Quick, Easy, and Healthy Snacks for College Students

woman eating

While the “Freshman 15” has been debunked as a myth, first-year college students do gain more weight than others their age. The gain has more to do with a lifestyle change than with notoriously questionable dormitory food, which means that online freshmen are not immune from putting on a few pounds.

Working adult students can also fall victim if adding college classes to a jam-packed schedule means putting off or ceasing regular exercise. Further, online learning means more computer time, and studies have shown a correlation between absent-minded eating while at the computer and overeating later in the day.

The easiest way to avoid those problems is to stock your pantry with healthy food instead of junk. It’s much easier to walk away from the chips in the store than it is to resist opening a bag waiting for you in the kitchen.

Keep healthy snacks on hand and try not to nosh at your desk. Getting up and stretching your legs for a few minutes will do your body and mind far more good than that cupcake you were eyeing. That being said, sometimes you need something extra to push through a tough assignment. With that in mind, here are some snacking suggestions to keep you going:


Tuna is cheap, low-fat (make sure it’s packed in water), and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are proven to optimize brain function. Eat it plain or mix it with light mayonnaise or plain yogurt. Spices such as garlic and dill give it a flavor boost.


Scientists discovered that the choline found in the yolk can sharpen memory. A scrambled egg is a quick and easy snack or boil several eggs at once and keep them on hand in the fridge.

Whole grains

Want to turn that tuna salad or egg into a sandwich? Use whole-grain bread for an additional nutritional boost. Make sure to shop smart, as whole wheat bread is not necessarily whole grain. Check the ingredient label and make sure it reads “whole grain flour.”


If you absolutely must eat at your desk, nuts are great to keep on hand. Though high in calories, they’re also high in protein and anti-oxidant rich Vitamin E, as are pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Peanut butter makes another great topping for that whole-grain bread you just bought, but try to avoid overly sugary brands.


Sooth your sweet tooth with a handful of berries. Blueberries and strawberries are can’t-miss entries on any super foods list, and so are trendier treats like acai berries. Combine dried berries with nuts for a quick and healthy homemade trail mix to keep on hand for late-night bouts of the munchies.

It isn’t always easy for college students to eat healthy. Keeping a stock of protein-, nutrient- and fiber-rich foods on hand, though, can help.


Written by Ashford University staff.

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