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The time of year we have all been dreading since August is almost here, and it comes bearing gifts of stress and anxiety. Obviously, taking finals is not our favorite time of the semester, but there is one thing that can make it better (because it makes everything better)…FOOD! While most of the time when we are stressed we just want to grab some junk food and call it a day, there are alternatives that can help your brain and satiate your stomach while you hunker down to write that final paper or study for that last exam. Here are a few very simple options with suggestions about how to enhance each one!

1) Fruit. This one seems obvious and simple, but a lot of fruits have the vitamins you need to keep you going and have that sweet taste to help fill the desire for sugar. If you’re looking for snack that will fill you up more, try adding some peanut butter or another spread. Dried fruit is another good choice if you want a snack to stay with you all day. As odd as they seem, apple sauce pouches are very convenient and tasty!


2) Peanuts or any other kind of nut. Sometimes we want to grab a snack where we can easily pick up pieces and eat while multitasking. Peanuts are a great option because they have so many health benefits and can fill you up pretty fast. There are a huge variety of nuts that come in so many different flavors and seasonings. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, the list keeps going!

3) Fruit snacks. While these may not be the most beneficial as far as what they contribute to your health, they can be a good alternative when you crave something like candy. They are also an easy snack to eat on the go or a quieter snack if you’re studying in the library.


4) Pretzels. Pretzels are a good snack if you want something saltier but are trying to avoid higher fat foods, like chips. You can easily dip them in your favorite spread too. Some options include peanut butter, hummus, Nutella, and even salsa.

5) Carrots. Carrots are on this list for a similar reason that pretzels are. They are a very sweet, versatile vegetable that can be combined with basically any spread from the list above. They also taste great with guacamole if you want to avoid chips because they still offer a nice crunch!

6) Popcorn. If you have access to a microwave, popcorn is a serious must. You can whip it out while you’re studying, or while watching a movie as a much needed study break. You can buy it in a regular popping bag, or if you’re ambitious, try popping fresh kernels! You can buy them in a tub and pop them in a paper lunch bag. Be sure to try other flavors like kettle corn if regular butter isn't cutting it for you.

7) Trail Mix. This is a great choice because you can really customize it to your liking. Some people enjoy the pre-made kind, but you can make it out of anything you like! Some suggestions include: nuts, dried cranberries or other fruit, dark chocolate, raisins, pretzels, and more! Granola is always available in the dining halls, so using that as a base for your trail mix is always a good option. Try adding your favorite cereal too for something extra.


8) Dark Chocolate. Sometimes, it is unavoidable -- that chocolate craving sneaks up on you and there is nothing to do but give in! However, if you are giving in, you might as well indulge with something that has some health benefits. Dark chocolate is chock full of antioxidants and, if consumed in appropriate quantities, has been proven to help brain function.

9) Your Favorite Food. When you’re under a lot of stress, it is okay to indulge once in a while! Take one night of finals to treat yourself to your favorite (even unhealthy) food. Whether it is pizza, Chinese food, or mac and cheese, everyone deserves to relax with their best comfort food because after a whole semester we all deserve it!

If finals are really bringing you down, remember that nice, home-cooked meals are only a week away! Good luck everyone!

Francesca is a senior at Connecticut College double majoring in Biology and Italian. She is from Bethany, CT and is a huge Friends and Greys Anatomy enthusiast!
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