1. Nonfat Greek Yogurt:
Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium and beneficial bacteria (to help your gastrointestinal tract stay healthy). Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, which may help you stay fuller longer. This is a great study snack when you are up late or an easy food to eat as you rush out the door for your first class.
2. Healthy Convenience Meal:
It is well known that cooking at home is the healthiest way to eat, but let's be honest and acknowledge that as a busy college student you will need to reach for a convenience food every now and then. When you are looking for a healthy microwave meal, reach for something whole grain with vegetables. Try Barilla Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara, with 11 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. Look for Amy's frozen meals featuring brown rice and vegetables. Many of these are vegan or vegetarian.
3. Instant Oatmeal:
Oatmeal is a very nutritious whole grain that you can eat for breakfast or as a snack. You don't really even need a microwave. If you have an inexpensive kettle, just add very hot or boiling water to the instant oats. Plain instant oats are the most nutritious and you can add your own toppings (nuts, bananas, apples)...but there are some great flavored packets of instant oatmeal. Try Dr. McDougall's Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Light with a low 6 grams of sugar per packet!
4. Whole Eggs:
Eggs contain some of the best protein you can get and can help create a really nutritious meal. Did you know you can microwave an egg? Simply spray a small microwaveable bowl with cooking spray, crack an egg into the bowl, break the yolk with a fork, and microwave for 1-2 minutes on high until it is no longer runny. Grab a whole grain tortilla and you have a breakfast taco!
5. Skim Milk:
Adults should eat 3 servings of dairy daily in order to meet their calcium needs. Skim milk can be used to make instant oatmeal in the morning, a smoothie for a snack in the afternoon, and as a beverage while you study the evening away. Drinking skim milk will help keep your saturated fat intake at a minimum...which will be good for your heart!
6. Fresh Fruit:
A whole piece of fruit is one of the best snacks you can grab. The natural sugars will give you energy while the fiber will help you stay satisfied. Reach for whole fruit over fruit juice any day. You can also create a delicious smoothie with fruit, yogurt, and skim milk - three of our top 10 dorm foods!
7. Whole Grain Cereal:
You may be surprised, but lots of college students don't make it to the dining hall for breakfast. Keep a whole grain cereal (like Grape Nuts) on hand for a quick breakfast. Whole grain cereal will also be a more nutritious choice than chips or candy for a midnight snack. When you read the ingredient list, make sure the first ingredient is a whole grain.
8. Microwave Popcorn:
Microwave popcorn is a whole grain! Whole corn kernels is the first ingredient, thus making microwave popcorn a great snack to keep handy. When available, choose a low fat popcorn to minimize unwanted calories. One serving is more than 2 cups and contains only 120 calories and 4 grams of fiber.
9. Tomato or Vegetable Soup:
Keeping in mind that soup is high in sodium, a cup of soup every now and then is a good salty snack or can accompany a sandwich for a quick meal. Look for lower sodium soups when you shop and enjoy it with a slice of whole grain bread.
10. Healthy Granola Bar:
Many granola or "specialty" bars are high in sugar and saturated fat. Read the food labels and compare brands to help you choose a lower amount of saturated fat, sugar, and a higher amount of protein and fiber. For specialty bars try a plain old Cliff Bar, Larabar or Larabar Uber. For a run-of-the-mill bar try the crunchy Nature Valley Granola Bars. If you look at the ingredient list on these bars, you will see it to be relatively short with a small number of additives.