Shopping List: Healthy Essentials

Living in a dorm can be a drag for a lot of reasons, and the lack of access to fresh food is one of them. You will find yourself eating Easy Mac and Nutella on crackers for meals consistently, which just isn’t healthy. They don’t call it the “Mizzou 22” for nothing. Furthermore, you’ll do better in school (and have better skin, hair, nails, attitude, etc., look up those studies, girls) if you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Need I say more?

So how to solve this dilemma: convenience or health-conscious? Good news: you don’t have to choose! Here are a few of my essential snacks that I keep in my dorm for late-night study sessions or midday hunger pangs. They’re all the perfect mix of healthy and delicious (I promise. I hate nasty health food. Dry, unflavored granola? No thank you!). Pick some of these up the next time you’re out!

Honestly, this is the easiest thing to keep in a dorm, and it’s as great for you as it is fun to eat. Un-popped bags store flat on a shelf, or you can just leave them in the box. You can get un-popped kernels and pop them yourself (ugh work), or just buy already-popped stuff in a bag. The options, my friends, are literally endless. Two of my picks are below.

Skinny Pop popcorn is already popped and available in both a big bag or in individual serving-size bags for on-the-go snacking. It’s only 39 calories a cup and tastes pretty addictive. I’d be surprised if you didn’t eat twice as much...because I’ve never done that...

I’ve been known to wolf down an entire bag of microwave popcorn in one sitting (still do, no shame). But these Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Single Serve microwave bags are a lifesaver. At 100 calories each, they’re pretty lean snacks and great for mindless munching. And even though they’re 94 percent fat free, they come in both classic butter and kettle corn flavors.

Crackers/Pretzels and Nutella/Peanut Butter

Seriously, if you find yourself craving a sweet/salty fix, these are for you. My roommate was obsessed with peanut butter and crackers and I never got it until I tried it. Peanut butter is protein, and it’ll fill you up (along with the carbs in the crackers) to keep you going until your next meal. Nutella is less healthy, but paired with pretzels, it’s a phenomenal late night treat.

But don’t just take my word for it! Mix and match! Try out different crackers and spreads. Allergic to peanut butter or nuts? Try SoyNut Butter; all the peanut taste, none of those pesky (or dangerous) reactions. Personally, I love saltine crackers alone, but those could get super boring for people. Triscuts are great too, as are Wheat Thins. And they’re all great for you! Plus if you run out of crackers, hellooo spoonfuls of peanut butter. Remember: no shame.


Fresh fruit is notoriously hard to come by on campus, and apples, oranges and bananas can get a little monotonous after a while. Try to swing by Wal-Mart or a grocery store and pick out foods that won’t go bad fast. I love apples because they keep for a pretty long time, and they’re packed with fiber. If you don’t have a fridge in your dorm/apartment, try dried fruit slices. You’ll get the same amount of antioxidants and fiber, but they’ll keep for way longer. Trust me, there’s nothing worse that throwing out food you never even got the chance to eat. I like dried apricots, dried bananas, or raisins. Plus, there’s no excuse not to try the raisins. They sell them covered in yogurt or chocolate. That’s a beautiful thing. Of course, you don’t have to pick apples, either. But you know the apple a day...


The same rule can be applied to veggies, except I’ve really never come across a dried veggie I liked. The only vegetable tip I’ve totally mastered would be a bag of baby carrots. Those little babies are super good for you and perish fairly slowly in a fridge.


I love nuts, especially almonds, peanuts and cashews. They’re so unbelievably easy to store and they’re phenomenal for your body and mind. Throw a handful or two in a plastic baggie for on-the-go snacking! Trail mix is also a healthy alternative (you can make your own by just mixing your favorite nuts, dried fruit and some semisweet chocolate chips in a bag!).

I hope I’ve helped you gals out in some way, and if not, let me know in the comments! What are your favorite healthy dorm snacks?

This article is a part of Alise's weekly column focusing on fun food ideas.

By: Alise Murawski

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