Healthy study snacks for finals week

Eva Luong, Contributing Writer

You’re probably changing many of your habits in preparation for finals week. While actually doing the reading is sure to help you ace those tests, make sure you’re also paying attention to what you eat during your cram sessions.

Having a balanced and nutritious diet is necessary for your mental and physical health. The brain requires quality nutrients just like your body does. One study from the journal Population Health Management found that eating junk food puts consumers at a 66 percent higher risk of productivity loss. Although the temptation to eat late night pizzas and go on an ice cream binge is strong during finals week, try to resist the urge.

Your brain requires glucose to function; sugary foods, processed carbohydrates and soft drinks can lead to blood sugar spikes followed by equally large drops. This causes fatigue, food cravings and an inability to focus. It is especially important to avoid eating sweet and sugary foods at night, or when you haven’t been eating regularly, because these foods are digested more rapidly on an empty stomach. 

Here are a couple more snack options to keep you alert, focused and efficient:  

Chocolate-covered Bananas

What we eat has an impact on our brains and our ability to function normally. A banana contains 10 milligrams of dopamine, a chief mood booster in the brain. Dark chocolate, packed with polyphenol, is also known to boost serotonin, a neurotransmitter that many antidepressants also target. You could just dip your banana in melted chocolate, or make a trail-mix out of banana chips and chocolate chunks for a crunchy alternative.

Frozen Fruits 

Frozen fruits are always a good choice when it comes to studying snacks. Try some frozen blueberries, which are known for improving or delaying short-term memory loss.You’ll be able to kiss those sugary popsicles good-bye because these frozen treats have their own natural sweetness that can cure any sweet tooth.

Air-popped Popcorn 

Filled with polyphenol and fiber, popcorn is a delicious alternative over chips. Just drizzle your popcorn with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top. If you are looking for an extra kick in your snack, add some sriracha.

Yogurt Bark Bars

If you have some time between tests, try cutting up bananas and blueberries and mixing them with plain or Greek yogurt. For an extra brain boost, add some nuts filled with vitamin E, perfect for preventing cognitive decline. Spread the mixture on a baking pan and stick it in the freezer. After two to three hours, you now have delicious frozen treats that will last until those exams are finally over.

Email Eva Luong at [email protected].