You may have noticed that you feel hungry a lot, feel the need to snack on something while studying, or even eat something quick before your commute to campus. Snacks on the go are a great way to satisfy that hunger and get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Between school, homework, sports, your after-school job, and hanging out with friends, it may feel like there’s no time for healthy eating. When you do stop to eat, it is probably tempting to go the quick and easy route by grabbing a pizza, potato chips, or candy.

But it is possible to treat yourself to a healthy snack. In fact, if you have a hectic schedule, it’s even more important to eat healthy foods that give you the fuel you need to keep going. What’s the answer? Healthy snacks. Snacking on nutritious food can keep your energy level high and your mind alert without taking up a lot of your time. The Off Campus Mavericks’ Snack of the Day offers ideas on snacks to make, the opportunity for YOU to make healthy snack suggestions to other Mavericks, and to visit the Off Campus Mavericks Center during our Sample the Snack of the Day event.

Smart On the Go Snacking Strategies

Make healthy snacking part of your everyday on the go routine:

Prepare healthy snacks in advance. Make your own granola or trail mix! When you make something yourself, you get to control the ingredients and put in what’s good for YOU! You also can keep plenty of fresh fruit and veggies at home to take on the go. Cut up melons or vegetables like celery and carrots in advance. Keep the servings in bags in the fridge, ready to grab and go before your commute or walking out of your dorm to get to class.

Keep healthy snacks with you. Make it a habit to stash some fruit, whole-grain crackers, or baby carrots in your purse or workout bag so you always have some healthy food nearby. Half a cheese sandwich also makes a great snack to have on standby.

Satisfy cravings with healthier approaches. If you’re crazy for chocolate, try a hot chocolate drink instead of a chocolate bar. An 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate has only 140 calories and 3 grams of fat. A chocolate bar, on the other hand, has 230 calories and 13 grams of fat (Nemours Smart Snacking, 2009). Substitute nonfat frozen yogurt or sorbet for ice cream. Snack on baked tortilla chips instead of regular corn chips and pair them with salsa instead of sour cream. Or satisfy salt cravings with pretzels instead of chips.

Don’t slip up after dinner! Evenings can be a tempting time to indulge in sugary, fatty snacks. If you’re really feeling hungry, don’t ignore it. Instead, pick the right snacks to fill the hunger gap. Whole-wheat fig bars, rice cakes, or air-popped popcorn can do the trick, as can fruit paired with cheese or yogurt.

Judging Whether Snacks Are Healthy

You need to pay attention to what you eat. To keep energy levels going and to avoid weight gain, steer clear of foods with lots of simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars or soda. Look for foods that contain complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and cereals and combine them with protein-rich snacks such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese.