Studying for finals is a pain, but the experience can be better with snacks. It can be tempting to choose snacks that are filling or immediately satisfying but have little nutritional value, such as candy, chips or the various fast food items offered on campus, few of which are even vegan. However, there are alternatives.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite study snacks that I have been reaching for lately.

1. Nuts

Research shows that nuts and seeds not only benefit your brain, they also relieve stress. Grab a variety of unsalted nuts, including walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Mix them with dried fruit to make your own trail mix.

2. Fresh fruit

Any time I eat fresh fruit, I feel instantly energized. Unlike energy drinks and coffee, the fiber and natural sugars found in fruits won’t make you crash. I recommend apples, bananas, grapes and oranges for their portability value. Fruits high in antioxidants, especially blueberries, are also a good choice (don’t eat them with milk though, as it will counterbalance the benefits.)

3. Hummus

Hummus is made with chick peas, which contain high-quality protein, fiber and other nutrients to fuel your studies. Other than pita bread and pita chips, hummus also goes well with fresh veggies (think carrot sticks, celery and sliced bell peppers.)

4. Banana and nut butter combos

The protein from the nut butter and the potassium from the banana make this duo a great study snack, which has many health benefits . You only need three basics for this snack: whole wheat base (tortilla, toast, or crackers), nut butter (peanut/almond/hazelnut/sunflower, etc.) and sliced bananas. Sprinkle on some cinnamon if you like. Studies show cinnamon has many benefits— you can get a cognitive function and memory boost from smelling it alone.

5. Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens, especially spinach and kale, have loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals — all of which are beneficial for your overall health and your brain. Eating dark leafy greens may sound unappealing, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Aside from classics like spinach or kale salads, these greens can also be consumed in other forms, like chips or even smoothies. I highly suggest Rhythm Superfood’s kale chips (available at Whole Foods) or you could even make your own with these techniques here or here. Give green smoothies a chance before you turn your nose up at the thought of drinking greens. Even Martha Stewart loves them.

Farewell

The Broccoli Bulletin will be on hiatus for the summer.

This will my last post for the semester under The Broccoli Bulletin. During the summer, if you’d like to keep up with my cooking and travels, among other things, please follow me on Twitter or check out the cooking blog I share with my sister.

6. Smoothies

Speaking of smoothies, they are a refreshing way of consuming more servings of fruit in one sitting. Check out blogger extraordinaire Kathy Patalsky’s smoothies and drinks for some colorful ideas on how to stay hydrated, healthy and energized. There’s even an app for her smoothie recipes.

7. Avocados

I could go on and on about how much I love avocados, but I’ll spare you the rambling. If you’re trying to remember facts and figures for your tests, I think you would be interested in knowing this fact: avocados contain monounsaturated fats (the good kind) that help minimize the loss of memory. Consider including avocados in your salads or dip some veggies/pita chips in guacamole.

8. Dark chocolate

Eating a Snickers bar while you’re studying won’t be of much help, but the right kind of chocolate can be good for reducing your stress levels. Dark chocolate, if eaten in moderation, can also help lower your blood pressure. Don’t go crazy and eat a bunch of chocolate bars, though. I recommend Chocolove’s brand of dark chocolate, as they have minimal ingredients and have several flavors, including mint, which is my favorite.

9. Veggie pitas and wraps

If you want a more filling snack, I would suggest putting together a quick and healthy wrap or sandwich. I like to use whole wheat tortillas (whole grain pita bread works too). To assemble these, you need three main fillings:

-Protein (beans, chickpeas, hummus, or edamame),

-Greens (baby spinach, romaine lettuce, whatever suits you), and

-Your favorite vegetables (I like tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms and bell peppers).

Add a drizzle of mayo-free Green Goddess dressing or some avocado slices and you have a truly indulgent study meal that is both refreshing and filling.

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