Dorm cooking 101: Healthy snacking

One of my friends mentioned last week that she’d love to see me cover eating healthy in a dorm room.

Lacking ways to cook can certainly put a crimp on the hot meal front, but that isn’t the biggest problem most college students face when they want to eat healthy. Usually, students eat less healthy for snacks.

It’s far easier to pop open a bag of chips or a pack of Pop-Tarts than it is to make a healthy fruit salad. That doesn’t mean you can’t snack healthily.

Here are some easy-to-store, easy-to-make options to help with that.

Nuts: Whole or chopped and sprinkled onto yogurt, nuts are a great source of protein.

From Brazil nuts to walnuts, there’s a nut out there for everyone. Make sure to avoid nuts that have been smothered in chocolate, salt or a sugar glaze.

Yogurt: Avoid any with flavorings that would likely be artificial or that seem just outlandish.

There’s no such thing as “Boston Crème Pie juice,” so it makes one wonder how a yogurt manufacturer managed to flavor their product like it.

Fage and Chobani are great brands for natural flavor and healthiness.

Hummus: It’s easy to keep on hand (with pita chips) and guacamole is ridiculously easy to make; just mashan avocado up with a teaspoon of salsa and add a tiny bit of salt for taste.

Look for low-salt chips that are made from as little processed food as possible.

If you have access to an oven, you can even bake your own from pita bread or tortillas.

Oatmeal and granola: Both are fantastic hot breakfasts and can easily be spiced up with fresh fruit or spices.

They can also be made savory with an egg and a bit of chicken broth, plus salt and pepper.

Oatmeal is especially good this way and also provides a good source of fiber.

Fruit and vegetables: Both are good for something crunchy. Dried options also add a nice kick of flavor to yogurt or hot cereals if chopped up and stirred in.

Although it’s great to keep fresh produce on hand, if you find yourself not eating them before they go bad, dried options are the next best thing. Investing in a juicer can also aid in keeping fruits and veggies in your diet since it’s very easy to prepare a big bottle of juice that will keep two to three days.

There are many more options than these for healthy snacking, although I’ve found these are the easiest to get and take with you, as well as provide a great range of flavors without getting boring.

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