Finals week is every college student's worst nightmare. Each new semester you think to yourself, “this semester will be different, I’m going to budget my time, make my study guides, be able to socialize, and get eight hours of sleep on top of acing my finals.” We all like to think like this before finals, yet the majority of us, myself included, are totally lying to ourselves.

Here is a finals food guide to help you think less about what to eat, so you have more time to study and to do so effectively. Who would’ve known that eating certain foods can help improve your grades? Eating = studying, so don’t beat yourself up over taking time to refuel throughout your busy week.


This could be the start of something new.

Breakfast: Omelette 

Omelette on Flickr

It's the most important meal of the day, so let's start it off right. Why not start it out with a nice omelet? Preparing a healthy and delicious omelette will make you feel like you've got your life together.

Try a spinach, cheese, and bacon omelet. How does this omelet affect your studying and test taking you may wonder? Well spinach is known for slowing the age-related decline of your brain function. In simpler terms, spinach keeps you mentally young and your brain agile.  

When a majority of us think bacon, we think bad things, but bacon is actually good for you...To an extent. I’m not telling you to live off of bacon (I don’t need people’s clogged arteries on my conscience). What I am telling you is that when consumed in moderation, bacon can provide you with the protein needed for maintaining high levels of energy.

Cheese is essential not only for flavor, but it turns out that cheese can actually improve your heart function. A recent study in France showed that less French people die from cardiovascular complications due to their cheese intake. Cheese keeps you going. While you’re enjoying this tasty treat, you can think of how it’s going to help you ace that accounting final you’ve been stressing about. 

Snack of the Day: Brain Mix (a smart take on trail mix) 

Trail mix is an easy on-the-go snack that takes minutes to make. It's perfect for travel—going to take a final, to the library, and back to another final.

This trail mix includes pumpkin seeds, which do not only add a special flavor to your trail mix but they are also known to help fight depression. While finals should not cause depression, they can be an upsetting time, so instead of stressing just eat some pumpkin seeds. Also, pumpkin flavored anything is always a must.

Now, to add a tasty factor to this mix throw in some dark chocolate (your choice M&Ms, chocolate chips, or a piece of a chocolate bar cut up) I don’t care what you do, just eat some dang chocolate—your brain and your grades will thank you. Dark chocolate is known for improving your energy and focus while fighting off stress. Dark chocolate is basically the superhero of midterms week.

Energy, focus, and happiness are great things to have during this stressful week, but what you really need is the ability to process information. Have no fear, almonds are here. Almonds not only add their nutty taste, but also their ability to help your brain process mass amounts of information and help you make connections; a must for test taking.

Lunch: Chicken Pita

cucumber, avocado, cheese, chicken
Abigail Wilkins

A portable lunch is key, because who has time to stop and eat when you have midterms to study for and papers to write!? Also chicken has great brain benefits in addition to its protein and health factors. Chicken helps fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s, aka it helps you remember stuff. So when you pass your finals don’t forget to thank the chicken.

Cucumbers help you stay hydrated, which can help your focus, since it’s basically made up of water. The dressing just adds to the flavor because you don’t want your brain food to be gross or why would you eat it? Duh. Check out a quick lunch recipe here

Dinner: Broccoli Parmesan Pasta

Basically a no brainer. Carbohydrates like pasta are essential to fueling your body for the long night of studying you have ahead. This dish also includes parmesan cheese (heart health people) and broccoli, which adds some flavor and helps to improve your brain's cognitive function. So when people ask why you are eating this, tell them the modified wisdom of everyone’s favorite jam, in order to pass “all ya gottta do is eat that broccoli.” 


You are already one day down of your long week, only four more to go!

Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl

On day two of finals your stress is starting to rise. Since you don’t have time to make yourself an omelette, like you did the previous day, a quick solution is a smoothie bowl.

All of the ingredients in this recipecan help your grades tremendously without you even realizing. We already know the secret of the almond, so almond milk does the same thing without the crunch. 

The right combination of fruits will optimize your health and wellness. The berries help your brain function while improving your motor skills and ability to learn. Mangoes have been known to help clear your skin, so this addition will help fight those stress breakouts before they happen. At the same time mangoes work to boost your immune system, because the last thing you need is to get sick during this crucial week.

Peaches have stress fighting ability like a lot of food, but did you know they also help reduce hair loss? Bananas are basically red bull without the health risks, these super fruits help boost your energy without the added caffeine and sugar.

Snack: Pomegranates

pomegranate, juice, berry, pasture, sweet
Dina Zaret

I don’t even need to tell you about how great of a study snack this fruit is, Spoon already has.

Lunch: Salmon and Chickpea Salad

smoked salmon chickpea salad-4

jules:stonesoup on Flickr

Another favorite brain food is fish. A salmon chickpea salad is not only super yummy, but also helpful to your noodle. Salmon is a way to say thank you to your brain for all the hard work it has done, and still has to do.

The veggies have a crazy amount of benefits for your health and your brain so the more veggies the better. Chickpeas are also crazy good for your heart, so love yourself and eat some peas.

Dinner: Tacos 

Day two is almost done, and since it's Tuesday we all know what that means: Taco Tuesday. How do you justify eating a taco and have it be a key component in your study regime? Easy, make it a chicken taco (hello chicken is your body and brain's bff) or fish, because fish are friends (for your brain) and food, sorry Nemo.

Also, guacamole is a definite benefit for your taco because, guac is the best and avocados can help improve your cognition. So enjoy some tacos, because you and your brain deserve them.

Wednesday (aka HUMP DAY)

You made it halfway through this week. You can see the finish line, but remember like all things midterms is a 5K (five day), not a sprint. So pace yourself and you can do it.

Breakfast: Avocado Egg Toast 

It’s Wednesday and you’re tired...Believe me, I get it. The last thing you want to do is make yourself a crazy breakfast, so let’s go back to basics and have some toast. “Wait, toast, how is that supposed to fill me up and help me pass my finals?"

This is not just your average toast and butter, oh no, this is avocado egg toast. Eggs because you need your protein and the power, and let us not forget the benefits of avocado.

Check out how to make this awesome breakfast here. 

Lunch: Edamame Salad

It's lunch time and you’re running around like a crazy person because you have two finals and no time. Sorry to burst your bubble, you do have time. Stop stressing and take a second to eat. Have you ever tried driving a car without any fuel? It gets you nowhere, that’s basically how the rest of your day will go if you skip lunch. So you need something quick, easy, and substantial to get you through till you can snack or eat dinner.

Check out this bomb edamame saladEdamame helps keep your body healthy and strong. You’ll need this while you try to carry all the textbooks whose information you meant to read throughout the semester but couldn’t get to.

Snack: Chocolate Raisins 

I recommend carrying a bag of dark chocolate yogurt raisins. Raisins provide you with the energy you need and they are covered in the superhero of midterms…Dark chocolate. Not to mention they’re super yummy, affordable, and perfect for on-the-go snacking.

Dinner: Sushi 

You have successfully made it halfway through your week, this calls for celebration. Instead of a boring fish meal for dinner, go out for sushi, treat yourself. Fish is a well-known brain food, not to mention the fact that brown rice has heart benefits, helps lower cholesterol, and is a super healthy alternative to white rice.

So go out eat some sushi and when people cannot believe you went out to dinner during midterms just tell them you only did so because you want your best shot at a good grade. Also, if you spend too much time studying you might fry your brain before the end of the week, which is a big no-no.



Breakfast: Parfait 

You simply do not have the time or energy to think about preparing a meal. Solution: grab a yogurt out of your fridge, throw some cereal/granola in, fruit jam on top, mix in some fruit of your choosing, and you've got breakfast on the go.

The granola in the yogurt helps lower your cholesterol, adds some texture to the meal, and help your heart help your body. Choose from any of the study enhancing fruit mentioned at any point in this article. Throw in some fruit jam for extra energy to make it through the day and fight off your stress.

Snack: Apple

Grab an apple and go, because an apple a day keeps the bad grades away! Apples not only whiten your teeth and are super refreshing, but they also help fight brain aging (forgetting things), improve your immune system, and overall keeps your brain healthy.

Lunch: Caprese Salad 

This easy recipe won’t only satisfy your taste buds, but your grades will say “thank you” too.

Headache from so much information? Basil has the same effect as aspirin and ibuprofen on the brain, so this recipe is already off to a great start. Tomatoes rock—they help your heart, fight off high blood pressure from stress, and improve your eye sight. Mozzarella cheese fights off migraines, improves blood pressure, and strengthens your body. This meal is easy to make and ready to take on the go, eat it you won’t regret it.

Dinner: PB and Nutella Sandwich 

You just have that feeling it’s going to be another late night in the library. You have yet to eat dinner, so make yourself a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. You deserve it! Peanut butter is packed with the nutrients and the good fats that you need. Nutella in addition to being one of the greatest things to ever exist boosts your energy. Not to mention this meal will be sure to fill you up for the long night of studying ahead.


LAST DAY, YOU MADE IT. Time to celebrate!

Breakfast: French Toast 

banana, french toast, toast, syrup, caramel, butter
Tara McBride

Treat yourself to some French toast. It’s filling, delicious, and cinnamon is super high in nutrients. You deserve it.

Lunch: You Do You 

pizza, arugula, mozzarella, cheese
Tara McBride

Hopefully, at this point in your day you are done with mid-terms or only have one thing left on your to do list. Head over to your favorite place on campus to eat and pick whatever satisfies you, because you’ve had a long week and you deserve the best of the best.

Dinner: Treat Yo Self 

Tara McBride

YOU MADE IT THROUGH ANOTHER WEEK OF MIDTERMS. This means celebration time, grab your besties and head to your squads favorite restaurant and make it a GNO because hey you’ve ate a lot of brain food you can take a break from it. As an added bonus stop for ice cream, because ice cream is calcium right?

Hope you enjoyed this meal plan to help you survive finals—happy studying and eating!