Exam Time- Eating Strategies

Dec. 5, 2019

When studying for exams, many students rely on energy and coffee drinks, and convenience foods to save time. However, these items don’t always provide the fuel your body needs to focus over the long haul. Try adding these snacking strategies to your study plan to keep you energized and (most importantly) help you ace your tests!


Eat at regular intervals - Include snacks in between meals so that you eat every 3-4hours to keep your blood sugar levels up, keeping your mind alert.

Practice mindfulness- Set an alarm every 2-3hrs and consider a quick body scan. Ask yourself if you’re hungry, need some water or need a stretching break.  Taking a moment for self-care will help you stay focused longer.

Don’t fear the carbs- Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the brain. Include complex carbs (100% whole grains, whole wheat, fruits, or vegetables). They have more fiber and will likely keep you more “regular” and full longer.

Include protein and healthy fats- Combining protein and fats with carbs will stabilize blood sugar levels for longer lasting energy and concentration.

Stay hydrated - Nothing tanks concentration quicker than dehydration. Use non-sugary options most of the time: water, tea, or flavored waters.

Keep food safety in mind – Foodborne illnesses will side-line your study schedule. Choose non-perishable foods or keep perishable foods cold with an ice pack in an insulated container.

Plan ahead - Stock up on healthy options at the grocery store. Use the lists below to combine complex carbohydrates with good sources of protein and healthy fats for snacks that provide longer lasting energy.


Complex Carbohydrates:

• Fruit (all fresh/canned in own juice/dried)

• Baby carrots

• Celery sticks

• Bell pepper, cucumber slices

• Any vegetable, really

• Oatmeal

• Whole-grain breads/cereal/crackers

• Bars - grains/nuts/fruit

• Pretzels

• Popcorn

Protein and Healthy Fats:

• Low fat Milk (regular/soy)

• Low fat yogurt (regular/Greek/Soy)

• Cheese (string, Baby Bell, Laughing Cow)

• Cottage cheese

• Hard-boiled eggs

• Peanut butter and other nut butters

• Nuts

• Hummus

• Edamame (soy beans)

• Deli meat (chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef)


Happy Finals week, you got this!!

NutriNews is written by Lisa MacDonald, MPH, RDN and Ashley Munro RDN, CDCES, Nutrition Counselors at the UA Campus Health Service.

Food and nutrition services (including healthy eating, cooking skills, weight concerns, digestive problems, hormonal and cardiovascular conditions, disordered eating and eating disorders) are offered year-round at Campus Health. Call (520) 621-6483 to make an appointment.