Make your snacks work for you

I enjoy snacking. Even though I know all about tooth decay, there are still some times when I crave a sweet, sugary snack. It is important to remember that while those treats are accessible, comforting and delicious, they don’t always leave us in our best condition. The right snack can make a long study session a little more tolerable or provide a much needed energy boost to get through an evening of lab work. It’s obvious that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the healthy options we should be striving for, but when you have these snacks is also important. All nutrition information below is via healthline.com.

Feeling drowsy when studying early or late night? These foods keep you alert and aid in memory retention.

  • Dark chocolate contains many antioxidants, vitamins and a little caffeine. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is for you.
  • Broccoli and leafy greens are high in vitamin K and help your body produce lipids that make up brain cells. When paired with fresh carrots, peppers, tomatoes and dressing on the side, it’s a great pick-me-up.
  • Walnuts have many benefits, but they made the list because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. These help keep your brain healthy and functioning at its best.

Hungry, but still have more work to do before dinnertime?

  • Whole fruits such as avocados and pears contain high levels of fiber that take more time to digest, keeping you full longer. My personal favorite is pairing sliced apples with pretzels and peanut butter. Avocados are versatile and delicious. I like to put them with tuna, spinach and tomatoes for a light salad or sandwich.

  • Oatmeal is also high in fiber. It’s a great choice because you can add berries, nuts or even chocolate for an extra boost.

  • Popcorn can be a satisfying and fun snack with endless flavor options. Just be sure to avoid pre-packaged microwavable popcorn, which has much higher fat, salt and additive content.
  • Water is important while snacking too. Drinking water provides hydration and increases the feeling of fullness with a meal.

Tired? Try these treats when it’s time to relax and take a nap.

  • Bananas contain compounds that are beneficial for sleep such as tryptophan and magnesium.
  • Cheese also has tryptophan to make you sleepy. Pairing it with crackers provides carbs, which also promote sleepiness.
  • Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which helps you get better sleep for a longer duration.

Many of these are touted as “super foods” and can be beneficial in many ways. For example, while water aids in reducing hunger, it also can make you feel more alert. I try to drink water, even if it’s only a few sips, before I eat anything in the morning.

Healthy snacking can elevate your study habits and help you meet each day feeling your best. This is important for any happy, healthy student and can make a big difference.

~ Precious Boston, East Carolina ’20

Precious Boston

Precious Boston, East Carolina '20, has a passion for promoting physical, mental, emotional, occupational and environmental well-being. She is on the district 4 membership engagement committee and is her chapter's newsletter editor. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, exercising and crafting.

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