Food for Thought: What are the Best Study Snacks?

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You’ve probably heard the term “hangry,” a mashup word used to describe the feeling of hunger that leads to anger. But did you know, all joking aside, the phenomenon of famished crankiness is actually a thing? 

Falling prey to hanger is a result of blood glucose instability that comes with excessive hunger. While everyone reacts differently, typical side effects include low energy, drowsiness, and the signature moodiness that gives hanger its name.

When studying for long periods, hunger can undoubtedly sneak up on you, which could end up tanking your study session or ruining your mood. 

This article explains the benefits of snacking while studying and what types of foods are ideal. Also included are some examples and a quick recipe that’s easy to prepare when you’re cramming for finals and short on time.

Is it good to snack while studying?

Since you’ll be spending loads of time studying, snacking while you do so is a splendid idea. But you’ll want to avoid foods that slow you down. Foods that are greasy, over-processed, or packed with refined sugars can zap your energy and leave you feeling tired or lazy. However, you can stock up on a variety of snacks that will help you get through study sessions, even the ones that end up lasting until the wee hours of the morning.

In addition to keeping you energized, snacking while studying will also prevent you from overeating or choosing fast food once you finally get the chance to grab a meal. Also, remember that it’s ideal to pre-portion your snacks instead of munching directly from the container to avoid overeating.

What types of snacks give you energy?

Snacks that include high-quality carbohydrates and a source of protein are ideal. Carbohydrates often get a bit of a bad rap these days, but the carbs in fries are different from the high-quality carbs in vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains. Some examples of foods that contain protein are eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, and meat. 

That’s why you see snacks like Lunchables, with a selection of meat, cheese, and crackers, or the more grown-up versions by Hillshire, both of which – let’s be honest – are yummy for all ages. They’re a quick and tasty source of protein, especially when you’re on the go. But they’re only one option out of many.

What foods are good to eat while studying?

Here’s a list of five snack ideas to help you power through your study sessions, especially late at night.

Beef jerky

Jack Link's Teriyaki Beef Jerky 3.25oz

In moderation, beef jerky is an excellent go-to snack for long study sessions, thanks to its protein and iron contents. While some jerkies contain a high amount of sugar and salt, you can find more nutritious varieties carefully crafted to deliver a jerky that’s both flavourful and healthy.

Frozen pizza

DiGiorno Frozen Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza 12in 27.5oz

While pizza may not be top of mind when it comes to brain food, having some of these mouthwatering pies on hand when hunger hits can save your study session. You can easily pop one in the oven and eat a slice or two, with leftovers for the next time your stomach starts to growl. Additionally, it will keep you from ordering a pizza delivery, which can get quite pricey and tempting with all the side dishes and soda options.

Whole-grain cereal

Kashi Original GO Rise Whole Grain Cereal 13.1oz

Wondering what to eat while studying at night? A sensible bowl of cereal is the perfect solution. You get protein from the milk and high-quality carbs from the crunchy flakes. Be sure to go for whole-grain varieties and avoid the more sugary options, especially if it’s past your usual bedtime.

Dark chocolate almonds

Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds 3.5oz

While it’s not a hall pass to devour anything smothered with cocoa, a few pieces of dark chocolate can be an excellent pick-me-up, which makes these a wonderful snack when studying for finals. With an almond in the middle, you’re getting some protein as well. It truly is a win-win situation.

Orange Juice

Simply Pulp Free Orange Juice 52oz

While energy drinks are sometimes helpful in a pinch – especially if you find you’re crashing but you know you’ll be sleeping soon – a glass of orange juice can help perk you up when you only need to stay awake a short while longer. Avoid sugary cocktail-style juices late at night and go for 100 percent orange juice varieties that are not from concentrate.

Some healthy options

For those who want a list of nutritious snacks to stock up on, look no further. Here’s a list of seven healthy study snacks.


Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn 6.75oz

A tasty alternative to potato chips, popcorn is a low-calorie study snack that’s sure to fill you up and satisfy your cravings. Keep an eye on the ingredients list and portion recommendations to find the most optimal calorie value for you.

Sunflower seeds

David's Ranch Sunflower Seeds 5.25oz

Sunflower seeds contain protein and fiber and are another exceptional alternative to potato chips that you can eat in a similar manner. They’re a healthy, mindless snack to munch on while studying or making revisions on your notes. You can find them in a variety of flavors, with some that are easier to crack.

Apples and nut butter

Tbralnina –

With this simple snack, you get the fiber of an apple combined with the protein of nut butter. All you need to do is put your nut butter in a bowl and dip, or spread it onto apple slices. You can go with classic peanut butter or try some almond butter.

Veggie sticks and hummus

Yaroslav_melnik –

It’s a bright idea to pre-chop some veggie sticks so they’re ready when you’re suddenly hungry. It will stop you from grabbing a less healthy option, especially when paired with hummus. Additionally, this is the perfect snack for your study group. Everyone will thank you for giving them a break from ramen noodles, as tasty as they are.

Protein bars

Nature Valley Protein Bar Peanut Butter/Dark Chocolate 5ct/1.42oz

Keep in mind these are jam-packed with protein with athletes in mind and not your study sesh, so they’re a little higher in calories. While it’s not advisable to eat them as an everyday snack, these can certainly pick you up when you feel like you’re crashing and curb your cravings for something sweet. Store one in your backpack, and you’ll thank yourself later.


Kraft Singles American Cheese Slices 12ct 8oz

A portion of cheese will give you energy and help you feel full. Buy a brick and pre-slice it to save some cash, or get it prepackaged to the correct serving size for convenience. Cheese also pairs well with crackers.

Roasted chickpeas

Светлана Монякова –

Here’s a quick study snack recipe for roasted chickpeas. Open one can of chickpeas, rinse them and dry them with a paper towel. Preheat your oven to 425℉. Place the chickpeas in a bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat them and add seasonings such as garlic powder and cayenne to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chickpeas on, spreading them out. Cook them for 25-30 minutes until slightly crispy.

Adapted from Cooking LSL

You are what you eat

While you can undoubtedly enjoy sugary or greasy foods in moderation, foods that offer more nutrients will work with you, keeping you energized and help beat cravings during long study sessions. Set yourself up for success by keeping plenty of healthy foods available and ready to go once you start to feel hungry.

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