Since it’s National Nutrition Month, I thought it would be a good idea to share some healthy snacking tips. Studying can be hard, and what we eat can influence how well we perform both physically and mentally. Many college students opt for snacks that are high in calories and full of additives, seasonings, and sugar, because it’s an instant reward; and let’s be real – junk food tastes like heaven, especially when we’re stressed and tired. So, here are some healthy and tasty snacks that you can reach for while you’re studying:
- Popcorn – In a 3 cup serving of air-popped popcorn there is 3 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber! This makes it a great source of fiber. Just make sure you don’t eat the highly salted and buttered version.
- Veggies – Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, and bell peppers can provide that crunch you’re looking for. Add in some peanut butter or your fav dip and you’ll have a healthy snack!
- Pita Chips – These can be made from scratch or bought, and are a healthier alternative to potato chips. However, make sure you read the label before grabbing them off the shelf. Opt for the baked, not fried, varieties, and seasoned, not salted. Watch the fat and sodium amounts!
- Salted Cucumber Slices – Sprinkle a pinch of salt over some freshly sliced cucumber, and you have yet another crunchy and delicious snack. With just 16 calories in a cup of cucumber, it makes a great low-calorie food!
- Almonds – They are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Again, read the nutrition label! Many brands add a lot of salt to nuts.
- Trail Mix – This is another great option! However, you must be careful, as many trail mixes add too much sugar in the form of chocolate or candy.
Here are some delicious dip ideas:
- Salsa – It’s a great way to add some extra veggies to the diet, and it packs a lot of flavor!
- Hummus – I know…you’ve heard this one before. It lives up to its reputation though! Made with chickpeas, it makes a great source of plant-based protein!
- Guacamole – A yummy way to add that ever-popular avocado to your diet.
- Greek Yogurt – Try this as a dip for fruits or veggies. If you’re having tacos, throw some plain Greek yogurt on top instead of sour cream to cut out extra fat and provide more protein. Plus, no saturated fat!
- Low-Fat Dressing – If you absolutely can’t live without your favorite dressing, go for the low-fat or low-cal versions. Read the nutrition labels! Many store-bought dressings add too much sugar and fat so they can make a sale. Don’t let them fool you!
So while you’re gearing up for an upcoming exam or finals week, take a second to analyze food before you buy it. It’s a good idea to look at what emotions you might be feeling when you’re browsing as well. Are you feeling stressed, upset, sad, angry, maybe even happy or excited? Take time to analyze your feelings to keep yourself from emotionally-influenced eating so you don’t end up feeling guilty later on when warmer weather arrives! You can do it!!!