Snacks are essential to the college experience: with busy schedules that have you sprinting across campus to get to classes on time and staying up late to study, snacks are the fuel needed to complement (or, sometimes replace) the standard three-meal-a-day system most sane people follow. Dorm snacks come in all shapes and sizes, but there's a secret ingredient that makes a satiating and scrumptious snack: fat.

No, that's not a typo: fat is an incredibly important dietary group and most Americans fail to get anywhere near the right amount of fat in their diets. The tides are turning, and more and more shoppers are ditching the no-fat and low-fat options the health-conscious used to worship and instead opting for full-fat options.

Fat comes in two forms: unsaturated fat and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are broken down further into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats boost heart health and raise good cholesterol while lowering the bad kind, while polyunsaturated fats also contribute to lowering bad cholesterol levels and provide the body with essential omega-3 acids that have been shown to boost brain function and kickstart the immune system. 

However, you should still tread lightly–saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels and put you at a higher risk of heart disease; although you can include these in your snacking to a certain extent, it's important to track your intake of these and not go overboard. Trans fats should definitely be avoided, as their synthetic nature wreaks havoc on cholesterol and increases bodily inflammation.

In my latest attempt to add a little healthy to my life, I have tried to limit my intake of carbohydrates and raise my consumption of fats and protein (if you're looking for a full-blown commitment to a diet like this, consider exploring a Keto diet, a new diet trend exploding in popularity in recent months). Nevertheless, there's no way I'm giving up my snacks–after scouring the shelves of CVS and placing a few Amazon orders, I have compiled a list of dorm snacks that are full of fat (mostly the good kind!) and great fuel to keep you up and running throughout the day.

1. Cheese Wedges

Blue Cheese

cookbookman17 on Flickr

Yes, cheese can be good for you! Cheese wedges are loaded with fat to keep you full and power you through the toughest of college days. You can enjoy the wedge on its own as a perfect on-the-go snack (look for pieces that come in an individual wrapper for perfect transportation!), or, if you want to pair it with a carb, spread it on some crackers or a piece of bread. You can't go wrong here.

2. Greek Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

wuestenigel on Flickr

Yogurt is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best snack food. It's packed with nutritional value and includes hearty portions of both protein and fat with relatively few carbohydrates and overall calories. When choosing a yogurt, try to look for lower sugar content (which may mean ditching fruity toppings or going without granola), and don't be afraid of fat. Many studies show that in addition to keeping you fuller longer, full-fat yogurt has a slew of additional health benefits like promoting healthy digestion and lowering your risk of diabetes.  With the plethora of yogurt brands available today, you're sure to find the perfect product full of the fat you need that make the perfect snack to keep in your mini-fridge. 

3. Almonds


HealthAliciousNess on Flickr

Go nuts for nuts! Many nuts are nutritional powerhouses, but almonds are my pick for their Vitamin E content in addition to the healthy fats and protein they pack in each serving. Plus, they are portable and easy to eat discretely during a lecture or during a study session in the library. For on-the-go snacking, try individual snack packs or a fun nut mix.

4. Dried Seaweed

Dried Sea Weed Sheet Macro February 21, 2013 2

stevendepolo on Flickr

I know, it might not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world, but dried seaweed is a king of the low-carb snack world. Plus, it includes a few grams of fat per each ultra-low calorie serving, in addition to being a stellar source of Vitamin A and C. Seaweed snacks are salty and crispy–although to me nothing can truly replicate the precious crunch of a potato chip, these come pretty darn close.

5. Dried Chickpeas

File:Castagne secche dried chestnut italy.JPG

Image from WikiCommons

I firmly believe that chickpeas don't get the love they deserve–where would we be without hummus? But, chickpeas themselves make a perfect snack because they are chock full of both fat and protein and contribute to helping maintain bone structure and strength. Dried chickpeas make the perfect dorm snack because they come in resealable or individual packs and it's so easy to pop a few in your mouth between meals. Plus, they come in fun flavors that are savory and sweet–try making chickpeas your new after-dinner treat!

As you can see, snacking doesn't have to be all carbs. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your quick foods and let them pack a nutritional punch at the same time.