20 College Dorm Snacks for Surviving Your Freshman Year

By Brian •  Updated: 10/09/22 •  10 min read

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In this article I’ll share some of my favorite dorm snacks to keep you feed during those late night study sessions.

Surviving college is about a lot more than just getting the passing grade.

It’s also about making sure you’re getting the right nutrition to sustain your needs – and about avoiding the daily crash that usually hits in the mornings, evenings or middle of a hard day.

This is where snacks come in. 

Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy. It all depends on how you snack.

Here’s the essential list of all the college dorm snacks you should keep on hand. While many of the items on this list are healthy, I’ve definitely included a few…not so healthy options.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are one of the best healthy things to grab when you’re in a hurry.

They can also be eaten raw and as-is or turned into something more with just a few spare minutes.

They can even be transformed into shakes if you happen to have a blender on hand.

Healthy College Dorm Snacks

1. Apples and Bananas

Apples aren’t considered a forbidden fruit on a diet. And it’s a great choice for a snack if you’d like to settle your stomach or prepare for a bigger meal.

 It’s also a great vitamin-loaded snack, and it can also be turned into something like an apple mousse just by adding a little bit of water, sugar and letting chopped apples go over low heat. 

2. Dehydrated Fruit

Dehydrated fruit is great for anyone who craves a lot of sweet or sugary stuff, but don’t want the after-effects that come together with the sugar crash.

Almost any type of fruit can be bought in dehydrated or roll-up form, including apples, pears, bananas and everything you can think of – and if you can’t find it, it’s easy enough to make your own at home.

3. Hummus

If you’ve never tried hummus, think of it as a bean paste; it’s highly-loaded with nutrients and pretty tasty too, plus it won’t blow your diet out of the water and you can put it on most other things that you have on your cupboard.

Or you can just eat the entire thing with a spoon.

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4. Carrots and Celery

Sure, people associated carrots and celery with Bugs Bunny and diets – but this is because they don’t know what to do with them.

If you don’t love carrots and celery raw, add a condiment that you like or incorporate both into a quick recipe like a base for a vegetable soup.

Dorm Snacks for your Minifridge

Keeping your dorm room minifridge stocked with tasty and filling snacks is essential for every college freshmen. From late night snacks to quick breakfasts, the minifridge holds some of my favorite dorm snacks.

5. Cheese

There are more types of cheese than one could ever list in just one article: This makes it one of the best elements of cooking, and one of the best things for snacking. Choose cheddar, opt for edam, go for gouda – whatever fits your taste.

Many types of cheese can also be found in easy “single-serving” snack varieties great for grabbing while you’re studying. 

6. Milk/Chocolate Milk

Milk is great for on-the-go snacking: It hydrates you, and it’s filled with nutrients – plus, it has the ability to give you an instant boost when you need an energy lift.

If you’re lactose intolerant, there are other options available (like soy milk).

More than milk, chocolate milk is especially great for snacking – everyone loves chocolate, and chocolate can give you a boost and activate your brain’s “happy chemicals” at the same time.

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You can also stock protein shakes in your minifridge for after your workouts.

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7. Yogurt

Yogurt it healthy, filled with nutrients – and contains essential probiotic cultures that can help to keep your digestive health in good nick.

It’s a great snack for college, especially when you’re busy studying or on the way somewhere, and you can find it in several flavors and forms.

I really love the Chobani Flip yogurt cups. They’re perfect for shoving in your backpack before you run off to class in the morning and they’re more filling then regular yogurt.

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8. Salsa and Tortilla Chips

This is probably my most consumed food while in college.

I went through A TON of salsa and tortilla chips. I definitely overindulged.

But salsa, especially homemade salsa, is delicious. In college I’d keep a small jar of salsa in my fridge almost always.

I’d get back from class, grab the salsa and chips and sit and read through my textbooks or watch lecture videos.

You can even buy travel pack salsa (found here) to slip in your backpack and eat while on campus.

Packaged Dorm Snacks

Packaged foods usually last longer and storage, and they’re the kind of foods or snacks available in single-servings – for obvious reasons, these are great to grab.

Here are some of the healthiest options for packaged foods when you feel the need to snack in your dorm.

8. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the best things for an energy and brain boost.

If you feel that a crash is on the way, grab a spoonful of peanut butter or stop to make a sandwich.

You’ll feel a lot better after, guaranteed. It also doesn’t have to be peanut butter, but can be made from various other types of nuts too.

9. Nuts

I’ve consistently kept one or two tins of peanuts, cashews, or almonds around for years. They’re a fantastic snack to keep you full whenever you need it. Plus their quite healthy.

The Kirkland jar of mixed nuts is one of my favorite options to keep around. It lasts forever and I like the variety instead of a simple jar of peanuts or almonds.

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10. Trail Mix

Trail mix ended up being called trail mix because it’s one of the greatest on-the-go snacks for trail hikers – but this doesn’t mean that it’s just for trail hikers.

Trail mix contains a variety of dried fruits, nuts and seeds that are great for the quick boost that gets you through.

There are tons of varieties to choose from. Personally, I like the classic (like this one from Kirkland). But I also enjoy the spicy mix, peanut butter mix, and a tropical mix.

11. Crackers

Feeling your stomach growl? Crackers are available in many forms: Plain, gluten-free, with added things like peppercorns, rice-based crackers.

They’re great for a quick snack and are easy to combine with sliced meat, cheese, hummus, or other dips.

12. Cereal

Cereal isn’t something people think of as a snack, but it’s one of the best ones out there.

It all depends on what you’re craving – and they’re usually also available in smaller single-serving packs for travelling or studying.

13. Protein Bars or Energy Bars

I went through a lot of protein bars in college. I’d buy them by the case and keep them stacked in my closet. One time I was at a clearance store and picked up ten 12 count boxes of Snickers Marathon bars. for about $5 a box.

It was a killer deal. I had 120 protein bars packed in my closet that lasted me for months.

They no longer make the Marathon bars but my current protein bar of choice is Clif Builders bars. I also enjoy the Kirkland protein bars.

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14. Popcorn

Popcorn doesn’t take long to make, you can add anything to it – and it’s a snack without being loaded with calories or salt.

If you need a quick savory boost before you fall over, popcorn is great. And if you want to Netflix and anything, popcorn is great to add to the mix.

15. Instant Cups (Mac & Cheese, Oatmeal, Ramen)

If it says Instant, it makes for a great college snack – just read the ingredients to make sure it’s the closest to a healthy option that you can get.

Whether it’s instant soup, mac & cheese, oatmeal or ramen, it’s great for keeping around the house for when you need something to get you through the day.

16. Whole Grain Breads & Crackers

Whole grain breads and crackers are great for adding to your diet a few times per week.

If you want to be healthy, stay regular – and whole grain ingredients are one of the best ways to do it. Consider other alternatives if you happen to be gluten-intolerant. 

17. Pop-Tarts

Pop Tarts are classic, right? If you don’t have a lot of time and you need to get through a few hours more of work, opt for a pop tart. It’s probably one of the most popular dorm snacks out there.

Dorm Treats

Snacking shouldn’t have to be all serious. There’s always time for a decent treat somewhere in the middle.

Here are some of the best treats that can take the edge off or help when all you feel like is a sugar rush.

18. Chocolate

Chocolate is more than just a snack. It’s also one of the best things you can consume if you need an energy boost, and it can help to trigger the brain’s happy hormones when you’re most in need of it.

Consider chocolate a healthy snack as long as you aren’t consuming too much of it too soon. 

19. Potato Chips

Potato chips are great to carry around, available in every single brand you can think of – and you can even use them to give crispy chicken the crisp if you use it as coating.

If you’re gluten intolerant, read the label first: Many spices will contain gluten. 

20. Ice Cream

Ice cream is great for a hot day – or a depressing one. Most types of ice cream are also healthier than you would expect, and perfect for a snack.

It can also be added to shakes to give it that something extra.

Conclusion

College keeps you constantly on the move – and your body somehow needs fuel for all the running around from one place to another.

Everyone snacks, and what separates good snacking from bad snacking are the options you choose when you stock your fridge or cupboard. 

We’ve given you some options for the best and healthiest dorm snacks to get you through college, but there’s far more than just what we’ve mentioned here:

Use creativity, experiment and throw some ingredients together to see what works best. 

If you’re looking for more dorm suggestions, check out my article on the best dorm board games.

Brian