15 Healthy Substitutes For College Snacks

The last thing anyone wants to worry about, on top of keeping up with classes and pooling together enough money for Uber on the weekends, is the big bad Freshman 15. As hard as it is to resist that midnight pizza or the donuts in the dining hall, it is a lot easier than you may think to make little changes to common snacks that can make all the difference. Here are 15 tasty, healthy options to replace those not-so-healthy ones!

1. Replace Microwavable Buttered Popcorn with BOOMCHICKAPOP or Buddha Bowl

Popcorn can be a really great snack if you do it right. BOOMCHICKAPOP Sea Salt Popcorn is low on calories and has only three ingredients: popcorn, sunflower oil, and salt. If you want to feel fancy, try Buddha Bowl’s “Himalayan Pink” popcorn with coconut oil. The subtle coconut aftertaste is the hint of sweet you never knew you were missing. If you’re looking to spice up movie night, mix together regular popcorn with a little bit of kettle corn for the perfect sweet and salty dessert!


2. Replace Yogurt Parfaits with Plain Greek Yogurt, Granola, and Fresh Fruit

Yogurt can be such an amazing snack. It is packed with probiotics and can be great after a workout because it is big on protein. However, a lot of dining hall yogurt and pre-made yogurt parfaits tend to have a lot of added sugar. Instead, buy plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. You can add in fresh fruit, low-sugar granola, and chia seeds for added nutrition. You’ll be more more full and satisfied than you would be after a sugar-stuffed parfait.

A little summer, a little fall. 🍓🍎#creationaday #breakfast #coconut #berries #apple

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3. Replace Potato Chips with Chickpea Chips

Chickpea chips are a great alternative when you’re craving something salty. They have more protein and fiber than you would find in your typical chip. As an added tip, try to only buy these snacks in individual packs so that you don’t get to the bottom of a big bag in one sitting and wonder how you managed to eat 10 serving sizes without even realizing.


4. Replace Veggies and Ranch with Veggies and Hummus

Tangy ranch on crunchy raw veggies isn’t the worst choice, but hummus is an even healthier alternative that is much more filling and high in protein. It is a great dip for a variety of vegetables as well as pretzels, and can also make a tasty spread on a wrap.

Signs of Spring: Lemon Twist Hummus on everything. 🍋🌿

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5. Replace Pre-Made Trail Mix with Nuts and Fruit

Nuts are a great snack food because they are super filling. Skip the sugary, salty choice of pre-combined trail mix. Many are loaded with more dried cranberries and M&Ms than with the actual good stuff. Buy almonds, cashews, and other nuts and pair them with grapes, raisins, or blueberries to avoid unnecessary sugars. This way, you can build a mix with a more acceptable fruit-to-nut ratio.

Make your morning snack better.

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6. Replace Ice Cream with Halo Top

Portion control when it comes to the little pint of ice cream in the dorm mini-freezer is tough. Halo Top is a low calorie, high protein choice that tastes surprisingly amazing considering its healthier ingredients. Still stick with the serving size as closely as you can to avoid a sugar overload, but this takes some guilt out of the equation when it is an eat-out-of-the-pint kind of night.


7. Replace Peanut Butter and Jelly on White Bread with Fruit and Nut Butters

Bananas and apples are both delicious when paired up with any nut butter. Taking the bread and jelly (which is often sweetened) out of the equation makes this a great alternative without sacrificing yumminess.


8. Replace Candy with Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Covered Nuts

This one is also self-explanatory. Dark chocolate has great antioxidants and chocolate covered nuts won’t only satisfy your sweet tooth, but will also settle any lingering post-meal hunger.

Our favorite ingredient, beautifully styled by @evakosmasflores⠀

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9. Replace Cheese Puffs and Doritos with Dehydrated Snap Pea Chips

Anything that leaves your fingers orange is very tempting. Snap pea chips are simply dehydrated snap peas with some oil and salt. They have a similar texture to cheese puffs (without the crazy food coloring), which make them a great substitute.

The late night snack that won’t leave you feeling guilty. 📷: @peachestopearls

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10. Replace Microwavable Mac & Cheese with Microwavable Rice or Quinoa

Jasmine rice, forbidden rice, and brown rice are all better choices than mac and cheese, and they sell them in microwavable packages! Same goes with quinoa. Throw on a little soy sauce or any other toppings you have to add a little extra flavor.


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11. Replace Sweetened Coffee Drinks with Coffee and Cinnamon, Tea and Honey, or Coconut Water

It is never a good call to drink your calories. Try unsweetened coffee with cinnamon next time you are tempted to order a pumpkin spice latte or a Frappuccino. Tea and honey is also a great option, and if you are really craving something sweet, coconut water is insanely hydrating.

Little moments with my sister, @leleloveleigh ☕️✨ Plus, extra cinnamon in our soy lattes..

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12. Replace Sugary Cereal with Unsweetened Oatmeal

Eight bowls deep into a Lucky Charms breakfast and still not full? If you add a little bit of cinnamon and banana into unsweetened oatmeal, it can be a tasty breakfast that will satisfy you in one serving.


13. Replace Pop Tarts with Granola Bars

If you’re craving something a little sweet in the morning that will also give you a kick of energy, opt for a granola bar. Find the ones with good ingredients that aren’t too heavy on sugar. They come in a million different flavors (just like Pop Tarts!), but will hold you over much longer.


14. Replace a Slushie with a Smoothie

Another substitution that speaks for itself. Smoothies offer infinitely more nutrition (because slushies offer none), and you can decide just how healthy you would like to go depending on what you throw in the blender!


15. Replace Chinese Takeout with Sushi Takeout

Avoid lo mein noodles and fried rice. Instead, go with sushi. The more simple the sushi, typically the healthier it is. You can make it even healthier if the option for brown or multigrain rice is offered as an alternative to white rice.

most aesthetically pleasing thing you’ll see all day 😍

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15 Healthy Substitutes for College Snacks

Do you know of any other healthy snack options? Share below!

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Comments, Questions & Rants

Hanna Lankler

Freshman at the University of Richmond