Snacks for College Students
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20 Snacks for College Students that are Dorm-Friendly

Written by Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD on June 20, 2024

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Going to college is an exciting time of transition, but also a challenge in juggling new things. Between class schedules, social engagements, and homework, it’s important for students to prioritize nutrition. 


One simple way to do this is to ensure that you have a variety of balanced snacks readily available in your dorm room. Ideally, snacks should provide a dose of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs (fiber). These nutrients are important in supporting your mental focus, providing sustained energy, and benefitting your overall wellness. 


You’ll probably also want them to have a longer shelf life, in case you don’t have a mini fridge available or plan to keep some snack options in your backpack for easy grabbing during the week. 


We’ve rounded up 20 healthy snacks for college students to give you ideas. 

Easy Snacks for College Students


You’ve got enough on your plate as a student — don’t let coming up with snack ideas be an added stressor. Here are some of the easiest ideas for healthy college snacks you can gather up. 

1. Applesauce cups


These are a great college snack because they’re shelf-stable and don’t need to be refrigerated. Just remember to have some plastic spoons available, especially if you’re taking them out and about with you. Choose no-added-sugar applesauce for a healthier option. 

2. Instant noodles or ramen cups


When you’re in need of something a little heartier, noodle cups are where it’s at for college kids. All you need is a microwave. If you have some chopped veggies or tofu available, you could toss those in for extra nutrition. 

3. Individual cereal cups and milk boxes


Put these two foods together and you have yourself a satiating snack. For healthier options, choose low-sugar cereals (or granola) and either low-fat milk or high-protein dairy-free milk like soy milk. Grab a spoon and you’re good to go. 

4. Canned tuna or chicken


Canned tuna and chicken are inexpensive, high-protein snacks that also have a long shelf life. Alternatively, you could purchase tuna salad or chicken salad pouches. Have them with whole-grain crackers or a tortilla for a well-rounded snack. 


5. Energy balls 


These could either be purchased from the store or perhaps you (or your parent) makes them during a weekend visit home. These generally only last for a few days, so eat them accordingly, but they’re a versatile option for snacking on the go. 

Healthy Snacks for College Students


Snacks can run the gamut of being ultra-processed to uber-healthy. While there’s nothing wrong with having a variety of snack options, you’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck (including more steady blood sugar and energy levels) by focusing on more nutrient-dense options like these. 

6. Greek yogurt 


Greek yogurt is high in protein and you can often find them in individual cups for convenience. Just pop them in the fridge for when you’re ready to eat them. Toss in some flax seeds and berries or sliced bananas from the food hall for added nutrition. If you don’t eat dairy, swap this for a plant-based yogurt made from soy or peas for a similar protein content. 

7. Nut butter packets


When you’re a college student, sometimes it makes more sense to have individual packs of nut butter versus a whole jar. Having a selection of little nut butter packs on hand — like almond, cashew, or peanut — is an easy way to add healthy fats and protein anywhere. Eat them on their own or with a piece of fruit. If you need a nut-free option, try sunflower butter.

8. Fresh fruit


You really can’t go wrong with fresh fruit, as long as you don’t leave it in the bottom of your backpack and forget about it. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to go to the grocery store to get some. The food hall may allow you to take a piece of fruit or two with you. Apples, oranges, and bananas are generally good traveling fruits.

9. Carrot sticks and hummus


Hummus comes in individual packs, which is great alongside baby carrots or other sliced fresh veggies. Not a hummus fan? Opt for guacamole cups instead. 

10. String cheese or cheese sticks


Cheese must be refrigerated but this is a nice snack option for when you’re hanging out in your dorm room. Options like cheddar sticks, string cheese, or even certain non-dairy cheese stick options can be a good source of protein and calcium.

Store-Bought College Snacks


Most college students don’t have convenient access to a kitchen to prepare homemade snacks on campus. If this is you, it’s probably easier to focus on store-bought dorm snacks you can stock up on instead. 

11. Granola bars or protein bars


There’s no shortage of granola bars, so take your pick and choose one that’s high in protein and fiber but low in added sugar (some can be basically the same as a candy bar). Take these with you on your walk between classes or to the library to study.

12. Instant oatmeal packets


Oatmeal can be a filling and nutrient-dense breakfast or snack option, especially if you add in things like nuts, seeds, and fruit. Instant packets can be high in added sugar, so keep that in mind, but this is a great convenience item for those days when you need something prepped in less than five minutes.

13. Microwave popcorn


Microwave bags of popcorn can last for a long time, making these a nice snack to keep in your dorm room. Perhaps you want to pop a bag for a late-night study sesh or bring some pre-popped popcorn in a bag as you’re out and about on campus. 


If you're looking for a popcorn alternative, we've got plenty of other delicious and convenient options to satisfy your snack cravings.

14. Pretzels


Pretzel sticks are a simple salty snack you can enjoy either on their own or with a dip like hummus or peanut butter. Toss a little bag of pretzels in your bag to help curb afternoon hunger. 

15. Rice cakes


Rice cakes are crunchy and satisfying and can help take the edge off when you need a quick bite. Slather them with almond butter and seeds for a balanced snack.

Dorm Snacks for College Students


Keeping snacks in your dorm room is especially helpful for those extra-long study sessions or otherwise late nights when you need something after the food hall has closed. Consider some of these quick and easy ideas to have on hand. 

16. Trail mix 


There are no rules for trail mix, so you can either make your own with leftover ingredients or purchase a premade bag at the store. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it includes a variety of items like nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and even dark chocolate, for satiety. 

17. Veggie chips 


Buy a bulk bag of veggie chips to last you a while when you need something simple and crunchy. Throw a bag in your backpack or have it handy in your dorm room when you’re craving something savory. 

18. Chomps meat sticks


Chomps meat sticks each contain 10-12 grams of protein and only around 100 calories, making a perfect college snack option for students. Choose from a variety of flavors made from turkey, beef, or venison, or consider a variety pack. One of our favorite snack combos is an Italian Style Beef stick with some string cheese. 

19. Crackers and cheese


If you have a mini fridge, keep a block of cheese or a pack of cheese singles in there. Pair them with some whole-grain or sweet potato crackers for a satisfying snack any time of the day. 

20. Nut mix or mixed nuts


Nuts are full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you focused and prevent dips in blood sugar. For healthier versions, choose raw or roasted with no added salt or sugar. You could also toss them in a bag with some dark chocolate chips. 


Whatever college snacks you prefer, be sure to have a few options readily available often. You may need one when you least expect it and planning ahead in this way can help prevent last-minute hanger that disrupts your day.

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Original Beef
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Original Beef

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