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Brain Food: 20 Healthy, Affordable Study Snacks

Brain Food: 20 Healthy, Affordable Study Snacks

Many of these snacks are accessible in college meal programs - or anywhere else, for that matter.

Elizabeth Hoyt

October 20, 2014

Just because you have limited funds, doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice your health.

Keep in mind that portion control is important (too much of a good thing is possible). These snacks are great on-the-go and students on a budget.

Many of these snacks are accessible in college meal programs – or anywhere else, for that matter.

Stock up on these affordable healthy goodies so that the next time you’re in a time-crunch, you don’t have to sacrifice health for convenience.

Here are healthy snacks and foods that you can afford on any budget.

1. Apples

Depending on the apple type (Granny Smith and Red Delicious are the cheapest), you can purchase them for around a dollar a pound for even the most designer of apple breeds.

2. Bananas

Bananas are a great bang for your buck, perfect for on-the-go and are full of vitamins, potassium and fiber with low salt. Coming in at only 100 calories for an average sized banana? Yes, please!

3. Carrots

Carrots are easy, cheap and packed with nutrition like protein, natural carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and potassium. It’s probably more cost effective to buy full-sized packages (even of baby carrots), which are usually around $2 for a 16 oz bag. But, they also come in cute on-the-go packages that are around 35 calories each, so there’s really no excuse not to much on these nutritious little veggies. A mini pack on the go is perfect for snacking between classes!

4. Oranges

Other than the obvious vitamin C benefit, you’ll get potassium, calcium, healthy carbohydrates and more vitamins. They are high in sugar, but it’s not as bad as, say, a candy bar. You can get an entire bag of oranges for the same price as an unhealthy bag of chips, so make the smart decision and purchase a bag next time you’re looking for a sweet treat.

5. Peanuts

Peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut. They’re cheap and chock-full of protein. They’re high in the good kinds of fats and can keep you full longer than snacks made with artificial preservatives. If consumed in 2-ounce portions, peanuts are around 300 calories but they’re a good alternative if you’re craving a salty snack.

6. Oatmeal

High in fiber and protein while being low in calories and fat isn’t easy to find. That’s why oatmeal is basically the gem of quick and easy foods. Not to mention it tastes good and comes in instant options, making it convenient for on the go students.

7. Green Veggies

Everyone knows they should eat their greens, but have you ever thought about taking a baggie of raw broccoli, string beans or pea pods on the go as a snack. You should – they have benefits which include Vitamin C, antioxidants and more. When looking for veggies, the greener and leafier, the better.

8. String Cheese

Ah, the power of cheese. Easily transportable and, as a combo of sugar and salt, it can curb your sweet or salty cravings. One stick is only around 80 calories, full of protein and calcium. A pack is only around $2 so, when you’re looking for an easy, cheap snack, just say cheese!

9. Greek Yogurt

Since Greek yogurt is high in protein but low in sugar, it’s a snack that will sustain you and keep you satisfied. You can purchase in different flavors or add some fruit, honey or granola to jazz up a plain flavor.

10. Coffee

Moderate amounts of the caffeine contained in coffee can help improve brain function, your reaction time, focus and attention span. However, this is only in moderation. If overdone, it can have adverse results.

11. Hummus

Protein-rich hummus is good on pretty much anything – especially when you’re trying to spice up some veggies. If you go for the generic brand, it’s only around $4. Even better, make your own for under $2!

12. Blueberries

Simple as they may seem, these little berries pack punch when it comes to nutritional value. It’s no wonder they’re known as a superfood! In addition to the many nutrients and benefits, blueberries can even help prevent memory loss, increases motor skill function and learning capacity. Try them frozen for an extra treat!

13. Whole Wheat Crackers or Pretzels

Pair either with hummus or peanut butter and you’re good to go! Whole wheat is key here because then you’re consuming grains you lose in white crackers or regular-variety pretzels.

14. Almonds

A handful of almonds can sustain you for long periods of time. They’re made from healthy fats and are a good source of protein (6 grams of protein in one ounce) – in moderation. One ounce of almonds also contains 14 grams of fat (even if it is the good kind). It’s a great option as long as you make sure you don’t overindulge or you may find yourself with some unwanted weight gain.

15. Roasted Chick Peas

If you find yourself craving some crunch, these are the perfect alternative to other crunchy snacks, like potato chips. Chick peas are great sources of protein and fiber. If you roast them in the oven, adding a little salt and chili powder (if you’d like a little spicy kick), they taste delicious, too!

16. Dark Chocolate

As long as you follow the “everything in moderation” rule, this snack can provide benefits like antioxidants and helps with natural stimulation. Dark chocolate also can help with the production of endorphins, helping you conquer your tasks while boosting your mood.

17. Eggs

Easy to make and easy to hard boil and take on the go, eggs are also inexpensive. They have the benefits of both protein and choline packed in, which both help improve brain function and memory.

18. Avocado

Technically a fruit, avocados have mono-saturated fats, which improve blood flow and can lower blood pressure. They’re also a great source of Vitamin E. But, make sure not to overindulge – these are fatty fruits (even if they are good fats) so a quarter or half is more than enough for one serving.

19. Peanut Butter

Flash back to elementary school and make yourself some snacks involving peanut butter. Peanut butter and celery, peanut butter on rice cakes – the options are endless, nutritious and a great purchase for your budget at only around $3 for an entire jar.

20. Trail Mix

This is a tricky one because some unhealthy snacks are disguised as trail mix. It’s probably best to make your own or find a healthy version with nuts and dried fruits. Portion control is also vital to make sure you’re not consuming a ton of trans-fats.

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