When you’re living in the residence halls, it’s easy to resort to unhealthy habits — such as skipping breakfast every morning or piling mounds of chicken tenders and spicy waffle fries onto your plate at Crossroads every night — but it doesn’t always have to be like that! We at the Clog are dedicated to helping you avoid the freshman 15 and curb your junk-food cravings with these healthier alternatives.
If you’re lactose intolerant or trying to avoid dairy, nut milk is the perfect alternative. It’s low in calories, has no saturated fat or cholesterol and is a good source of vitamin D (some brands are even fortified with calcium). You can get it sweetened or unsweetened, and it comes in a variety of different flavors. Add it to your tea or coffee, put it in your morning smoothie or substitute it for the milk in your baking and cooking recipes — whatever you use it for, it’s sure to work well.
Sambazon acai juice
Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, this juice is made from the native Central and South American berry. This antioxidant-rich fruit has become increasingly popular over the years. The juice tastes like a mix between chocolate and berries. This product can be found at Whole Foods, Costco and almost any neighborhood supermarket.
Purity Organic juice drinks
These juice blends are refreshing and tasty. They contain no high fructose corn syrup, are naturally sweetened and bottled right here in California, too. You can find them in bulk at Costco, but they can also be found at your neighborhood grocery store.
Teas’ Tea organic unsweetened black tea
Need a burst of energy to help you power through that R1B essay you procrastinated on? Try black tea. Caffeine in tea varies, but black tea tends to have a moderate to high amount, and it’s a healthier alternative to energy drinks that are full of sugar.
Frozen fruit is always nice to have handy. If you have a mini personal blender, you can make smoothies right in your dorm room. All you have to do is add a little bit of your liquid of choice and blend. Some stores add sugar and don’t use real fruit in their smoothies, so making your own is often the best way to go, as it’s cheaper and healthier. If you don’t own a blender or don’t like smoothies, add frozen fruit to water for a refreshing burst of fruity flavor.
Cascadian Farm Organic berry vanilla puff cereal
Most breakfast cereal favorites are full of sugar and unnaturally colorful dyes that scream, “Eat me! Eat me!” That isn’t the case for Cascadian Farm cereal. The colors are natural and the list of ingredients is super simple (compared to the lengthy essays you’ll find on most other cereal boxes).
Belvita breakfast biscuits
These biscuits are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast. They contain no high fructose corn syrup and they have dietary fiber. They’re scrumptious, and you can find them almost everywhere.
Trader Joe’s oatmeal cranberry Dunkers
Dunkers aren’t exactly what you’d consider the healthiest, but they’re definitely way better than many other cookie brands. These dunkable, dippable cookie sticks of joy have loads of cranberries in every bite, and they’re drizzled in delectable white chocolate. Dip them in milk or in your morning coffee. Even Blake Griffin would approve of these Dunkers.
Annie’s Homegrown microwavable macaroni bowls
The wafting aroma of these macaroni bowls will remind you of your mom’s good old homemade stuff. Just add water, microwave for about 2 minutes, add the sauce packet, stir, and in the matter of a few seconds, you have something delicious. Annie’s Homegrown is a company located in Berkeley. The company only uses simple, natural ingredients and believes in sustainability and good farming practices. The pasta is organic, and the cheese is 100 percent real. There are no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives.
Annie’s Homegrown organic cheddar bunnies
This snack comes in a cute bunny shape, with real cheddar packed into each and every bite. Mmm, what more could you want?
Sparkling water comes in a variety of flavors and is free of calories and sugar, making it a healthier alternative to soda. And bubbles are fun, so that’s a bonus. Many of the dining halls have sparkling water dispensers. Look for the smaller button that looks like water but is labeled soda. If you’re feeling fancy, add in some of the frozen fruit we mentioned above.
Dried fruit is a tasty treat that is similar to candy in texture and taste. Just be careful because some brands add additional sweeteners. Make sure to check packaging to see if the fruit is unsulfured, meaning that it contains no additives.
Trader Joe’s savory thin mini crackers
A serving of 37 crackers is only 130 calories. These little rounds of happiness are savory and exactly what you need when you’re craving something salty. Eat them alone or dip them in hummus or salsa.
Trader Joe’s rice noodle soup bowl
Just add water, mix in the seasoning packets and put it in the microwave. Making this requires almost no effort. Add some sriracha sauce to it for a bit of a spicy kick. At about $1 per bowl, this is definitely worth it.
Trader Joe’s ricotta & spinach tortelloni with red pesto
Fun fact: Tortelloni is tortellini, but bigger. This is another microwavable meal that only takes a few minutes to heat up. The package is full of grilled vegetables that are packed with flavor. This pasta will leave you and your tummy feeling satisfied.
Eating healthy while living in a residence hall doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. The next time you’re at the grocery store, look around for some of these items instead of reaching for that bag of chips near the cash register or the candy bar that’s bigger than your face.
Contact Kithumini Jayasiri at [email protected].