There’s girl dinner, boy dinner, kid lunch, husband meal, but have you heard of college snack? Probably not, because I just made it up. But trust me, even if you haven’t heard of college snack, you know it. It’s that crunchy little something-or-other you surreptitiously sneak in the middle of your biology lecture. At least until the crinkly wrapper catches everyone's attention and your notes end up highlighted with Cheetos dust.

College snack isn’t exactly the ideal dining experience, but for busy students, eating in class is basically unavoidable. Just take my word for it, grumbling stomachs and three-hour lectures do not mix well. But no one wants to be forever known as the loud chip cruncher. Luckily, you can make that inevitable in-class munching less *awkward* and more enjoyable by opting for subtle, mess-free foods and bevies. Here’s our roundup of the best surreptitious and tasty college snack options.


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

Nuts are a great brainfood and super easy to nibble on surreptitiously (just channel your inner squirrel). I’m partial to cashews for minimal crunch and crumbs, but most plain nuts are fairly easy to snack on without much ado. Just make sure your seatmate doesn’t have a nut allergy!

Trail Mix

Trail mix was literally designed to be nutritious, energizing, easy to store, and mess free, making it the ideal in class snack. It’s super easy to quietly sneak a handful or two, and you can stick it in a cute little container to avoid crinkly wrappers. Plus, it comes in hundreds of varieties so you’re sure to find one that suits your tastes. Trader Joe’s has some great options, and you can even make your own!

Fruits and Veggies

grape, pasture, berry, gooseberry, juice
Naib Mian

Fresh fruits and veggies are fab, but no one wants to awkwardly spit out cherry pits or drip peach pulp all over their notes. Instead, opt for bite size no-peel produce such as grapes, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes. Baby carrots and pre-sliced apples are also a great option, and you can even steam the carrots in advance to cut down on crunch. And of course, dried fruits and juices are perfect for a mess-free fruity boost.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are somewhat divisive. I’ll admit, they can take some getting used to. But they’re convenient, portable, and protein-packed, all great qualities for in-class munching. And that doesn’t necessarily come at the expense of taste, if you choose the right brand for your palate. Personally, I love Think bars because they’re not as sticky as some other brands. Plus they’re covered in chocolate, which is always a bonus. Soylent squares are also a great option for when you just need a few bites to tide you over.


Speaking of Soylent…Soylent. It’s not pizza, sure, but Soylent shakes are a great option for a more substantial snack on-the-go and a quick and tasty alternative to waiting in line to shell out $8 for a smoothie. They’re easy to subtly pull out in class, no can-cracking or noisy chewing required. Plus, Soylent’s plant-based high protein shakes boast an impressive 30g of protein and lack the artificial taste that can be a turnoff in other protein drinks.


Edamame gets its own category because it’s amazing. Full disclosure, I am 100% in my edamame era. You can get it plain, salted, or in fun flavors like sriracha and wasabi. Dry-roasted edamame is crumb-free, smell-free, relatively cheap, delicious, and protein-packed. You can eat it on its own or throw it in some trail mix for an extra protein punch.

String cheese

Whether you bite it or string it (I'm not taking sides, but it is called string cheese), cheese sticks are quiet, non-smelly, and pack a fresh flavor punch.


These soft flatbreads are crunch-free and easy to tear into sneakable bite size pieces. They're even better with hummus, cheese, or any kind of dip you'd like, but can also be eaten plain for a quiet and subtle snacking experience.

Peanut butter roll-up

My favorite elementary school lunch may sound strange to some: a tortilla filled with peanut butter and dried fruit. Don't knock it till you try it. It's like a PB & J without the breadcrumbs and sticky, squirty jam. Nowadays this is my college snack rather than my kid lunch, but it still tastes just as delicious.