I am a planner. For real, I know it sounds odd, but I find peace in making lists and planning ahead. I get excited at the start of a new month because I get to fill out a blank new calendar. And when it comes to food, oh my, it gets serious. I may be eating breakfast, but I’m already planning on what I will be eating for lunch and dinner. It’s that bad.

On the bright side, planning ahead can save you so much time and stress. Through the years, I’ve learned that the more you take care of now, the less you have to worry about later. Meal prepping is a great example of it. If you’ve got your life together, but still find yourself hating the granola bar you put in your backpack every morning, snack prepping is exactly what you need. All you need to make these meal prep snacks is some set out time dedicated to meal prepping on a Sunday night and an endless supply of tupperwares and mason jars. 

1. Carrot Cake Energy Balls

Lissane Kafie

Balls of oats that taste (kinda) like carrot cake that you can easily carry around in your bag for when you get hungry or need an energy boost, sounds easy. Vegan, gluten-free, and no-bake, these carrot cake energy balls take no more than 15 minutes to make and can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. That means you have an easy-grab snack for the whole week ready to go. If you're not a big carrot cake fan, here are more options for you.

2. Pasta Salad On The Go

vegetable, pasta, pepper
Morgan Nielsen

If you’re as big as a pasta fan as I am, then you’ll have no problem making this pasta salad recipe on the go. Fill up mason jars with your pasta salad portions and keep them in the fridge for you to grab on your way out to class. These pasta salad mason jars could easily turn into a quick lunch or dinner fix for those days you literally have no time. 

And if you live in a dorm room, here's how you do the whole pasta thing because #dormlyfe. 

3. Homemade Trail Mix

oatmeal, cereal, sweet, milk
Hannah Berman

The fun thing about trail mix is you can add anything you want! You can’t go wrong with a basic trail mix with m&m’s, raisins, peanuts, and almonds, but get crazy with it and add banana chips, dried strawberries, you name it! Make a big batch and fill up Ziploc bags with portions that are easy to carry around and munch on. You know your roommates will appreciate it.

4. Overnight Oats aka Brownie

peanut, butter, oatmeal, chocolate
Alixandra Rutnik

I’m sure you’ve heard of the wonders of overnight oats and how they are legit lifesavers for those who tend to sleep in and skip breakfast. However, if you’re looking for a sweet fix in the middle of the day, your overnight oats can easily turn into a dessert, especially if the word “brownie” is in the recipe’s name.

5. Dried Fruit

pineapple, sweet, apple
Hailey Nelson

Nowadays, you can turn just about any fruit into a dried fruit. The perks of this is the longevity of it. Dried fruit lasts more than simply cut up fruit. My personal favorites are dried strawberries, dried mango, and dried pineapple. 

6. Quiche Cups

cake, quiche, sweet, cheese, pastry, muffin
Ellen Gibbs

Quiche cups are not necessarily only meant for breakfast. In fact, they serve as quick protein fixes, hot or cold, and can be filled with healthy toppings like tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. Make your own version of a quiche recipe; get creative with it!

7. Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Chickpeas

sweet, meat, pea, honey, cereal, garbanzo, nut, chickpeas, vegetable, legume
Kirby Barth

A healthier version of your favorite carnival nuts, this roasted cinnamon sugar chickpea recipes will treat your sweet tooth cravings as well as cut you some time looking for a snack. Store them in separate servings in a Ziploc bag and voilà! You've got a new member to your long list of meal prep snacks.

8. Homemade Granola

pumpkin seeds, granola, nut, cereal
Lauren Kaplan

I have recently become a big fan of homemade granola. I’d rather know exactly what I am putting into the food that I am eating instead of buying pre-packaged granola that is often filled with loads of sugar and fat. Get creative with your homemade granola and add it as a yogurt topping, eat it with your favorite plant-based milk, or munch on it on your way to class. 

9. Mason Jar Salads

pickle, salt, herb, oil, garlic, vinegar
Bernard Wen

The catch with mason jar salads is that you can’t put too many dry ingredients or too much dressing on them because they can get soggy and gross. However, if you do it right, make your mason jar salad the night before a day you know you’ll be needing it for extra freshness. Or, if you can, prepare it that same morning.

#SpoonTip: In a separate tupperware, carry around the dry ingredients such as croutons, nuts, dried fruit, etc. and add them in before eating it.

10. Homemade Tzatziki

Tzatziki is one of my favorite dips, forever. It’s fresh, quick, and simple. Plus, this recipe includes greek yogurt which adds protein to your snack. Pair the tzatziki with your choice of crackers or even pita bread, and there you go. This can definitely become your next favorite snack. 

11. Homemade Hummus

sweet, cream, hummus, vegetable
Paige Twombly

You can never go wrong with hummus. There are over 15 hummus recipes that are better than the store-bought versions that will revolutionize your snacking game. Prep one (or more) of these hummus recipes and take the whole thing with you, paired with some baby carrots, celery, pita bread, or crackers for an easy and totally worth it snack on the go.

I could go on and on about the importance of planning ahead, but I will let the experience of going back to school speak for itself. These simple and quick meal prep snacks can only make your life easier, one snack at a time.