Ugh. Finals. One of the most mentally taxing, stressful, and physically draining points any college student (or even high school will face. While it’s tempting to pull all-nighters, sit down and study without end, drink gallons of coffee, or eat whatever’s in front of you, it’s important to try to find some balance and be the best version of yourself that you can be in the moment. Here are some of the drinks and snacks I like to have on hand during finals week to fuel my brain and power through some study sessions. I also have a few tips for general studying and wellbeing at the end. Check out the best study snacks that will help you this testing season.

If you need a power drink:

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha
Amy Cho

Water will always be the #1. Make sure you’re hydrated to perform at your best! The rule of thumb is the average person needs to drink about two liters of water a day, plus a glass more for every half hour of exercise. If you want to get technical about it, multiply your body weight (lbs) by 2/3rds to get the number of ounces of water you should drink. So if you weigh about 150 lbs, drink 100 ounces of water, so almost three liters of water. 

If you need some caffeine, try some herbal tea blends like Matcha, black tea, or chai. For coffee lovers, drink whatever version is your favorite. My go-to is simply black coffee with a dash of soy milk. I’m not the biggest fan of energy drinks, but I’ve found caffeinated bottled teas like Guayki’s Yerbe Matte’s have almost double the caffeine of your normal cup of coffee. 

If you want something warm but caffeine-free, try Teccino’s decaf coffees or herbal teas. Other great options are peppermint, decaf roobios, and honey-lemon water. 

If you’re craving something savory:

vegetable, carrot, celery, hummus
Marie Chantal Marauta

Hummus and carrots are a classic fan favorite. My go-to is either homemade using chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and tahini or store-bought classic or Trader Joe’s spicy hummus. If you want to try to make it yourself, Minimalist Baker has a great recipe. 

Cheese and crackers! Protein + carb = yes. You can do this many ways, from Gouda to sharp cheddar cheese, Brie or cashew cheese paired with Ritz or Club crackers, maybe whole wheat or seeded, add a bit of jam...the possibilities are endless! 

Granola bars are a great snack if you need something compact, easy to grab, and tasty! Some of my favorites are Clif Bars, Lärabar, and KIND Bars. Trail mix is also a great option for study snacks. I make my own using roasted almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, and craisins or raisins. 

If you’re craving something sweet:

apple slice, apple, peanut butter, PB, snack, healthy snack, Fruit, nut butter nation
Jocelyn Hsu

Apple + nut butter = POWER food! Sweet fruit + healthy fats and some protein, um yes please?! While peanut butter is a classic, almond or cashew butter are also great options.  

Nutella or alternatives like GOOD GOOD’s chocolate hazelnut spread are a sweet addition to different fruits like bananas or strawberries. You could also pair the spread with some pretzels for a more salty snack.  

Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans will both satisfy your chocolate cravings while giving you a double caffeine boost as both contain the chemical that makes your brain go on hyperdrive. 

If you’re craving something salty:

milk, popcorn, sweet, cream, cereal, butter, cottage cheese, dairy, corn
Sara Carte

Popcorn! Popcorn is a very underrated snack. It’s a whole grain with both fiber and iron and as long as you don’t coat it in too much butter, olive oil, or cheese, it can be a very low-calorie snack if that’s something you care about (which to be honest you really shouldn’t, counting calories and diet culture suck). Anywho, I love Orville’s Naturals (vegan) Popcorn, Boom-chicka-pop, and Skinny Pop (though I always end up adding extra salt and nutritional yeast). For the non-vegans, Smartfood’s White Cheddar Popcorn is amazing! 

Peanut butter stuffed pretzels are savory and salty and all the best things you want in study snacks. Trader Joe’s has a great version but you can also get whatever pretzels and nut butter you want and munch on both during your study session. 

Salted edamame is another less-known option. Simply steam some edamame and salt for a tasty snack! One of my friends really likes eating straight-up pickles as for study snacks, which I personally am not a fan of but it’s an option-- but pickles really are having a moment.

Make sure you: 

Exercising, working out, motivation, music, exercise, Work Out, gym, hydrate, hydration, Sneakers, water, fitness
Denise Uy

Eat regularly. Three meals, snacks in between, basically have something every 3-5 hours, otherwise, your body may go into hangry emergency hunger mode and you’re more likely to lose focus, get angry, or overeat when you finally do get food.

Drink a lot of water. Hydrate or dry-drate! Water before coffee always, try to have at least a glass before going for your morning cuppa’ since coffee is technically a dehydrator. 

Get sleep! I cannot stress the importance of this one. While it’s tempting to pull an all-nighter (or several) you and your brain will function so much better if you get at least 6-7 hours of sleep, though the goal is always 8+. Most scientists recommend between 7-9 hrs/night for the average adult, but some people may need more and others can function on a little less, so do what works best for you. 

Move your body. Stretch, go for walking study breaks, run or do a short workout. It’s good to at least get up and walk around a bit every hour or so. Stretch to avoid cramps and even if you can do a five or ten minute core workout I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel better after. 

Take breaks.  I mean mental breaks, as in don’t focus on homework during those breaks and instead do something that takes your mind off of the work like calling a friend or making a delicious dinner or going for a run. 

Don’t stress too much. This one is hard, but remember it’s not the end of the world if you fall behind or don’t get everything done. You will survive. School is not everything, there is much more to life than getting a perfect score on your chemistry exam. 

Best of luck!