While furiously typing away at my first midterm paper of the semester, I remembered what helped me push through my first ten-pager of college last October: snack experimentation. Though too much snacking may leave you with an upset stomach and a handful of regrets—and I speak from experience—mindful snacking can provide the fuel your body needs and deserves to power through the work. Here are some of my favorite writing snacks, tailored for each stage of the writing process.

1. Brainstorming: Juice and Walnuts

beer, juice, oil, tea
Susie Choi

Few things scream "fresh start" better than a smoothie or cold-pressed juice (your pick). My favorite is BluePrint's Pineapple Apple Mint: the pineapple-mint combo provides a refreshing kick and serves as a welcome alternative to the iced coffee that is likely already coursing through your veins.

popcorn, granola, sweet, walnut, nut, honey, corn, cereal
Torey Walsh

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to memory enhancement. Apart from this possible benefit to brain function, the fiber in walnuts is sure to keep you fuller, longer. Though you may encounter many distractions while trying to write, a growling stomach won't be one of them. Clear eyes, full bellies, can't lose.

2. Outlining: Dark Chocolate

In my opinion, the most overwhelming step of the writing process. Where does one even begin? Snacking that keeps you content and motivated is in order. 

chocolate, coffee, beer
Susie Choi

Chocolate addicts rejoice: some studies have suggested that consuming dark chocolate triggers the release of endorphins, which facilitate the alleviation of anxiety. But really, who needs studies to know that dark chocolate is a mood-booster?   

Starting a paper is difficult enough with a sugar crash, so be wary of added sugars. I recommend Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with 88% Cocoa, with has 5g of sugar per 43 grams (as opposed to 13g of sugar in 36g of Dark Chocolate LINDOR Truffles). 

3. First Draft: Apples, Pretzels + Nut Butter

Susie Choi

Ensuring that each body paragraph's concluding sentence ties back to your thesis quickly becomes repetitive, so you'll need a snack that offers a variety of textures. Pair Barney & Co.'s Vanilla Bean and Espresso Almond Butter with pretzels and apple slices to keep things interesting

4. Revision & Peer Review: Hot Tea

sweet, cappuccino, cream, espresso, tea, milk, coffee
Rosalind Chang

This stage makes me a little nervous. What if I discover fatal holes in my logic? What if my friend thinks I'm a terrible writer?

To approach the revision and review stage with confidence and calmness, drink some tea. I usually opt for chamomile if I'm looking to relax, and jasmine if I'm looking for something fragrant, but drink whatever suits you/your situation best. 

Add milk, honey, lemon, or get creative.

5. Final Editing: Goji Berries


chois2020 on Flickr

Goji berries have been connected to increased energy and improved focus, just what you need for final editing. Even without the potential health and attention benefits, however, these berries' candy-like chewiness and bittersweet edge will keep your eyelids from drooping as you comb through your sentences to check for comma splices.

6. Submitting: Donuts

Perfectly-portioned, healthy snacks can wait. Go treat yo' self.

Try out these snacks. Or don't, and create your own writing snack ritual, featuring whichever foods make you feel a little bit more sane after hours of analyzing Dostoevsky or neuroscience research. Happy snacking!