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Healthy Snack Options for Students Who Are on the Go

COLUMBUS, Miss. - Most college students will be on the go as Spring Break quickly approaches. An expert from Mississippi University for Women’s Culinary Arts Institute offers valuable tips to avoid packing on the pounds for individuals who are beach bound.

When it comes to eating healthy snacks and breakfast, there are plenty of options available for college students, according to Amanda Dahl, a registered and licensed dietitian at The W.

Dahl said, “Snacking is a good way to bridge the nutritional gap of foods groups you are lacking. Aim for 100-150 calories for a snack, ensuring that snacks contain both a carbohydrate and a protein.”

She added that carbohydrates provide a boost of energy while protein provides a feeling of fullness.

“Some healthy snack options for college students include an apple with peanut butter, string cheese and grapes, cottage cheese and peaches, Greek yogurt topped with fruit, hummus with raw veggies or a handful of almonds and a snack-sized box of raisins.”

Taking some time to plan snacks for the week is a great idea, Dahl advised. “This way, you will have a snack on hand when hunger strikes instead of running to the vending machine or drive-thru.”

Dahl also recommended preparing pre-portioned snacks in plastic containers or sandwich bags for easy grab and go during the week and to help with portion control.

Kimberly Heath, a senior culinary arts major, recently conducted a cooking demonstration as a part of her independent research project on quick, easy breakfast recipes for college students.

Heath has provided two simple and affordable breakfast recipes:

Quick Breakfast Sandwich

Whole wheat English muffin

Pepper jack cheese

Canadian bacon

Pull apart the English muffin. Stack on Canadian bacon(ham) and cheese. Wrap in paper towel. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Enjoy!

To make ahead: Wrap muffin tightly in plastic/freezer bag. Freeze. To heat for a quick breakfast, remove from plastic, wrap in paper towel. Microwave about 1-1/2 minutes.

*Other tried-and-true serving suggestions: black pepper, tomato slices, fried egg, replace Canadian bacon with sausage, cheddar cheese

Personalized Oatmeal

1/2 cup oats

Pinch of salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/2 teaspoon sweetener (brown sugar, honey)

A handful of your favorite stir-ins

Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, fresh fruits

Microwave Method: Pour oatmeal packet into a microwave safe bowl/mug enough for oatmeal to double in volume as it cooks. Add 3/4 cup cold water (or milk, if you prefer). Microwave on high, about 2 minutes. Microwaves may vary.

Hot Water Method: Pour oatmeal packet into any bowl or mug. Add 2/3 cup hot water and let stand about 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

For more ideas of flavor combinations, check out

“These are the recipes that could be made using only a refrigerator and a microwave, which is what most students at The W have access to,” said Heath. “These recipes are versatile and are easily substituted with other ingredients.”

Based on availability, preference or allergies, students may adapt the recipes to their liking, Heath said.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, nearly 60 percent of college students are ‘Food Insecure,’ i.e. they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The tips provided by Dahl and Heath make it possible for college students to have healthy and affordable food at the same time.

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