8 Healthy Snacks that Will Help Avoid the Freshman 15

Keeping up with all your college classwork is tough enough, staying healthy doesn't have to be. Combat the dreaded first year weight gain with these nutritious snacking alternatives.

Granola Bars: Skip trips to the vending machine and stock your dorm with these delicious treats. "Those with a bit of chocolate can stand in for a candy bar or cookie," says Robyn Flipse, nutritionist and author of Fighting the Freshman Fifteen. "Also, portion control is easier with individually wrapped bars versus an open box of sweets."

Popcorn Kernels: Satisfy those cravings that accompany late-night study sessions with air-popped popcorn. "It's just 30 calories per cup and way cheaper than packaged varieties of microwave popcorn, " explains Flipse. "Plus, there's no added salt or preservatives."

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Fruit Flavored Seltzer: Instead of sodas full of sugar or even their diet counterparts, try an unsweetened, fruit-flavored seltzer that's low in calories, but still mega-refreshing. It's the perfect mid-paper pick-me-up!

Salad & Sandwhich Combos: It's not uncommon to have to grab lunch on-the-go while running between classes, but it's still important to make smart choices. "Ordering half a sandwich and a salad-without creamy dressing-is good for your wallet and waistline," says Flipse. "For the best calorie saving deal, opt for a vinaigrette salad dressing and pass on the mayo for the sandwich."

Fatt-Free Soft Serve: With all that work you're doing, you definitely deserve the occasional dessert. But try to find the healthier options in your dorm cafeteria, like non-fat (and no sugar added) frozen yogurt with fruit as a topping.

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Chow Mein & Brown Rice: When everything on campus is closed, there's always Chinese take-out available-but before you order, consider what you choose to go a long with your chicken, shrimp, or pork dish. Flipse recommends choosing chow mein (it's mostly vegetables, so it's under 300 calories per pint) or brown rice (200 calories per cup) instead of white rice.

Mini Cheese Rounds: For a quick, portable protein fix that will help keep your appetite in check, nothing beats mini cheese rounds. The light variety has more protein than the regular-6 vs. 5 grams-and are only 50 calories each.

Pizza Pointers: There's no way you can go to college and avoid pizza, so instead, know how to order to get the least amount of calories. Flipse has a few rules of thumb when ordering: thin crust, only half of the cheese, and no meat.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.