Fuel endless study sessions with smart snacks.

To help you power through one of those dreaded, exam-cramming nights in the library, you’ll probably want a limitless supply of munchies and many cups of caffeine. But before you wash down that greasy bag of chips with your bazillionth Red Bull, consider swapping ‘em for treats that leave you feeling energized and motivated, rather than bloated and lethargic. Here are some foolproof ideas for inspiration:

  • Non-starchy veggies with low-cal dip, salsa, or hot sauce… or ¼ cup of hummus or guacamole, for extra staying power. Choose from a laundry list of high-volume produce: cucumber slices, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower…You get it.
  • Air-popped popcorn. Add ¼ cup of kernels to a brown paper bag, fold the edge to seal, and microwave for two minutes. You can even mist your popcorn with oil spray and top it with a dash of Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, or your favorite seasoning (cinnamon, hot chili powder) for a tasty kick. No microwave access? Bags of light popcorn from the grocery store will also do the trick.
  • Grapes, fresh or frozen.  They’re sweet, non-messy, and only about 100 calories per cup (that’s half the calories in a cup of chips, or ¼ the amount in a cup of gummy candy).  As an added bonus, purple grapes contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that can boost your brainpower.
  • Mini flavored rice cakes.
  • Lollipops. I know this one may seem crazy coming from a nutritionist, but they’re less than 100 calories apiece and will occupy your taste buds for a while. (They may even outlive your appetite!) Sometimes all you need is a little flavor, not a full-fledged food fix.

A final word on study beverages: Skip the pricey energy drinks and stick with coffee. A cup o’ Joe contains more caffeine than a Red Bull (who knew?!) and it provides healthy antioxidants for far fewer calories. If you’re not into coffee, hop on the green- or black-tea bandwagon. You can even double your dosage, since tea contains half the caffeine of coffee, per cup.

Exam Brain-Boosters 

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