It’s nearly impossible to get through the day on just three meals. The temptation of those greasy chips or a nice bag of M&M’s can test you more than your midterms do, and unfortunately, the chips beat out your restraint most of the time due to their accessibility. It’s a lot easier to keep vending machines stocked with junk foods as opposed to healthier granola bars and fruits, and I know the M&M’s taste better than a bag of healthy trail mix. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s necessary to mix in a good balance of healthy snacks with the unhealthy. Here are five snack foods that can be easily substituted:

  1. Snap peas

Before I discovered snap peas, whenever someone mentioned the word peas, I would shudder inwardly, thinking only of disgusting baby food. I was shocked to find that not only did I actually love snap peas, but also that they were incredibly good for you. According to the website SFGate, a news site for the Bay Area of San Francisco, snap peas provide many necessary vitamins and minerals as well as help you maintain or lose weight. They taste the best when dipped in hummus.

      2. Grapes

These little buggers are a godsend, especially if you want a quick and easy snack to carry around in between classes. They are key helpers when it comes to maintaining stable, healthy blood sugar levels according to the website World’s Healthiest Foods. Their high levels of Vitamin K also add to their nutritional value. Grapes also freeze well. I recommend sticking some in your freezer for a sweet, easily-accessible late-night snack.

      3. Pistachios

Pistachios, like the snap peas, have definitely grown on me over the years. Before college, I was never much of a nut person except for the occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. However, once I began eating more pistachios, I realized I was missing out on a good snack food that was high in protein. SFGate agrees, saying that these nuts pack a lot of protein and fiber underneath their tiny shells. If you want to take your healthy snack a step farther, make sure you get the unsalted pistachios.

      4. Peanut butter

Ah, peanut butter. My one true love. Whether it be creamy, chunky, sugar free or reduced fat, if it goes well with jelly, I’ll eat it. According to the Livestrong website, peanut butter is chock full of Vitamin E, which helps prevent inflammation and acts as an antioxidant. My personal favorite brand would have to be Teddie, as it is all natural, vegan, gluten free, non-GMO and cholesterol free, making it one of the best peanut butters on the market.

       5. Popcorn

Though popcorn with movie theater butter is tempting, it’s not that good for you because of the extra fat the butter adds to it. If you’re looking for a new type of healthier popcorn, I recommend Skinny Pop, as it is non-GMO, gluten free and only contains three ingredients: whole grain popcorn, sunflower oil and a dash of salt.

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