Healthy snacks help students during finals week

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An assortment of fruit surround and fills a white ceramic bowl.

By Haley Bickelhaupt, Staff Writer

For college students, finals week is regarded as one of the most stressful times of the semester. Studying, writing papers and turning in projects — it is no wonder this time can be full of tension and anxiety. This extra stress can cause students to reach out for food in an attempt to comfort themselves, all while struggling to stay afloat amidst their busy schedules. While it is important to keep our bodies fueled and ready to work hard, the food you tend to reach most for is typically low in nutritional value. Foods  low in nutritional value tend to only provide short-term energy. Before you reach for another delicious, homemade cookie your mom made to celebrate the end of the semester, try one of these healthy alternatives instead! They can ensure you have the energy you need to stay productive through this busy season!

Apple slices and peanut butter

One of the most important rules of picking healthy snacks is to pair a protein with a nutritional carbohydrate. Sliced apples dipped in peanut butter contributes both macronutrients, as well as satisfying the peanut butter lover in you! Not a fan of apples or peanut butter? Try switching out these ingredients with a different fruit and pair it with an alternative nut butter. Banana and cashew butter, a pear and almond butter; the possibilities are endless with this fantastic duo!

Protein bites

Are you a fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups but looking to cut back on the savory treat? If you are searching for a healthy alternative, try some homemade protein bites. These high energy, bite-sized portions are commonly composed of peanut butter, oatmeal, protein powder, honey, chia seed and mini chocolate chips. Not only does this recipe make for a nutritious snack, it can also provide a quick breakfast or a sweet treat. You can find different varieties of this recipe.

Crackers, cheese and lunchmeat

Another great snack to give you the energy needed to finish the semester strong is a combination of crackers, cheese and your choice of lunchmeat. This snack combines carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. With a plethora of alternatives available to mix and match, your brain and stomach will thank you for this snack. Fueling your body with these key nutrients will provide you with the best focus going into exam week.

Popcorn paired with protein

Often thought of as the perfect movie snack to accompany a fantastic film, popcorn also makes a great study snack. This snack is very easy to make and eat. For a healthy alternative, try limiting the oil and butter used to make this product to help reduce calorie intake. Paired up with a handful of almonds, this delicious treat will provide you with the perfect energy to finish that last test.

This exam week, be sure to take the time to properly fuel both your body and mind. Staying hydrated and eating nutritious foods will not only increase your focus during this busy season, but also improve overall mood and positivity. Yes, it is important to implement healthy snacks into your overall diet, but always remember: It is perfectly acceptable to indulge in a homemade cookie or two after a grueling exam of the semester.

Haley is a freshman in ACES.

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