Looking back at how the Freshman 15 was SO real for me, I think the best ways to have avoided it were to eat proper meals, so as a result, I wouldn't be finding high-calorie and high-fat foods to snack on throughout the day.  Not too long after I was off the dining hall meal plan, I discovered Trader Joes.  I fell in love with their concepts, their products, their friendly sales assistants, and most importantly, how it improved my lifestyle by providing me with their healthy and delicious options.  To name a few of them, I would like to share with you these 10 Trader Joes dorm snacks to get you through school!

1. Vegan Cashew Yogurt

Jenny Tarin

I find dairy to be quite bloating and heavy, which is why I typically gravitate towards the selection of dairy-free yogurts offered by Trader Joes.  

These have to be my favorite Trader Joes Yogurts- cashew milk and coconut milk.  In addition to being dairy-free, they also contain several dairy-free probiotics.  They are also naturally flavored (and trust me, they do taste like legitimate vanilla ice cream and apple-cinnamon donuts when you get the cravings).  

Trader Joes' Vegan Cashew Yogurt contains 140 calories, 6 grams of fat and 11 grams of added sugar.  This is much lower than compared to other dairy-free yogurts that are typically high in calories, fat and sugar.  The texture of this yogurt is super creamy, due to the cashews and coconut cream (it does not contain a coconut flavor at all though!).  Vanilla is my favorite flavor (although other flavors are constantly being introduced), and you can really taste the organic vanilla beans which is what enhances the naturally sweet vanilla flavor (same goes for other flavors which are also naturally sweetened). 

2. Cultured Coconut Milk

Jenny Tarin
Jenny Tarin

As a native of Thailand, I am a BIG lover of all things coconut. Trader Joes is constantly launching new flavors (especially seasonal!).  In the fall they launched Apple Cinnamon, and around Christmas they launched the Egg Nog! I was HYPED. These literally substituted all my sweet tooth cravings in the fall and winter time. 

The name mentions it is actually NOT Yogurt, because it is indeed made with coconut 'milk'! These yogurts contain dairy-free probiotics and are naturally sweetened with ingredients. The texture is super light and fluffy... just like pudding!

3. Organic Fruit & Seed Granola

Jenny Tarin

I used to love snacking on bags of sweet, oat-based granola, which would make me feel sick afterwards because of all the artificial flavors and sugars added.  Among the plethora of delicious granola offered in Trader Joes, this one caught my attention because of how it said: grain-free, gluten-free and vegan on the packaging. 

The ingredients in this bag of Fruit & Seed Granola are amazing. A delicious mixture of sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, flaxseed, chia seed, and hempseed clusters.  I included it right below the yogurts too because that combination makes the perfect non-guilty snack! 

4. Vanilla Overnight Oats 

Jenny Tarin

This relatively new Trader Joe's product contains 5 of my favorite things: unsweetened almond milk, rolled oats, dates, vanilla extract and sea salt.  It's also gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan! In addition, it contains a high amount of fiber and protein to get you through a busy day. 

The texture of these oats was super creamy, soft and perfectly sweetened naturally with dates and vanilla.  I wish I had discovered the concept of overnight oats in my freshman year, as opposed to eating the flavored instant oatmeal packages for breakfast which are totally filled with sugars.  Although next time I do buy this, I would like to try adding a few toppings - perhaps dates, sunflower seed butter, and fruit. Yum!

5. Enjoy Life Chocolate Protein Bites 

Jenny Tarin

The snack aisle at Trader Joes with their variety of protein bars is certainly very tempting, but I wanted to try an alternative to the traditional protein bar.  My eye immediately caught these Chocolate Protein BITES, especially because they contained my favorite nut butter - sunflower seed butter! 

These four truffle-sized bites contain a shell of rich, dairy-free chocolate filled with sunflower seed butter.  Each serving is packed with 6 grams of vegan protein, which will definitely be enough to get you through a long class. The bites are nice and chewy, due to the perfect combination of decadent chocolate and creamy sunflower seed butter.

6. Organic Coconut Smoothie

Jenny Tarin

As I mentioned being a lover of all things coconut earlier, this product was not to disappoint either.  I guarantee you, this tastes just like a fresh coconut smoothie from the tropics of Thailand- super refreshing and cool.  I also love how it's packaged in this cute little bottle! 

I believe this product is relatively new at Trader Joes, so it is definitely worth checking out (recommend especially after a workout!). It's only 100 calories as well, and you can definitely taste that it is very natural as opposed to a majority of bottled smoothies which can contain more than twice the amount of calories in this bottle.  

7. La COLOMBE Peppermint Mocha Draft Latte (Seasonal)

Jenny Tarin

I remember passing an advertisement for the Starbucks Christmas Drinks and getting cravings for a caffeinated holiday drink.  But was it worth a cheat day for the calories and sugars in one drink?  I then passed this at Trader Joes and boy, did it PERFECTLY satisfy my cravings so much that I had to go buy more to stock up (thanks cravings).  It didn't help that Peppermint Mocha was my favorite holiday drink of them all!

This Draft Latte consists of perfectly frothed milk, strong cold-brew, real cocoa, and peppermint extract.  It's basically a super refreshing version of the Peppermint Mocha holiday classic, except for how you don't have to feel guilty because of how it contains no artificial ingredients, a quarter of the sugar (and therefore, calories) amongst its competitors, and is both lactose and gluten-free.  Lastly, it sure woke me up for Christmas shopping because of the 170 mg of natural caffeine in it!  Something to look forward to during the holiday seasons. 

8. Sunflower Seed Butter

Jenny Tarin

Among the amazing variety of nut butter/nut-butter alternatives offered at Trader Joes, the sunflower seed butter (this one and the unsweetened one) will always hold a place in my heart because of its' unique taste!  Even if you're not familiar with the taste of sunflower seeds, this is a great alternative if you want to try something new to your typical nut butter (or if you're looking for something peanut, soy, tree nut, gluten and dairy free). 

This sunflower seed butter has an extremely strong taste to it, however, it also has a slightly sweetened flavoring.  It has a nice and smooth texture, so it spreads easily like warm butter. I personally love a few spoonfuls with fruit (bananas & cinnamon especially) and it blends perfectly with smoothies/protein shakes! 

9. Dark Chocolate Caramel Wedges 

Jenny Tarin

I know I've been talking a lot about health benefits, but this cute little container contains tiny rich dark chocolate wedges filled with a dollop of soft caramel. YUM. I know chocolate cravings are real, so just help yourself one serving size (2 pieces) as it is only 60 calories... that is, if you can, because this is legitimately the best dark chocolate ever.

Trader Joes' 70% dark cacao is not too sweet, and has a perfect contrast between the firm chocolate shell and the oozing, melting caramel inside.  It is so heavenly and satisfying... even if you have just one small wedge to satisfy your cravings!  Also, any combination of dark chocolate and caramel at Trader Joes is absolute perfection - I like my dark chocolate at 70%! 

10. Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Jenny Tarin

This small tin contains 2 layers of rich dark chocolate wedges, each of which contains just a dollop of soft caramel. The result is heavenly perfection - not too sweet, lovely contrasting textures of the firm chocolate and melting caramel, and is totally satisfying. And that is what perhaps sets this chocolate aside from all others - eating just one small wedge is totally satisfying. There is no craving to continue on. OK, maybe if you want to indulge, a second one might be in order, but you won't binge on this chocolate - you'll savor.

Wow what a surprise, right? I just mentioned my love for sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate above... so what could be more perfect than these Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups? After a little throwback to indulging on Reese's peanut butter cups as a child, I had to get these - because it's all about balance and moderation right?

Just like Reese's PB cups, this rich dark chocolate cup is filled with a thick layer of sunflower seed butter. These cups are also free from gluten, dairy, soy, and tree nuts. This perfect combination of sweetness, saltiness and creaminess is the main key to your heart (and stomach), because after all, you deserve them.  College can be rough, go treat yourself once in a while! 

Jenny Tarin

I find shopping at Trader Joes to be very therapeutic and always something to look forward to in my day-to-day college schedule.  So many healthy and delicious options to explore!  I really do miss Trader Joes dearly when I'm outside the US, and think about how thankful to have it become a part of my college (and life) journey. 

Want to stay fit and healthy, while still enjoying a little snack afterwards?  Check out these must-try group fitness classes around Boston and their most convenient post-workout fuel! https://spoonuniversity.com/place/must-try-group-fitness-classes-in-boston