The Art of Late Night Snacking: Keeping to a Budget Without Starving to Death When Pulling an All-Nighter  

Ashley Hall is a recent graduate from Amherst College with a degree in English. She enjoys crafting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and various other creative pursuits. In the future, she hopes to go to graduate school for ecology and evolutionary biology. Along with a friend, Ashley owns a small business where she sells her various crafts. The Etsy can be found under the name Alternate Universe.



By Ashley Hall


If you aren’t lucky enough to go to a school with 24/7 access to the dining hall or you simply don’t have enough cash to eat out every time you need to stay up all night to finish a take home exam or a twenty page paper, having snacks in your room is absolutely necessary. Snack food like Goldfish and Cheezits are not only expensive but are quite unhealthy in large quantities and shouldn’t be consumed all the time. Granola and Clif bars are a somewhat healthy alternative but are just not filling. Here are a few suggestions to stay healthy but satiate your late night appetite.


Get a rice cooker. They’re not just for rice, as much as the name designates it as such an appliance. You can steam vegetables, make pork buns, and even use it for fondue, in addition to making rice. Or you can use it to reheat Chinese food leftovers. Most colleges will allow a rice cooker in your dormitory, so long as it has an automatic off button, whereas appliances like microwaves and toaster ovens are definitely forbidden.


Take pieces of fruit from the dining hall. Most dining halls come equipped with your basic selection of fruit, such as bananas, apples, pears, and oranges. The salad bar can be full of other yummy things like raisins, tomatoes, and carrots. Most of these snacks will last a few days, especially if you have a fridge.


Cereal is another delicious item to have on hand. The dining hall is, yet again, a great source for this staple food. If your dining hall is especially vigilant about students stealing food, cereal is rather cheap and you can get a good size box for less than $5. Most generic brands are near replicas of the name brand stuff so go for that. Get a kind of cereal that you like without milk, as milk is expensive, expires quickly, and is difficult to transport out of the dining hall.


Fruit snacks counteract any salty snacks you have on hand and also provide a sweet snack if you don’t have chocolate. You can get the cheap store brand snacks from any grocery store or get organic and buy in bulk. Get the pack with twenty instead of the ten pack because you’ll be paying less money per ounce. There are many varieties and flavors, many of which will provide you with vitamin C, an essential addition to a college student’s diet. No one wants to come down with a cold during finals, or any other time of the year for that matter.


Nuts are both salty and full of protein, another healthy alternative to other, more artificial, snacks. Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts are among the best nuts, though peanuts are certainly the cheapest of those listed.


Get cheese and crackers. There is nothing like a midnight snack of Vermont sharp cheddar and Wheat Thins. It’s delicious and makes you take a break from doing work because you have to set up a plate and slice the cheese. Grapes are great addition to such a snack.


Pretzels are tasty. They have the added benefit of not being greasy like potato chips and they’re easy to eat, unlike cheese and crackers, and you can easily nom on them while you work on your assignments if you are especially pressed for time.


Then there’s yogurt. Full of fruit and other healthy things like antioxidants, yogurt is refreshing and fairly cheap. You can make it even yummier and add more texture by adding nuts or granola.


Go for what you like but try to stick to a snack budget, both in terms of cost and in terms of how much you eat in one sitting. Stick to the healthy items most of the time and indulge every once in a while. Share with friends and commiserate over how you procrastinated your essay to the last minute and are now suffering but you can’t really complain because it’s your own fault. Just get through that late night and get your essay turned in on time or finish that homework by the time your 8 AM class rolls around. Happy snacking and good luck!

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