Hey you. Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking to you, student on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown-surrounded-by-empty-bags-of-crisps-and-boxes-of-cookies. That was quite a mouthful. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. I know all about eating out of boredom. I know about the walks to the kitchen to stretch your legs every once in a while, because there’s not really anywhere else to walk to when you’re studying in your flat the whole day, and how it’s quite useless to go there unless you take something back to your room with you. A family-sized bag of crisps. Chocolate bars. PB&J toast. A stack of cookies, or, if you’re being honest with yourself, grabbing the whole packet to save you the trips back-and-forth. A tub of ice cream. Cake, pie and well.. more cookies. Quite a mouthful, especially when that’s all devoured in one day.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat while studying, because you definitely should. Even though you might be sitting down the whole day, your brains need a lot of energy to be able to effectively absorb knowledge and concentrate for such a long period of time. However, there may be some alternatives to all these lovely unhealthy snacks that will stop your body going into a post-exam food coma.
Roasted chickpeas! With the added bonus of being super easy to make: simply spread chickpeas out on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (or paprika, curry powder or cumin – basically any flavour you want), bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and tada! Your new favourite savoury snack. Let’s throw some facts in here: chickpeas are a great source of protein, fibre, and iron. And I’m not just saying that because it sounds healthy, it means that it will keep you full longer and boost your energy. Alternatively…
Zucchini crisps! Almost as easy as the chickpeas: slice as many zucchini’s as you think you can eat very thinly, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. After you’ve baked them for 25 minutes (while keeping a close eye on them, because they burn easily), pat dry and season with some more salt and pepper. Fewer calories, less processed, but still satisfying those crunchy cravings.
Interested in ice cream?
Frozen grapes! Freeze your fresh grapes overnight and in the morning you’ll have the most refreshing substitute for sugary popsicles or ice cream. Alternatively…
A smoothie! If you can get your hands on a blender, smoothies make for a super filling and super healthy snack. To keep it cheap, blitz yoghurt, frozen berries, a banana (and some spinach if you’re feeling green) and some milk together for a yummy summery snack.
Considering chocolate, cakes or cookies?
Dates! Nature’s dessert, just as healthy as they are delicious. Another good thing about them is that you can pair them with other ingredients, such as goat’s cheese or bacon, to create proper fancy savoury or sweet snacks.
Simply something to snack on?
Trail mix! I know you’re not hiking Ben Nevis right now, but sometimes studying can feel as draining. Trail mix comes in a thousand variations, but it’s always full of energy-packed ingredients: nuts (like almonds, peanuts or cashews), dried fruits (dried cherries, banana or apple), seeds (pumpkin or sunflower), grains and something sweet to round it off (dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes or raisins). But rather than making a mix yourself, it’s a lot more convenient to just get it at the supermarket. Alternatively…
Almonds! Or pecans, cashews, peanuts, walnuts – as long as the nuts are unsalted, they’re really healthy too, in addition to being convenient, tasty and easy to eat on the go.
Veggies! A crunchy snack that’s healthy and gives you your daily dose of nutrients. Cucumber, carrots, peppers, celeries or whatever else you fancy, chopped up and dipped in hummus or sour cream will surely get you studying for another hour, or until the next walk to the kitchen.
A final note – I’m not a nutritionist, and usually just eat whatever I can get my hands on while I’m studying. When you’re stressing out about exams, the last thing you should be doing is adding extra stress by worrying about what kind of food (or how much of it) you’re eating. So, if you can’t be bothered to go all fancy and make zucchini crisps, just grab that bag of normal crisps and tuck in. But hopefully I’ve provided some ideas to spice up your snacking habits and keep the cravings away. Happy studying!