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snacking for students

30th April 2018 by Jess

This one's for all the school, college and university students who are looking for snacking inspiration to keep their brains fired up and their taste buds happy whilst you're swotting for your exams.

jess notes

I know how tricky it can be to stay healthy when your stress levels are maxxed out, but staying healthy during exam time is totally doable and it can be made simple too, I promise. When our brain and our bodies have the fuel they need to retain, process and apply new information, revision is made more efficient and even enjoyable!

Jess, graze nutritionist
studying notes exams book notebook writing
snacks bag backpack

Why is being snack-ready so important?

Expect the unexpected; timings change. If your class or study schedule changes and you have some snacks with you already, you’ll be far less likely to reach for whatever is in sight to fill the hunger spot. These foods typically live in vending machines, in the centre aisles of supermarkets and they are usually highly processed.

Real food is meant to nourish our bodies down to the cellular level to repair, rejuvenate, and make us live long at our optimal level. They’re meant to provide us with long lasting fuel to keep not only our bodies energised, but more importantly our minds (it's all about productivity!).

7 study snack hacks from Jess:

1

eat nuts & seeds

Not only are they energy and nutrient dense, but they’re also versatile so once you have them in your kitchen you’ll find you constantly use them in recipes. They’re so easy to sprinkle onto salads, to make your own nut milks, to add to desserts... the list is endless!

2

don't forget flavour

Flavour is key, even if I’m ‘just’ having nuts, I like to really enjoy them so I’ll sometimes sprinkle soy sauce or tamari on them and roast them in the oven, or crack some chilli salt and black pepper on the nuts to spice them up a little. Alternatively you can go for an already flavoured pack of mixed nuts such as graze's ‘sweet memphis bbq’ with salsa flavoured peanuts.

3

iron-rich foods

Is feeling exhausted a constant for you and is it causing you to be less efficient when you’re in study-mode?

Iron deficiency isn’t uncommon and it can be such a simple correction to make with so much to gain! Without healthy red blood cells, your body can't get enough oxygen round your body to your extremities; the consequence of not having sufficient oxygen in the body is constant fatigue.

This fatigue or exhaustion can affect everything from your ability to fight infections to your brain's ability to function.

4

fibre-rich foods

Processed foods tend to be lacking in fibre, vitamins and minerals, which are of course essential to our very being. These nutrients keep us alive!

Many people over consume highly processed foods, as they provide little to no nourishment and don’t readily engage the satiety (‘I’m full’) centre in the brain. So to make sure you don’t overeat (which is very easy to do when you’re stressed or mindlessly filling up your time whilst studying) eat fibre-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, wholegrains, pulses, legumes and leafy vegetables.

fibre snacks
5

protein-rich foods

Eating protein-rich foods assist dopamine production.

When we think of the neurotransmitters involved in happiness, we automatically think of serotonin, the main neurotransmitter associated with feeling happy and content. However, there is another hormone which is an essential component of health and happiness – dopamine.

Dopamine helps control the brain's pleasure and reward centre which is vital when we’re studying to keep us going through what feels like a study marathon at times! It also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it helps us to not only see rewards, but also to take action towards them.

Eggs, fish, poultry, nuts & seeds and red meat are all good sources of protein. This is a great link here for protein-containing snacks.

shop protein snacks
6

keep it light

Try avoiding foods that are too heavy on your digestive system (i.e. very high fat, processed, or containing lots of different types of foods).

Digestion already takes enough of your energy (which means there’s less for your brain) so give your digestive tract a small break by eating foods that are simple and quick to digest (fruits & veggies, both dried and fresh are the best).

7

enjoy what you're eating!

I’ve saved my favourite tip until last and that’s to ensure you enjoy the foods you’re eating.

Food should be a pleasure and a joy and it should serve the body well at the same time. If you don’t like celery & cucumber sticks with hummus, then no problem, there are PLENTY of other options. Pick the ones that excite you the most out of the below list and let them be great accompaniments to your study sessions for all of the right reasons.

We love smoothie bowls, so this recipe and photo by @eastcoasthealth is no exception! This colorful smoothie bowl is made with banana, romaine, beet, and frozen mango, topped with kiwi, strawberries, more banana, and graze’s original protein flapjack. So delicious!

Top 10 foods to snack on:

  1. Nuts & seeds (particularly of the flavoured kind).
  2. Avocado on a rice cake/cracker/oatcake
  3. Nut butter (usually almond) with fresh pear (or your preferred fresh fruit)
  4. Edamame beans (fresh or dried)
  5. Hummus dip with fresh veggies (carrots, cucumber, sugar snap peas)
  6. Fresh fruit (apple, pear, berries, plum etc.)
  7. Fresh veggies (carrots, cucumber, pepper, celery etc.)
  8. Hard boiled egg - eggs contain choline which is an essential component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain involved in memory and muscle control.
  9. Banana/carrot loaf - the best with a cup of chai tea!
  10. Smoothie with walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, frozen banana, leafy greens & almond milk

are you a student?

We’ve teamed up with Student Beans to offer all verified students 1 free graze box and 15% off all future boxes when you subscribe.

Simply register with Student Beans to verify your student status and get your student discount today!

find out more

references

  1. Adam Hadhazy, Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being, Scientific American, a division of Nature America, Inc
  2. Mayer EA, Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut-brain communication., Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Jul 13;12(8):453-66. doi: 10.1038/nrn3071.
jess fruit

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to her website at jessntom.com for even more.

view all posts by Jess

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