The foods you eat not only impact your bodily functions, but also affect your brain. While sugar is the brain's primary energy source, too much can be bad for the body, and impair learning and memory skills by slowing down the brain. Since midterm season is just beginning, I've got the perfect wholesome and healthy snacks to keep your brain fueled and energized—minus the added sugars that will make you crash. 

1. Dried Mangoes

Emma Sroat

Sweet, tangy, chewy, and fruity, dried mangoes are nature’s candy—a great alternative snack to satisfy your sweet tooth during an intense study session. Dried mangoes contain natural sugars, a preferred energy source by the brain, and provide you with an energy boost amidst a period of low blood sugar. High in soluble and insoluble fiber, dried mangoes promote a healthy digestive gut, and reduce bad cholesterol.

#SpoonTip: When buying dried mangoes at the grocery store, get the kind with no added sugars such as Trader Joe’s “Just Mango Slices” or Made in Nature’s Dried Mangoes.

2. Mixed Nuts

Emma Sroat

Nuts are rich in healthy fats—an exceptional energy source when you’re feeling low on energy. Crunchy and savory, nuts are an easy snack to sneak into the library and keep you from reaching for that bag of potato chips. High in unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, nuts are heart-healthy, and support your cardiovascular system, while reducing inflammation in the body. 

3. Fresh Fruit

Emma Sroat

High in water content, rich in insoluble fiber, and filled with natural complex sugars, fresh fruits are refreshing and delicious. Fruits are the best low fat, complex carbohydrates for your body, and keep you feeling energized and light as you study for long periods of time. From apples to oranges, and strawberries to bananas, choose fruits that suit your tastes, and try to incorporate them into your diet at least once a day.  

4. Oatmeal

Emma Sroat

One of the best sources of soluble fiber for the body, oatmeal is full of complex carbohydrates that fuel your brain without spiking your blood sugar levels. Another heart-healthy superfood, oatmeal can lower your bad LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Incorporate oatmeal into your breakfast to keep you feeling more full and less distracted during your study hours.

#SpoonTip: Add fresh or frozen berries into your oatmeal for aesthetic colors and fruity flavors!

5. Popcorn

Emma Sroat

Popcorn is always a great snack to have on hand. As a whole grain, it is high in fiber and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Not only is it easy to pack and light to carry around in your backpack, popcorn is a versatile snack to satisfy your cravings for something crunchy, yet light.

#SpoonTip: Avoid microwavable popcorn. If buying pre-popped popcorn, make sure that the ingredients only include popcorn, oil, and salt. Try LesserEvil's Buddha Bowl Foods Popcorn, SkinnyPop Popcorn, or Boom Chicka Pop for delicious, healthy popcorn. 

Midterm season doesn’t mean you should skip meals or binge eat those candy bars. If you take the time to plan out your day, making an effort to prepare healthy snacks for your long study hours ahead of time, your body and brain will thank you, but you will thank yourself when you get that A on your midterm.