Almost all college students know the struggle of midterm stress and craziness. One minute, you're taking a midterm exam. The next, you're trying to finish your midterm paper. The grind is real. How can we ever win this constant battle? Sure, trying to maintain your energy for midterms is a constant struggle, but there is a practical (and delicious) solution. These five foods will give your brain and body the boost that they need before delving into the rigors of test-taking and essay-writing.

1. Oatmeal

porridge, cereal, milk, oatmeal, sweet, muesli, rice
Christin Urso

Often overlooked or characterized as bland, oatmeal is actually a whole-grain that is rich in beta-glucan, which is a type of fiber that helps to slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood. Glucose is what provides our cells with energy, and its slow absorption over time leads to a steadier stream of energy being provided to the body. Oatmeal also contains a variety of minerals and vitamins that help the body produce energy, like vitamin B that helps with cognition and blood cell production. A bowl of oatmeal serves up the perfect start to your midterm day. It can be customized in so many different ways by adding ingredients like fruit, almond butter, cocoa nibs, and nuts. 

2. Eggs

egg yolk, egg, fried egg, bread, milk, cream, dairy product, coffee, butter
Helena Lin

Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients that people often can access and enjoy globally. Eggs contain a significant amount of vitamin D, which helps improve the brain's cognitive function. With improved cognition, the brain is better equipped to perform memory tasks and has the ability to focus more closely on one subject. In addition to vitamin D, egg yolks also contain a nutrient called choline, which is converted to acetylcholine in the brain. This conversion helps to improve memory functions and can improve neural connections. Start off your day with some scrambled eggs or an egg sandwich, and you'll be fully prepared for your recall of information. 

3. Beans

cereal, coffee, black beans, espresso, cappuccino, beans
Rose Gerber

The humble bean is a protein that is often overlooked in favor of meats or meat substitutes like tofu, but beans should not be overlooked any longer. They are high in protein and are an excellent source of energy. Beans contain folate and magnesium which can help with brain development. These substances also counteract the effects of memory-loss diseases such as Alzheimer's. Beans are high in complex carbohydrates and protein that provide long-lasting energy to your body and your brain. This energy comes from the fact that beans are low in sugar and high in fiber, so the energy they provide is not the result of a quick sugar rush, but instead from the more time-consuming process of fiber breakdown. This allows energy to be released and utilized over a longer period of time, making beans an ideal addition to your meal before an exam. Try using beans as your exclusive burrito bowl protein or as a tasty protein-booster in a salad. There are also many bean-based recipes that you can try out for yourself, so you'll never get bored.

4. Berries

berry, pasture, blueberry, sweet, bilberry, blackberry
Jocelyn Hsu

Many varieties of berries have properties that are helpful for energy sustenance. Goji berries, blueberries, and bananas (yes, actually a type of berry!) are all good sources of chemical energy for your midterms that can help keep you motivated. Goji berries are labeled a "superfood" and one serving can count for nearly 10 percent of your daily protein intake. These small berries, which are usually eaten dried, are similar to beans because they both contain complex carbs that raise blood sugar slowly over time, leading to sustainable energy level increases. Blueberries contain flavonoids, helpful in improving spatial memory, as well as gallic acid, which aids in protecting the brain from being negatively affected by stress. Finally, bananas are full of potassium, vitamin B6, and carbohydrates, which all help with slow-release energy production through their breakdown by the body. Snack on these little energy-nuggets on their own or mix them into a smoothie for an on-the-go energy source. 

5. Dark chocolate

chocolate, coffee, candy, sweet, milk chocolate, milk
Christin Urso

If you feel like you are in need of a "treat-yo-self moment," opt for some dark chocolate that is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are biological molecules that help to enhance blood flow throughout the whole body. Improved blood flow, especially to the brain, keeps you more alert and less prone to mental fatigue. Dark chocolate and coffee are both produced from the cocoa bean, so dark chocolate also contains caffeine but in small doses. While the caffeine in dark chocolate stimulates intellectual energy, its low levels of caffeine prevent you from experiencing the energy crash that you could have when coming off a caffeine high from coffee. Eat a few ounces before heading into an exam or make a dark chocolate/banana chip/goji berry trail mix for a trip energy boost. 

If you are still struggling to motivate yourself to start studying for your midterms or to write that midterm essay, eat one or more of these snacks and let their remarkable energy-producing and brain-power-strengthening abilities take effect, nudging you in the right direction. Maintain a balanced diet and add in these foods to reach your maximum productivity potential on the days of your exams. This way, when it comes time for your exams, you will have all the knowledge and mental vitality from these foods to put forth your best effort.