By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Noshing as you study can help you stay alter and focused on your work.
Although candy, sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages and salty snacks may seem good choices for energizing you, they lead to an inevitable crash.
When consumed in excess, poor health is the outcome. Fueling your study session with wholesome food can also help support health and avoid gaining weight.
Most people need to work more produce into their diets. Laurel Sterling, registered dietitian, nutrition and educator with Carlson Laboratories in Canastota, recommends raw carrots, snow peas, broccoli and peppers with hummus.
The veggies offer vitamins and minerals and hummus is rich in protein for supporting muscle and fiber for helping you feel full and improving digestion. Most grocery stores sell pre-washed produce and single-serving hummus, which spares you prep time. In a similar vein, apple slices and almond or cashew butter—another of Sterling’s favorites—can offer the benefits of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.
“Try apple slices and mozzarella or cheddar cheese sticks with higher protein, 2% fat or more yogurt or cottage cheese with cut up peaches and berries,” Sterling added.
Selecting snacks that include produce and protein sources tends to help you feel satisfied longer. This strategy also includes more nutrients. As another example, Sterling suggested microwaved chicken noodle or bean soups, if they are “healthier versions with lower sodium.”
You can add a dash of dried seasonings like parsley and poultry seasoning if low-sodium soup tastes a little flat.
If you crave crunchy, turn to what Sterling calls “brain foods” like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, kale chips, guacamole with tortilla chips and coconut crisps.
Salt-free nuts may be hard to find; however, if you explore the baking aisle, you’ll find sodium-free nuts and a little savings, as these tend to cost less per ounce than nuts from the snacks aisle.
If you love munching popcorn while you study, consider investing in a Presto PopLite Hot Air Popcorn Popper (Wal-Mart, $29.95) so you can whip up a big bowl to crunch without the added fat and sodium of most microwave popcorn varieties.
Sterling also noted that blueberries represent a healthful snack that supports brain health. They are also rich in antioxidants, which can help support your immune system. Blueberries also help satisfy a sweet tooth, as do raisins, plums, dried apricots, dried apple and natural fruit leather. The shelf stability of dried fruit will save room in your room fridge. Combine your favorite dried fruit with a small handful of nuts and flaked coconut (again, look in the baking aisle) for a satisfying trail mix.