Recently, I've been struggling to get food from my school's dining hall that is quick, healthy and full of protein. Yes, I could wait in the 20 minute line for that mediocre grilled chicken breast, but I don't have that kind of patience. As a result, I've been downing a couple of my favorite protein bars a day. As much as I truly love granola bars, sometimes I just want a snack made out of real food that I can eat with utensils.

Here are some of the essentials that I've started to have on hand for protein emergencies. (Ya know, when you need that protein fast after your workout because you're trying to get swol.) These items are either pre-prepared, or easy to whip up yourself with very few appliances, because #dormliving. Now you have no excuse to always meet your daily protein needs.

1. Greek Yogurt

chocolate, cream, milk, sweet
Taylor Treadway

Greek Yogurt comes in at the top of my list because you get so much bang for your buck with this food. You can eat it plain, mix it with honey, throw it in a smoothie, or top it with granola— talk about versatility!

This thick and creamy snack is usually only around 110-150 calories per serving, and is often a lot less expensive than some granola bars. Beware of buying yogurts that have lots of added sugar in them, though. A good rule of thumb is to make sure they have more protein than they do sugar! My favorites are Siggi's and Fage's 2% Plain Yogurt.

Protein Per Serving: 15-20g

Average Price Per Serving: $1.50

2. Hummus

Jamie Hegg

Hummus is my go-to when I'm feeling like having a savory snack. I usually eat hummus with carrots, meaning my carrot is merely a vessel for an enormous scoop of hummus. It's great to dip things in, or spread on sandwiches and wraps.

My favorite store-bought hummus is Blue Moose's Roasted Red Pepper, and when making it myself, I like my own curry hummus. Now, I know hummus doesn't have a ton of protein per serving, but who the heck only eats two tablespoons of hummus? Lather that stuff on and get maximum protein! 

Protein Per Serving: 4g 

Average Price Per Serving: $0.25-$.040

3. Eggs

Free stock photo of appetizer, avocado, bread

on Pexels

I'm really picky about my eggs. I like mine best in a frittata, quiche, or hash. Whichever way you like 'em, eggs are a cheap, low-calorie source of protein that go well with lots of foods. And yes, you can cook them in your dorm microwave.

Protein Per Serving: 6g per egg

Average Price Per Serving: $0.25

4. Protein Powder Chocolate Milk

choc milk web

USDAgov on Flickr

This is something I've been starting to drink a lot more frequently. As a kid, I never went a day without chocolate milk, and I'm starting to remember why. To add a little boost, and minimize the sugar in store-bought chocolate milk, I have been adding a scoop of chocolate protein powder to 1 cup of almond milk.

Of course, you can use whatever kind of milk you'd like. I highly recommend Aloha Protein Powder for this concoction. Their products are plant based, low in sugar, and high in protein.

Protein Per Serving: 10-12g

Average Price Per Serving: $0.50-$0.70

5. Roasted Turkey or Chicken

Palisades Turkey @ Palisades Deli Cafe

septillion on Flickr

Meat is the OG source of protein, so I obviously had to include it. My favorite "snack" meats are roasted turkey and chicken, both are lean and delicious. I usually just get thin slices at the deli counter, then throw a slice of avocado inside a slice of turkey and roll it up for a quick bite.

Another great combo is a large piece of lettuce rolled up with hummus, turkey, avocado, and goat cheese (three of my favorite protein sources rolled up into one).

Protein Per Serving: 7-9g per ounce

Average Price Per Serving: $0.30-$0.50

6. Edamame

pea, asparagus, salad, legume, vegetable
Kristine Mahan

Edamame is great because you can sprinkle it with a little bit of salt and eat it plain, or you can throw it into fried rice, salads, and more. I recommend buying it frozen and shelled so that you can heat it up in the microwave and have it ready to eat in a matter of seconds.

Protein Per Serving: 4g per 1/4 cup

Average Price Per Serving: $0.50-$1.00

7. Quinoa Salad

Close-up of Salad in Bowl · Free Stock Photo

on Pexels

Quinoa isn't going to be your number one option if you're trying to get loads of protein in each bite, however, as far as grains go, quinoa is your best bet for packing in the nutrients. Quinoa is easy to make, and goes with just about everything. Try making some quinoa granola or quinoa breakfast bowls if you feel like getting a little more creative than your basic quinoa salad.

Protein Per Serving: 5g per 1/4 cup

Average Price Per Serving: $0.50

8. Nut Mix

raisin, cranberry, almond, nut
Tiare Brown

Nut mix or trail mix is that snack that's always reliable and always satisfying. While you're not gonna get a lot of protein from eating the M&M's out of traditional trail mix, you definitely can customize your own for max #gainz.

Make your nut mix with mostly nuts (as the name implies) and add in a little bit of dried fruit or seeds for variety. (OK, and maybe add in some dark chocolate chips because chocolate is never really a bad idea.)

If you feel like buying a pre-prepared mix, Trader Joe's Omega Trek Mix and Whole Food's Cape Cod Mix are both good options!

Protein Per Serving: Varies. Usually 4-7g per 1/4 cup

Average Price Per Bag: $6.00

9. Chia Pudding

Kristine Mahan

I haven't seen chia pudding sold in stores much, so you'll have to make it yourself instead. No worries though, chia pudding is probably one of the easiest, most fool-proof things you can "cook." All you gotta do is mix chia seeds with some sort of milk and flavorings and let it sit there.

Chia pudding makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert. If you don't have much experience with chia seeds, I would still recommend following a recipe. Some of my favorites are chocolate chia pudding and peanut butter and jelly chia pudding

Protein Per Serving: 5g per 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (It could be more depending on what kind of milk you use in your pudding.)

Average Price Per Serving: $0.75-$1.00

10. Cheese

cheese platter

Andrea Goh on Flickr

When I say cheese, I'm sadly not talking about those beautiful grilled cheese videos with the drool-worthy cheese pull. I'm talking about fresh, plain slices or cubes of cheese... and not tons of it.

Cheese has a lot of great qualities, but it's also pretty high in calories and eating too much of it at once can definitely cause some unhappiness with your tummy. A great snack would be about 1/4 cup of a variety of cheeses with some fruit and veggies.

Protein Per Serving: 6-8g per 1/4 cup

Average Price Per Serving: $0.50-$0.80

Don't force yourself to eat that protein bar if you really don't want it. There are plenty of other ways to get loads of protein in your diet, and most of them are a lot less processed than bars are anyways. Get working out, get eating, and get ready to flex those muscles!