Bowl of fruits, cottage cheese, lettuce next to fork, napkin, and bread

The Best Study Snacks for Healthy Eating in College

With finals stress, a lot of students turn to food for comfort and not always in the best way. Read on to learn how to snack healthily this finals season.

With the fall semester coming to a close and the prospect of finals, many of us have already started to experience odd sleeping and eating patterns. Understandably, this is a consequence of pressure and stress, so it’s a good idea to complement this period with some health and nutrition tips that can help you till you’re home free! An easy place to start is eating the right “brain” food while you study. These tried and tested healthy snacks can provide the energy and rejuvenation that busy and sleep-deprived college students need as they cram for finals and burn the midnight oil. 

Fresh foods

Since I came to college, I’ve started to prioritize fresh food and try my best to avoid falling to the comfortable yet deceiving trap of processed foods full of added sugar and unhealthy fat. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food rich in vitamins, fiber, and protein are the better choice when you need to stay focused and boost your brain power. I like to eat fresh veggies like broccoli and spinach and spread some salad dressing, accompanied by a wholesome baguette. Rather than having soft and sugary drinks, I would recommend fresh fruit, vegetable, or mixed juices if you can. I find the best time to have it is during the afternoon when you tend to be more lethargic or in the morning when you are dashing off to class. It’s easy enough to make if you have a blender and doesn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. All you need are a few fresh ingredients and your preferred fruits and vegetables.

Related: How to Eat Healthy in College (on the Cheap!)

Coffee and hot beverages

Despite the fact we’re always told to refrain from consuming too much caffeine, I think a cup of coffee in the morning or hot chocolate or tea at the end of the day is perfectly acceptable and quite comforting. During the colder months like December, there’s nothing I’d rather do than type away at my laptop, pausing to drink a hot beverage while doing my work. Coffee increases your awareness and alertness due to the presence of antioxidants and caffeine and diminishing the power of the adenosine hormone, making you a lot less groggy in the morning. But the trick about coffee is finding the appropriate time to drink it. Confine those cups to the morning or early afternoon periods to preserve your sleep cycle and reap the maximum benefits. If you aren’t a great coffee lover, English breakfast or green tea are some effective substitutes!

Related: What to Know About Your Favorite Starbucks Drinks

Dark chocolate

I’d be lying if I told you that I have never grabbed a chocolate bar from my stash for a midnight sack. Chocolate is the perfect and most decadent guilty pleasure out there. But apart from being absolutely delicious, making the switch from milk to dark chocolate is also a very healthy choice. I’ve grown rather used to eating dark chocolate, and now I even prefer it to white or milk. Usually, the higher percentage and proportion of cocoa in the chocolate, the more beneficial it is for your health. Cocoa power is filled with compounds like flavonoids and antioxidants that help enhance your concentration and overall brain and retention power. Dark chocolate with nuts may offer the added benefit of improving your heart health as well.

Meal times

Even with a crazy finals schedule, it’s still important to have some degree of discipline when it comes to planning out your meal times. Ensure that you don’t skip meals throughout the day and try regulating your meal prep as well. I find that it’s always better to stretch out the number of meals or snack times throughout the day and consume smaller amounts at a time to avoid indigestion, weight gain, and loss of appetite. Try to switch to healthier options to get as much of those important nutrients daily to help you feel fuller and stay focused as you study for finals.

Related: Top Tips for Eating Healthy on Campus

Despite your bustling and busy life at college, it’s important to ensure that we look after our health and remain productive to achieve all our required tasks and goals for the semester. Take a break from your hard work with a wholesome snack and healthy meals, and good luck this finals season!

As much as you should be healthy as often as you can, sometimes you just need a good comfort snack. Check out our College Cooking video on How to Make Crispy Chips in the Microwave!

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About Shivani Ekkanath

Shivani Ekkanath

As a person applying to college this year, I want to chronicle this crazy and unpredictable yet rewarding and fascinating journey so the experience feels less daunting for other students. I'm currently preparing to study Political Science for my undergraduate degree while trying my best to win a battle with the pressures of the IB diploma. I'm a lover of music, debating, reading about current affairs, dancing, baking (not too well), and writing. I'm also an an aspiring journalist and hope to attend Columbia University one day and work for the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.


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