The end of the semester is here, and it's time for college students to take their exams and write up their final papers. This usually lends itself to stressful nights in the library and a generally hectic schedule. Rather than compromising your health, well-being, and day-to-day sanity, stay on top of your hunger this finals season, and make sure you're feeding your body the brain food and fuel that it needs. From sandwiches to trail mixes to lots of water, there's plenty of ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Studying for finals
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Ah, ‘tis the season for sleep deprivation, late, eye-watering nights in the library, and last-minute cramming until your head is swollen. Yes, it’s finals season for our friends in college, and I think that everyone can agree that this time of year can be just as strenuous physically as it is mentally. During these next couple weeks as you try to get your life together and catch up on a semester’s worth of work in a few short days, it’s easy to let your physical health and well-being suffer.

Rather than listening to your first instinct of heading to the on-campus snack stop and loading up on anything that is covered in chocolate, caffeine, salt, sugar, or some weird combination of it all, here’s some brain food that you can whip up if you carve out a couple extra minutes for #SelfCare. It might not get those straight A’s you promised to yourself (and your parents) at the beginning of the semester (oh well!), but it will definitely get you through the misery of this dreadful week feeling nourished and well-fed. Not to mention, an energized, well-fueled body/brain only increases your chances of nailing that exam.

Pack a Sandwich

Skip the greasy burger or nuggets that you were probably banking on around midnight. It only takes a couple minutes for you to get some bread (#wholewheat because you should show your noggin some love), and pile it high with cold cuts, that grilled chicken breast you stole from the dining hall, canned tuna, or hummus, and whatever veggies you have. Or you can be self-sufficient, mature individual that you are and make a hearty PB&J and call it a freaking success.

Eat a Wholesome Breakfast

Even though your normal routine is probably extremely out of whack and highly disrupted by early exams and late-night study sessions, don’t forget to put something in your stomach when you wake up. Whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, yogurt with fruit, a high-fiber cereal, or a plate of bacon and eggs that you obtained by pressuring a freshman to swipe you into the dining hall, just eat something. Staying focused in the library is hard enough (thank you, Instagram), so just try doing that on an empty stomach. It ain’t gonna happen.

Trail Mix
Credit: Oxmoor House

Make a Trail Mix

Sure, you can probably buy some variation of this on campus, but it’s way more cost effective (#LifeAsAStudent) if you mix up your own version at home. This way, you know exactly what’s going into the concoction, and you can portion it out as you like. Nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein that your body needs during this strenuous time (but if you studied for your biology exam, then you already know that).

Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies

Yes, we understand that it’s times like these when the only thing you want to eat should come out of a sealed plastic bag and contain at least 3 ingredients that you can’t pronounce. However, it’s probably in your best interest to snag a couple apples, bananas, or a handful of veggies from the salad bar to munch on later. Keeping these wholesome foods on hand while you’re studying is a great way to help curb your appetite, as well as the fact that having something to munch on is a great way to calm down your nerves and provide a little bit of a distraction. As they say, “you can’t fall asleep if you’re nibbling on a carrot!” (JK nobody says that, however most would agree that this is true).

Stay Hydrated

We know it’s not fun trading in the ice cold PBRs for red-eyes and double shots of espresso, but that’s what most of us are doing to get through finals. If you’re drinking enough caffeine that you can literally feel it pulsing through your veins, make sure you’re also matching that with some good ol’ H2O. (Also, consider switching to tea if you know you’re prone to over-caffeinate.) Even if you have taken it upon yourself to treat your body like a dumpster in every other regard this week, at least clean it out with a cold glass of water from time to time.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane