Imagine this: it's your average weekday on campus. You're running from a chem lecture at 8:30 to a computer science lecture at 10, followed by a "short meeting in the library" (which, of course, turns into a three-hour session work session with your project partners), a club meeting, another class, and maybe another couple hours doing work before turning in for the night. What's missing, besides a chance to breathe? 

Food! Like it or not, we need it to survive. The combination of protein, fats, and carbs helps our bodies power through the day. If we don't eat at regular intervals, our bodies let us know they're unsatisfied with feelings of grogginess, digestive distress, moodiness, and just plain irritability. 

Healthy snacks are one of the many ways we can help our bodies thrive in the stressful climate of college. If you can't make it to the dining hall in between classes, having something in your backpack makes a world of difference. Here are some of my favorite macro-balanced snack ideas that don't require preparation or a refrigerator! 

Single Serving Nuts or Trail Mix Packs

Our brain uses fats to communicate messages to other neurotransmitters. They also keep us satiated for long periods of time, meaning that you won't have a constant need to eat and eat. Nuts like almonds are full of fiber, carbs, protein, and fat that provide almost immediate benefits to your body. They can also improve your skin, hair, and overall mood. 

I like to keep a small container of almonds in my backpack at all times. Fourteen almonds (100 calories) have nearly 6g of protein, so you can have a couple and save the rest for later. If you want something more exciting, you can try to make your own trail mix with your favorite combinations of nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and chocolate. One way to save yourself some money on the ingredients are buying in bulk from a warehouse store (e.g., Costco) and parceling it out into containers. 

Baked Chickpeas

Chickpeas are truly a superfood! They contain tons of healthy proteins and fiber that will keep you full for a long time. While there are several brands that market pre-made snacks (like Biena and Saffron Road), I've found that the healthiest options are the ones you make on your own. Here is a recipe for baked chickpeas that you can season with whatever spices you love! 

Protein Bars 

Protein bars are easily my favorite go-to snack, especially when full meals just aren't an option. You can drop one in your bag on the way to class and pull it out when you need it. They're also shelf-stable, meaning that you can keep them in your dorm for long periods of time without worrying if they're going to go bad or not. 

I have a couple favorite vegan protein bar brands including ONE Plant, Bobo's, and SKOUT Organics. Their products are vegan (Bobo's does contain honey) and all less than 300 calories each. In general, I try to shoot for protein bars that are between 9g and 12g of protein each per serving. Non-vegan whey bars can get up to 20g of protein or more, so these might be a better option if you need an extra protein boost and would consider eating dairy byproducts. 

Protein Cookies

If you're feeling in the mood to bake, you can make protein cookies using simple ingredients in your pantry like oats, chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruit. You can try different variations like these probiotic chai protein cookies or basic four-ingredient protein cookies. 

A prepackaged option are Lenny & Larry's protein cookies. Each cookie has 16g of vegan protein, but also more than 400 calories. If you're looking for a healthier switch for a cookie you would find at a bakery, these would be a great option! They're sweet, flavorful, and more nutritionally-balanced than other cookies. But if you're concerned about your calorie intake, make sure to enjoy these in moderation. 

Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter 

Not everyone likes rice cakes, but I personally think they're a super quick and easy snack! They also make you feel less bad about scooping massive amounts of peanut butter from a jar and just eating it off a spoon (which works too- don't get me wrong). If you have a peanut allergy, you can also try some of Kween Co.'s granola-butter; it's free of the fourteen major allergens and is super decadent.

If you want to make a grab-and-go, simply put a couple tablespoons of your favorite spread into a tiny Mason jar or Tupperware! You can also pair & dip with your favorite fruit. 

Beanfields Vegan Cracklings

If you're vegan, gluten-free, and in the mood for something crunchy, you'll love Beanfields snacks! Their vegan crackling snacks are made from bean flour and seasoned in fun flavors like Ranch, Korean BBQ, Aged White Cheddar, Spicy Nacho, and Chile Limon. Each serving comes with 4g of protein and 3g of fiber to keep you moving all day long. 

Protein Granola 

Like nuts and trail mix, granola packs a powerful caloric punch in a small handful. Many granola brands are loaded with sugar and contain mostly oats; if you want to eat granola as a boosting snack, you should eat a variety that is high in fat and healthy proteins. Look for brands that contain hemp seeds, coconut, nuts, and seeds. 

Our resident granola aficionados Sara and Meaghan reviewed popular granola brands in this article; check it out!