So here you are. You have just begun your first year at college. It’s your freshman year, and you can’t decide whether you are excited or nervous... maybe both. Regardless, as a coping mechanism, you eat.

Here’s where that preconceived notion that you will gain 15 pounds comes into play. I mean why wouldn’t it? We, after 18 years, are finally free from our parents telling us what to eat and reprimanding us for things like eating dessert before dinner. On top of this newfound freedom, we each have our own limitless “credit cards” for food (our meal swipe cards) that never really seem to run out of money. We are free, and we can now make our own decisions regarding the type of food we will consume. But, why not use this freedom to make good decisions? Why not eat healthfully and nourish your body? Honestly, why let this freshman stereotype define you?

Truth being told, you don’t have to. I mean, I know I haven’t. During this past month at school, I have created and have eaten the most delicious and healthy snacks. Trust me, they. are. bomb. Below is a list of my top 10 favorite snacks that will both satisfy your cravings and steer you away from snacking on 15 pounds worth of junk food. It’s okay. You can thank me later.

1. Rice Cakes

Sarina Bialow

A rice cake is truly a platform for creativity. You can eat this crunchy snack as is, or channel your inner chef and add some healthy toppings. My all-time favorite rice cake creation is definitely some creamy peanut butter spread over the top and some sliced bananas with cinnamon and chia seeds sprinkled over. Lastly, I’ll drizzle on some honey for a finishing touch. Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fat, and with the addition of chia seeds, this snack will be sure to keep you feeling full.

2. Fruit

Fruit is essential in your diet as it keeps you feeling full, is packed with fiber, and is a great source of vitamins. The best thing about fruit, when it comes to snacking, is that you can eat it in many different forms. You can snack on it as is, eat it dehydrated or dried, and you can even add it to a smoothie! Anyone who knows me knows that smoothies are my favorite way to get in my fruit fixing. My go-to is my chocolate peanut butter banana protein smoothie and I swear to you, this beats any milkshake.

In this smoothie, I put:

-Frozen banana

-Whole peanut butter (meaning no added sugar, just peanuts) or PB2

-Small handful of spinach--I promise you will not taste it!

-Milk of your choice

-Peanut butter protein powder

-Vanilla protein powder

-Cacao nibs

Just throw all the ingredients in a blender, mix until smooth, and enjoy your delicious masterpiece!

3. Veggies

vegetable, pepper, onion
Gabby Quintana

Carrots, cucumbers, and peppers are just three of my favorite veggies, but you can snack on whatever veggies appeal most to you! Dipped in hummus or eaten plain, veggies are a great snack and are also so important in your diet. They provide energy, can help prevent disease, and are the perfect way to keep up good nutrition.

4. Protein Bars

Sarina Bialow

Besides their enormous protein punch, protein bars are arguably the most convenient snack to take on-the-go. A few of my favorite bars lately have been Rx bars, Larabars, Olly protein + slim boost bars, and Vega Plant Based Protein Bars. These are all made from real, all natural, whole ingredients and are friendly for many dietary restrictions.

5. Popcorn

Sarina Bialow

Popcorn is the ultimate cure to munchies. Whether you are having a chill movie night with friends or are studying for an exam, popcorn really hits the spot. Air popped popcorn only has 30 calories per cup and it helps boost metabolism while providing energy. My two favorites are “Simply Balanced” and "Good Health" popcorn. 

#SpoonTip: Swap out your butter for olive oil. Olive oil is an essential healthy fat, and seriously boosts the flavor of popcorn.

6. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt can be topped with granola or muesli and your favorite berries, or it can be enjoyed right out of the container. This snack is loaded with calcium, probiotics, and potassium— all of which contribute to a well balanced diet.  

7. Nuts

nut, meat, almond, walnut, apricot pits
Christin Urso

Nuts are a great way to get your protein in for the day. All you really need is a handful to fill you up and give you energy to help you power through your studies. My favorite nuts are almonds, but you could opt for some Macadamia nuts, walnuts, or cashews etc.

8. Oatmeal

blueberry, cereal, sweet, milk, yogurt, muesli, porridge, oatmeal, berry
Becky Hughes

Nothing beats snuggling up in your bed with a nice, warm bowl of oatmeal. Not only does oatmeal taste delicious and keep you feeling full, it has several health benefits for your body. Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and it contains beta-glucan which can actually help lower your cholesterol. It can best be enjoyed with some cinnamon, or maybe even some fresh fruit and honey.

#SpoonTip: When purchasing oatmeal, ensure that you pay attention to the ingredients, as oatmeal can go from healthy to unhealthy with any added sugar. 

9. The Notorious Avocado Toast

Sarina Bialow

Basic, I know. But how could this snack not make the list? It is not only insta-worthy, but is actually really good for you! See, the avocado is loaded with healthy fats that are essential in your diet. Plus, if you use a slice of whole grain bread as your base, you’ll get in your fiber too. So yes, this snack may be “basic", but its nutrients (and Instagram appeal of course) make it a great choice.

10. The "Treat Yourself" Snacks

Sometimes we all just need a little “pick me up” to boost our mood, and that is more than okay. Treating yourself, though, does not have to come with added calories. In fact, there are so many healthy snacks out there that will definitely satisfy your cravings. My favorites are Larabar bites, Dark chocolate (with at least 70% cacao), Simple Mills Crunchy Cookies, and “Yasso frozen yogurt bars.”