As a busy student, it can seem impossible to avoid plastic packaging while eating on the go. We live in a time of convenience when our needs can be instantly gratified, with little care for the consequences. Yet, with the rise of zero-waste bloggers such as Bea Johnson, we are being asked to reassess our consumer habits. We’re beginning to learn that bottled water is a massive scam and that reusable coffee cups are much more stylish. But how can we take a zero-waste approach to snacks, especially when cravings hit us when we least expect it?

1) Loose fruit

Heema Gokani

Fruits are some of the most convenient and easily portable snacks out there — not to mention the healthiest. Many fruits can be purchased loose or in plastic-free packaging. Buying whole fruit is not only more nutritious, but more economical, and provides a well-needed energy boost for tiring afternoons. Try to avoid fruits with labelled stickers, and check out the furoshiki method for wrapping snacks.

2) Homemade chips

Rebecca Salter

Most supermarkets sell loose potatoes in the produce aisle, and they make for an easy and comforting snack when sliced and baked. They can be quickly reheated in the microwave and enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon or homemade tomato sauce. While it requires some prep, it can be easily stored and taken on the go for 3-5 days.

3) Vegetable slices

Rebecca Salter

Vegetable slices are colourful, cute, and satisfyingly crunchy. Preparing your veggies from scratch is worth the extra minutes and gives you total control (and creativity) over the vegetables you use. Loose carrots, celery, and bell peppers (technically a fruit!) can be julienned ahead of time and packed in a small container. They can be paired with homemade hummus or a dressing of your choice for extra flavour. You can even experiment with courgette rolls for something more adventurous.

4) Homemade spread

Rebecca Salter

Freshly-made spreads are great for sandwiches and are also an easy way of sneaking in some of your five-a-day. Jamie Oliver has an amazing aubergine dip recipe which pairs beautifully with fresh bread. Aubergines are one of the most accessible loose products to buy in-store and while the spread requires some preparation, one batch can last you the whole week. Pro tip: try growing your own fresh herbs to save money, avoid food waste, and add extra punch to your dips.

5) Healthy fats

Rebecca Salter

Fruits and vegetables are some of the best energy-boosters out there, but sometimes they don't cut it alone. For a more filling bite to eat, bring along a selection of nuts or seeds. Bulk bins with loose nuts are becoming more widely available throughout the UK - from Whole Foods to Lidl - and healthy fats such as almonds can be enjoyed alone or blended into a butter. Couple with bread, apples, or take it a step further with ants on a log.

6) Baked goods

Rebecca Salter

Because, sometimes, only a giant cookie with do. Many of us feel the need to indulge every once in a while, and although there is no shortage of baking recipes out there, an abundance of loose baked goods can also be purchased in most supermarkets. Try bringing your own container to collect a croissant, muffin, cookie, or bun. This is a great idea if you're in a rush and especially if you want to indulge without accumulating wrappers. It also debunks the stereotype that zero-waste snacks mean 'the only loose fruits you can find', and proves that you can still find variety while exercising conscious consumer choices.

Whether you're new to zero-waste or are fully-dedicated to the cause, these ideas are budget-friendly, accessible, and hassle-free. They allow you to make an informed decision when purchasing products without compromising precious time and money. Give any of these a try for an eco-friendly upgrade to your everyday snacks!