a giant bed of fresh vegetables for a meal that I know will keep me full. Tuna contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, protein, selenium and vitamin D. Packs of tuna tend to be a bit high in sodium, so I recommend picking the “no salt added” version and salting/seasoning to your taste.
Microwavable Whole Grain Packets – another quick meal maker! It’s not ideal, but sometimes schedules get wonky and your original meal plan goes out the window – here is your plan B! You could make a nutritious meal by pairing your tuna (protein), with these whole grains (carbohydrate), pre-chopped fresh veggies (fiber), tossed with a little olive oil and vinegar, salad dressing or whatever you have on hand.
Granola – adding granola to plain yogurt and berries or even cottage cheese is a great texture addition, gives a touch of sweetness, and adds a bit of fiber too! Just make sure you pick an option with less than 10g of sugar per serving.