The 10 Best Junk Foods to Keep You Happy

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We all know the keys to staying healthy: balanced meals, plenty of exercise and eight hours of sleep. But what’s life without a little fun, especially when it comes to food? You wouldn’t go a whole week without Netflix or a bar night in between classes and your internship, right? The next time you head to the grocery store, make sure to fill your cart with these junk food staples.

1. Anything spicy

Anyone who practically worships Sriracha, this one’s for you. If you crave a little kick with your crunch, especially to jazz up that dining hall food that starts to feel bland and boring after the first week or so, you’ll want to grab anything spicy. “Among our favorites [are] Takis, Hot Cheetos and ethnic candy,” said Swarthmore College juniors Freddy Bernardino and Esteban Cabrera-Duran. “To be honest, these are our favorites because there’s no spices on campus. Spicy food is rare to come by.” Lots of things will stress you out in college and you don’t want food to become one of them.

2. Cereal

Surprised to see your favorite childhood meal on this list? With the exception of those Mom-approved choices such as nasty old raisin bran, most of your beloved cereals have a ton of sugar (we’re looking at you, Frosted Flakes), making them the perfect junk food. Even better? Sugary cereal gives you something to look forward to on mornings when you just can’t.

3. Sour Gummies

I never believed this until I tried, but the trick where you scatter pieces of candy through your reading really does help you plod through it that much faster. Snacking while finishing your homework sounds like a win-win to me. Besides that, their sweet and sour tanginess will give your taste buds an addicting rush. You’ll finish the entire bag before you know it.

4. Oreos

Whether you prefer dunking them in milk, twisting them apart or just eating the filling (we don’t judge), you can’t deny that Oreos make an excellent snack. Their large packages mean you won’t run out the next time you have the munchies. They’re even vegan too, making them perfect in more ways than one. For those out there who don’t call themselves fans of America’s Favorite Cookie, you can substitute this for regular cookies.

5. Potato Chips

Something salty and crunchy can really hit the spot especially when you find your stomach growling during a long lecture. Ruffles, Lay’s or Pringles… must I say more? “[Potato chips] make me so happy, but only kettle-cooked regular potato chips. No other kind of chip,” said Florida State University junior Brianna Sanchez. Pick up a family sized bag and create your very own family of one. Just don’t forget to chug some water after, because bloating after all that salt really sucks.

6. Ritz Crackers

Ever try making a little sandwich with two of these and some peanut butter or cheese? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. They look sort of healthy enough so you don’t look like a pig, but their salt content puts them squarely in the junk food category. If that’s not enough to convince you, I once ate an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers without hesitation because they’re that good.

7. French Fries

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If given the choice between salad or fries, which do you choose? With the variety of dips to choose from, you’ll feel more inclined to justify a potato as your veggie intake for the day. You’ll reach your daily quota easily. Plus you buy them practically everywhere and even make them at home.

8. Cookie Dough

Although you’re technically not supposed to eat this raw, embrace your inner rebel and scarf this down. What is it about cookie dough that tastes so much better raw? “I love to bake and I always end up trying all the batter or dough as I’m doing so! Honestly whenever I see cookie dough at Publix or the giant pack at Costco, I always have to fight myself not to buy it. Tollhouse is definitely the best and I always get cookie dough ice cream,” said FSU junior Caroline Mozo. Cookie dough plus ice cream? What sounds better than that?

9. Mac and Cheese

You might think this technically qualifies as a meal instead of a snack, but why play by the rules? Its cheesy goodness will really work wonders after a stressful day. “Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s God’s most perfect, most beautiful creation,” said FSU junior Steph Connor. “I find myself craving it right now and pretty much anytime I’m hungry.” Whether you prefer the boxed kind or your dining hall’s version, you can easily find mac and cheese anywhere. PS: Ever try adding bacon? It’ll totally shake up your personal definition of heaven.

10. Cup Noodles

“Cup Noodles are easy to make and tasty,” said recent University of Washington graduate Fleur L. who described how she can easily buy them at the library’s café. If you consider ramen one of the main food groups, you can rest easy knowing that cup noodles only require something you can find in your kitchen sink. Seriously, just add hot water and enjoy.

Need more to satisfy your cravings? Check out College Magazine Shop’s Junk Food Collection:

French Fries Blanket

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Gummy Worms Tapestry

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Cookie Dough Shower Curtain

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Valerie is a senior at the University of Washington, studying English/Creative Writing and History. She loves anything caffeinated, Netflix and long road trips. She'll always be obsessed with Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Private Practice and Agents of Shield.

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