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How to Stay Healthy (and Happy) During Finals

It’s here. Hillman Library is filled with stacks of textbooks and sleeping bags. Students wait in the coffee kiosk line with bags under their eyes. It is finals week.

Though it’s important to push yourself to do well in (AKA pass) your classes, there’s no reason why you can’t keep yourself healthy while studying. Who knows, it could actually give you better results!

Food= Fuel

It might be really easy to walk to 7-11 and grab a bag of chips or order pizza, but here are some other options to keep you fueled for those long study sessions:

1. Try tea instead of coffee!

Coffee is a diuretic so it makes you dehydrated. It also can make some individual’s stomachs uncomfortable. Furthermore, if you like sugar, flavoring, and creamer in your coffee, you are adding large amounts of calories every time you need another cup of joe. Most tea has less caffeine than coffee, and it is a hydrating beverage. It also is very rejuvenating, soothing, and filled with antioxidants!

2. Water, Water, Water!

Buy yourself a cute water bottle and carry it around all finals week. It is so important to stay hydrated, especially when you’re staying up late. Your body is made up of over 60% water, so drink up! Try a lemon or orange slice in your water for more flavor.

3. Pack some snacks!

You can save precious studying time and money by packing some snacks.  Even if you are an underclassman living in the dorms, you can find some great items at QuickZone or IGA (the grocery store on Forbes Ave).

The Snack List!

Try some of these suggested snacks to make your study sessions as healthy as possible:

  • Baby Carrots with 2 Tablespoons Hummus
  • Greek Yogurt with a little bit of granola
  • Apple slices with 2 Tablespoons of PB
  • Skim Milk Cheese stick
  • Slices of Bell pepper and celery
  • Banana
  • Whole grain tortilla chips with salsa
  • Handful of trail mix
  • If you are having a crazy candy craving- try a square of Ghirardelli’s chocolate or a small pack of Junior Mints!

4. Take out Tips!

If you have absolutely no food at home (or Dining Dollars left), eating take out doesn’t always have to be unhealthy.


  • Panera’s “You Pick Two” with the Mediterranean Salad and Black Bean Soup
  • Dunkin’s Egg-White Flatbread
  • Hello Bistro Salad (Just don’t go overboard on the dressing.)
  • If you want delivery, check out Pita Pit! You can get a whole wheat pita with lots of veggies inside.

Keep Moving

Though you may feel as though you’re glued to your chair during finals week, it is important to move a little. It will be refreshing for your brain, a stress reliever, and good for your body.

  • Take a walk around the library! Something is better than nothing. Grab a friend and catch up while taking a few laps outside. If you’re feeling really ambitious take a quick walk to Schenley Park and back!
  • The Bellefield and William Pitt Union gyms are both on campus and don’t require a long uphill journey like the Peterson Events Center does. Take a 30 minute gym and shower break! You’ll feel incredible and ready to study again!

Give your brain a break

This is my 9th time around the finals block. I promise you that a 30-minute productive, out-of-the-library break isn’t going to change your final grade. It will actually help!

  • A lot of campus clubs are having their end of the year performances and showcases, so go check them out!
  • Stop to snack: Don’t mindlessly eat. Not only are you not helping your body realize when its full, you’re not taking the time to enjoy food. Even if it’s for five minutes, stop, then snack.

Last but not least, STAY POSITIVE. Use your support systems and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Best of luck!

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

I'm a Nutrition and Dietetics student at Pitt. When I'm not cooking, I'm teaching ballet, attempting yoga poses, and buying shoes.
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