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Share to PinterestCheap and Simple Foods for College Students

Cheap and Simple Foods for College Students

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestCheap and Simple Foods for College Students

Between your off-campus job, partying, and trying to pass all your classes this semester, you don't have time to whip up Giada De Laurentiis-style recipes. Gourmet dishes are for date night splurges and trips to see your mama.

But stomachs are gaping pits that need filling, and there's only so much junk food you can eat before it's time for an intervention. Healthy snacks consistently combine protein and veggies and can help fuel your brain for top performance in all your scholastic endeavors. These snacks are nutrient-rich and filling enough to stave off the munchies.


Crudités with hummus or tzatziki

Share to PinterestVegetable Crudites and Dips
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This wholesome and Instagram-worthy snack might just give you a superiority complex. Make a batch of hummus when you have time—it will last for weeks in the fridge if you leave a layer of olive oil on top.

Take 15 minutes, put your favorite tunes on, and make some yogurt and cucumber tzatziki for your second dip. Wash the veggies you have in your fridge and slice them if necessary. Arrange on a platter and get dipping. Colorful raw vegetables including celery, zucchini, peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower work well. The only downside? Your friends have just made your dorm their new snack stop.


Nut butter and fruit

Share to Pinterestapple with peanut butter
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Simple and satisfying, this snack could be your new go-to and you can put it together in T-minus two minutes. Dip pieces of apple or pear in pecan nut butter, or make a peanut butter and banana sandwich with wholegrain bread.

Nut butters are high in protein and heart-healthy fats. Opt for one without added sugar.


Boiled eggs

Share to Pinterestboiled eggs with sauce
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You can hard boil eggs in a microwave-safe bowl of water. Two eggs take four minutes on high, then leave them in the hot water for another eight minutes if you prefer a firmer result.

Wait for them to cool down before dipping in mayo or slicing them into instant mash or a baked and seasoned potato. It's the perfect meal replacement when you don't have time to prep anything else.


Wholegrain crackers and cheese or fruit

Share to Pinterestcrackers, fruits, and cheese

Fruit salad with nuts or dollops of cottage cheese provides a balanced treat, as do smears of cottage cheese or slices of cheddar or gouda on high-fiber crackers.

And then there's feta cheese and grapes. Could there be a more perfect combo of sweet and salty? We think not.



Share to Pinterestkimchi ramen
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Warm and comforting, two-minute noodles are a savory classic and a college staple. Instant noodles aren't the healthiest snack on this list, but if you keep this for the odd treat (they're super high in sodium) and take the nutrition level up a notch by adding gut-friendly kimchi or sauerkraut, you're golden. Those pickled add-ins contain probiotics and offer myriad health benefits.


Protein shakes and smoothies

Share to Pinterestbanana smoothie
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Immersion blenders FTW. If your dorm has one, you can use fresh or frozen bananas as a base, then add plain yogurt, pure honey or maple syrup to sweeten, and your frozen fruit of choice. Yum! Meal replacement smoothies can include:

  • A raw egg à la egg nog
  • Whey protein or vegan protein powder
  • A half cup of rolled oats.

Without a blender, you can stick to mixing protein shake pre-mixes with milk or water and adding chia seeds. Guzzle and proceed.



Share to Pinterestpopcorn
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Popcorn is for movie nights or every night. This low-calorie snack offers fiber and antioxidants, but here's the kicker: the microwave popcorn you see in grocery stores isn't it. It's much healthier to make your own, and there's an easy fix.

Get a silicon bowl popcorn maker for cheap, and all you have to do is put 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels inside. Blast for two minutes in the microwave and hey presto! Drizzle your popcorn with a teaspoon of sesame oil, season with a pinch of salt, and add two teaspoons of sesame seeds to finish. Save the butter-loading for the odd movie night.


Almonds and co.

Share to PinterestAlmonds
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Barack Obama's snack of choice is almonds, but you do you. Brazil nuts, macadamias, pecans, cashews, and hazelnuts are all delish, provide omega-3 fatty acids, and can improve brain function.

Listen, if it's good enough for a suited-up former president of the United States of America, it's good enough for you in your ketchup-stained varsity hoodie.



Share to Pinterestbeef jerky
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Here's one for the carnivores. Depending on your dietary restrictions and preferences, there's a wide variety of jerky to quell your meaty cravings. Turkey and beef are popular, but vegan jerky with kelp, seaweed, or mushrooms is gaining traction.

Beef jerky contains protein, iron, zinc, and other vitamins, and has a long enough shelf life to survive the Bermuda Triangle of your room.


Overnight oats

Share to Pinterestassortment of overnight oats
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There are dozens of overnight oats iterations, from carrot cake and choc chip cookie to pumpkin pie and PB&J. Try out the OG version called Bircher muesli first. Eating this low-GI snack is a great way to start or end the day. Toss in desiccated coconut, chopped dates, or berries for added flavor.



Share to Pinterestcorn flakes with milk in a bowl
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A winner for all ages, you can't go wrong with cereal. Douse your fav in your milk of choice, and you're good to go for another hour or so. Heat the milk in winter for a cozy snack, or keep it cool all year long.

Choose unsweetened cereals to limit your added sugar intake. Mindful sugar consumption can sharpen your cognitive skills and improve your self-control at a very dodgy stage of life.


Dried fruit

Share to Pinterestmix of dried fruits
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Who needs candy and Red Bull when you've got dried fruit? This stuff tastes fantastic alone or in trail mix and will give you a much-needed energy boost when you're slap bang in the middle of a slump.

Even without added sugar, keep in mind that dried fruit condenses the natural sugars (you'd never eat just one dried apricot, right?), so go easy on this one — a little handful goes a long way, and your teeth and tummy will thank you for your restraint.


Cheese toast

Share to Pinterestgrilled cheese spinach and tomato sandwich
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How dire are your straits? If you can't spare more than a minute, slap a slice of cheese on wholegrain bread and be on your way. If, however, you have five minutes, you can make an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomato.

Or make a cheesie by slathering a slice of toasted bread in mayo, sprinkling dried herbs on top, topping with cheese, and microwaving until the cheese melts. Amateur chef's kiss.


Yogurt bowls

Share to PinterestChocolate coconut granola with bananas and yogurt
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Yogurt bowls are the bomb dot com. They're not as intimidating as smoothie bowls, and are more filling than you might think.

Place a quarter cup of plain Greek yogurt in a bowl. Slice a banana and figs, add granola, nuts, sunflower or chia seeds, and agave nectar and you're all set.


Dried chickpeas or peas

Share to PinterestRoasted chickpeas in bowl

Race-winning thoroughbred horses eat chickpeas. Let that sink in for a second.

This legume is an underrated superfood, and if you're not a big hummus fan, you can consume your fair share by buying crunchy dried chickpeas. Some are coated in dark chocolate, which has its own share of antioxidants and health benefits. Protein snack sorted.



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