Finals week is fast approaching, which means it’s that time of semester again: RRR week (aka dead week). College students are already a pretty high-stress, low-nutrition bunch, and dead week can just make it all worse. But dead week doesn't have to be all about ramen and cheap food from Asian Ghetto. Here are seven dead week diet hacks to maximize your studying potential – and health – this semester. 

1. Eat breakfast 

Luna Zhang

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know that eating breakfast can boost your metabolism AND your test scores? This study found that students who ate breakfast scored higher on their exams than students who didn't. Eating breakfast also improves concentration and short-term memory retention for some extra effective dead week cramming. Remember to include some protein, fruit, and whole grains to maximize the benefits. 

2. Eat whole grains 

rye bread, wheat bread, crust, rye, flour, cereal, bread, wheat
Sarah Silbiger

Dead week is all about productivity, and there's no better way to be productive than to load up on whole grains. Our bodies needs carbohydrates for energy, but not all carbs are good carbs. Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice are made of complex sugars that take longer to break down and absorb, making whole grains a reliable source of energy to keep your body and your brain going for longer. 

3. Replace energy drinks with coffee (or tea)

mocha, milk, cappuccino, espresso, coffee
Gabby Phi

We're college students, and caffeine is our lifeblood. But before you reach for that energy drink this dead week, consider this: energy drinks and coffee have similar amounts of caffeine, but coffee can give you the energy boost without the extra sugar and other questionable additives. Coffee consumption also has widely documented health benefits. To fully capitalize on coffee's caffeine boost, drink it between 10 am to 12 pm, or between 2 pm and 5 pm, and limit yourself to two-three 8 oz cups a day. And if you end up reaching for that energy drink, try to drink just half of it; your body will thank you later. 

4. Eat fish

wasabi, meat, tuna, rice, seafood, fish, sashimi, salmon, sushi
Jocelyn Hsu

My mom has been telling me that eating fish will make me smarter for ages, and I wish I had believed her earlier. Fortunately for me (and you), it's never too late to introduce a good habit, and what better time to do it than dead week?

 Eating fish at least once a week is correlated with more gray matter in brain areas that govern cognition and memory. It also increases blood flow to your brain and boosts mental performance during challenging tasks. For vegetarians, fish-oil supplements may do the trick. Eat fatty, cold-water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel and herring once a week for a healthy habit that will help every dead week, not just this one. 

5. Eat regularly 

Torey Walsh

When dead week comes around, your normal schedule goes out the window, and so do your normal mealtimes. It's important to eat regularly to keep energy and focus levels high during the day. You don't have to eat three big meals a day. Around five to six smaller meals and snacks, spaced evenly, will give your brain the steady fuel it needs to keep on that grind. And no early-am indulging either. 

6. Eat avocados

toast, vegetable, bread
Heather Feibleman

We Californians love our avocados, which means they're in abundant supply, and there's really no excuse for not eating more. Avocados are a secret brain-food: they improve blood flow (and therefore oxygen input) to your brain, help keep neuron membranes flexible and improve critical thinking. They also promote the production of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter that is important for memory and learning), and supplement vitamins essential for brain function. And, since avocados can be eaten in so many ways, they're easy to incorporate into any diet. 

7. Drink water 

alcohol, lemon, lime, mint, ice, sweet, cocktail, juice
Jonathan Hsu

This one's pretty obvious, but it's on the list because hydration is something that a lot of college students don't take seriously. Drinking enough water maintains body fluid balance, improves kidney function, promotes weight loss, and results in clearer skin, but water also has less-known study benefits. Drinking water improves focus, fights fatigue and even directly leads to higher test scores. Drink around 64 oz a day (and remember to take a water bottle to every final) to crush your finals this semester.

Dead week can be grueling, but it's important to maintain healthy eating habits throughout to keep your body and brain at maximum performance. Studying will be more efficient and produce better results if your body is well taken care of, so remember to take care of yourself this finals season!