Finals week is looming at UC Davis. It's impossible to get a seat at a coffee shop, and our diets suddenly consist of delivery pizza, highly-caffeinated beverages and gummy bears. Having a healthy diet often goes on the back burner when it comes to the pressure of studying, but it's important for us to practice self-care in these stressful times. Feeding ourselves properly is the first step to preserving both physical and mental health. Whenever you feel your head starting to get light or your bones starting to chill, try taking on one of these low-maintenance recipes to ease your mind, stomach and soul

1. Infused Hot Chocolate 

coffee, pastry, bread, chocolate, croissant, sweet, hot chocolate, cafe, breakfast
Caroline Ingalls

Nothing says cozy and self-care more than chocolate, it's been proven to be an overall mood booster. If you believe in the effects of aroma therapy, perhaps you could tweak it a little bit with your favorite florals or spices. The next time you need a hot cocoa fix, try dropping a cinnamon stick and grate some nutmeg in there for a little bit of warmth. If you want something refreshing, you could also tear up some mint leaves or break a peppermint candy into your favorite hot cocoa mix. My personal favorite is to steep in some lavender buds and Earl Grey loose tea for ultimate relaxation.

#SpoonTip: Spiking hot chocolate with Bailey's or peppermint schnapps is an awesome way to unwind after a heavy night of studying.

2. Lentil Stew

soup, vegetable, parsley, legume, split peas
Rachael Piorko

A hearty stew in this cold winter is perfect for keeping you full and warm. Lentils are great because they're cheap, fill you up, and can take on a great deal of flavor if you season them properly. Making a lentil stew sounds like a labor of love, but it's definitely possible to make this with minimal effort. All it takes is a day where you plan on studying in your living room (or a slow cooker, you don't want to burn the house down), and dropping some bacon, wine and chicken stock in a pot. The best part is that a big batch of this will last you throughout your entire exam week. Other possible soup/stews include minestrone, or Portuguese soup

3. Glorified Instant Ramen

vegetable, rice, sauce, ramen
Ashly Kim

Real talk: I am a serious anti-instant ramen advocate. I do understand however, that desperate times call for desperate measures (and perhaps the packets from Asian stores are deemed acceptable). If you don't have the time for a sit-down restaurant, there are plenty of ways to make your instant ramen seem like more of a meal. Adding a poached or hard boiled egg, and some slices of pork belly (or chicken, or ground meat, whatever you please) to your mix will amp-up the protein factor. The addition of a spoonful of soy sauce and even chopped kimchi will bring out the flavors even more, and frozen veggies will ensure that you're *somewhat* getting your daily vitamin needs. 

4. Roast Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

chicken, pork, barbecue, meat
Christin Urso

I've never met a soul who wasn't comforted by this pairing. Nothing says comfort food and brain food more than a chicken and potatoes. Roasting a whole bird is a daunting task that nobody realistically has time for this week, but chicken thighs and legs come cheap at the store. Seasoning a few pieces with salt, pepper, pre-chopped garlic, thyme and chucking them into the oven takes all of five minutes. Getting of your finals frustrations out on smashing a couple of potatoes isn't a bad way to de-stress either. Recipe here. 

#SpoonTip: the key to the creamiest, fluffiest, tastiest, mashed potatoes is more butter and heavy cream than you think you need, and as little movement as possible on the potatoes to avoid gluten development, which will make them tougher or more rubbery. 

5. One-Pan Salmon and Veggies 

salmon, asparagus, grilled salmon, fish, seafood, smoked salmon, meat, salmon steak
Angela Pizzimenti

The easiest thing to do on a busy night is to throw something on a sheet pan, stick it in the oven, and forget about it while you get your studying done. Salmon is great since it's packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are great for the brain. Paired with asparagus and potatoes, you've got a well-balanced meal perfect keep yourself going when you feel yourself starting to shut down. Recipe here. 

6. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 

cheese, waffle, bread
Alex Frank

There's nothing more comforting to than soup and a sandwich for lunch. Grilled cheese and tomato soup will get you feeling cozy, and send you right back to your childhood. The best part is that you don't even have to make the soup yourself! Trader Joe's has a great tomato soup that comes in a carton, and there are plenty of canned options as well. Grilled cheese takes about five minutes to make (or even less if you have a panini press). Grilled cheese is easily customizable; personal favorite bread and cheese combo is sourdough, gruyere and sharp cheddar. 

#SpoonTip: Make the meal heartier by adding proteins like chicken or ham. You could also bump up the flavor factor with hot sauce or jalapeños. 

7.  Baked Ziti 

meatballs, The Sosta, pesto, pasta
Sabrina Yu

Pasta bakes are wonderful, but no one's got the time or energy to construct a full-on lasagna. Tossing some par-cooked pasta, your favorite jar marinara sauce, ground meat and topping it off with A LOT of cheese will have you a filling meal that will make all of your friends want to come over for a "study session." Recipe here. 

#SpoonTip: Make it vegetarian with by sauteéing a lot of portobello mushrooms instead of cooking ground meat. 

BONUS: Infused Water

water, citrus, strawberry, cucumber, lime, Infused Water
Jordi Almeida

I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated! Our bodies need water to survive, and while coffee has proven to be the nectar of life, it is also incredibly dehydrating. Now that it's citrus season, fill up your reusable water bottles with mandarins, blood oranges, Meyer lemons and cara-cara orange slices whenever you need a mind refresher. Sometimes all it takes to cure a headache is a tall glass of water.

Good luck on finals, everyone. Don't forget to kiss the egghead, and happy holidays!