In college, it can feel like you are constantly busy. Between classes, activities, and work, it is easy to forget to dedicate time to taking care of yourself. One of the simplest things you can do to maintain your energy and mood is to keep healthy snacks on hand.
With such a busy schedule, it may seem easier to just eat bigger meals when you have time rather than have to plan for snacks as well. However, healthy snacks can help control your cravings, keep your energy from dipping, maintain a good mood, and help you focus during a long day. Good snack options include those high in protein, like cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, or nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For longer lasting energy, try combining protein with a source of carbohydrates. The mixture will keep you full and energized for more time!
The Planning Process
Before each week, take a look at your entire schedule and figure out when you think you might need a snack or a little extra energy. This will ensure that you will stock up on enough of your favorites snacks and will not need to run to the grocery store in the middle of the week. It also prevents you from heading straight to the vending machine every time you are hungry between classes since you will already have the perfect hunger solution in your backpack! While you are planning your snacks, make sure to be realistic. For example, do not buy bananas just because they are healthy if you do not like them! Make a list of the ingredients or items you will need to get through the week and head to the store.
The Preparation Process
Once you are home, prepare enough snacks for the next few days. If you take the time to peel oranges, cut bell peppers into slices, or hard-boil eggs ahead of time, you make it easier for yourself to grab a quick snack when you need it. Try dividing your snacks into individual portions and storing them in your refrigerator and pantry.
Executing Your Plan
Now that you have planned and prepared healthy snacks for yourself, all you have to do is eat them! Set a reminder on your phone or leave a Post-It on your fridge, or make a note in your planner to ensure that you remember to throw some snacks in your bag on the way out the door. For a little snacking extra credit, keep a running list of your favorite snacks taped to the inside of your pantry or cabinet so you’re never out of ideas!
As you can see, snacks can provide many benefits without tons of work. With a little forethought and some dedication, you can keep yourself happy, focused, and free of cravings throughout the day. Happy snacking!
Amy Lee is a junior at Missouri State University majoring in dietetics. She plans to become a registered dietitian specializing in pediatric nutrition with an emphasis on public health.
Photo Credit: FBM, Sammy Gitlin