We’ve all had to spend hours and hours at the library -- and we all know it can be exhausting. Whether you’re cramming for a test, writing a paper, or powering through a p-set, your brain needs fuel to get it all done. Most libraries only offer vending machine snacks which, though delicious, may make us sluggish and unproductive. To stay alert, focused, and fired-up, here are some of Foodsmart’s best (and easy!) snacks for making through even the longest of study sessions:
These energy bites live up to their name. The PB and quinoa are both excellent sources of protein, which will power your body and brain throughout your studying. Cranberries also have tons of health benefits; they’re full of antioxidants, vitamins, and compounds that may improve eyesight (perfect for staring at a book or screen all night) and decrease stress.
The combo of turkey, cheese, and red bell pepper rolled makes the perfect brain food. Turkey and cheese both have plenty of protein, which will keep you full and focused instead of distracted thinking about your next meal. Red bell peppers also contain a lot of Vitamin C, which has been linked to cortisol-reduction. Cortisol is one of the body’s main stress hormones, so including red bell peppers (or other high-Vitamin C snacks like orange slices or cherry tomatoes) in your snack regimen could make your test tomorrow a little less anxiety-inducing.
This quick and easy snack has the crunch of a vending machine snack without the unhealthy additives and unnecessary chemicals. Chickpeas are extremely high in protein, and also help regulate blood sugar. In other words, they’ll help you keep your energy levels consistent throughout your studying. Plus, the spicy kick will help you refocus if you feel yourself zoning out.
4. Almond Butter + Berry Sandwich
Almond butter contains approximately 5 grams of protein per serving and 3 grams of fiber, both of which majorly help curb hunger. Mash up your favorite berries (fresh or frozen) to make “jam” -- it’ll taste the same as your classic PB&J but without as much of the sugar and with more fiber. Slather the spreads on a piece of whole-wheat toast or two, bag it, and you’ll have a perfect study snack. (Tip: buy the store brand of almond butter. It’s usually the cheapest option and often has less oil and salt. It tastes the same as the brand-name jars -- sometimes, it tastes better!)
Overnight oats are one of the easiest snacks you can make! Microwave some old-fashioned oats with almond milk, stick the oatmeal in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat, and then throw on some toppings when you’re ready to roll. Frozen blueberries are our personal topping of choice. They’re available at the grocery all year round, cheaper than fresh blueberries, taste exactly the same, and last in your freezer for months. Also, blueberries have been shown to improve long-term cognitive functioning and improve memory.
Parfaits could not be easier to make -- just throw some low-fat Greek yogurt in a jar with your toppings of choice and you’re good to go. Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, and is, to be frank, tastier. For toppings, we recommend roasted walnuts and diced apples. Walnuts are an easy way to help boost your brain power. They include vitamins and polyphenols which decrease inflammation and help your body combat stress. A simple handful can be filling and yield all of these healthy benefits. Little needs to be said about how healthy apples are -- we all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! But mixing diced apples into your parfait is a new and tasty way to enjoy America’s favorite fruit. Just remember to pack a spoon!
Ultimately, you know what works best for your body and mind. These suggestions are just a few options of the many many available brain foods that are out there. But we hope that you can draw some inspo from these ingredients to prep for your most successful semester yet. Looking for more healthy snack recipes? Click the button below to sign up for Foodsmart for access to our thousands of dietitian approved recipes!