Jessica Dean and Robin Rodriguez

It’s that wonderful time of year again, the time where everyone is stressed-out from midterms and is frantically getting all their ducks in a row studying for finals. While you’re putting in those late night hours, you probably also have various bags of chips and other study-friendly foods at your side to keep you fueled for the long night ahead of you. Well, here’s a thought, why not use these helpful and healthy tips for snacking, so that you can get through your cram sessions and finals week without packing on the extra pounds so that you look great going into spring break.

Tip No. 1: Start off the day with a balanced breakfast. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A balanced breakfast should consist of whole grains for energy, fruits for fiber and vitamins and a protein source to keep your energy going strong all day. A healthy breakfast is also important in many other ways. For example, eating a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve your ability to concentrate, as well a to help maintain and control weight.

Tip No. 2: Munch on healthful snacks for your all-night cram sessions. We know that it’s hard to resist that bag of Cheetos or the cup of Bali’s frozen yogurt topped with every candy known to man while you’re studying for finals. Instead of piling on the calorie-filled candy bars, you can top your yogurt with fresh berries or even opt for the baked varieties of your favorite chips; they taste just as good and don’t have all the fat. Other good crunchy snacks are carrot and celery sticks (maybe with some ranch dressing) and microwave popcorn (try it without the butter).

Tip No. 3: Don’t use study time as an excuse to forget about calcium. People in their early twenties need to build up their calcium stores to ward off the chance of developing osteoporosis later in life. The average person needs 1000 milligrams (mg) every day. The easiest way to get calcium in the diet is through dairy products. Keep low-fat yogurt and cheeses in the fridge so that you can grab them when you’re on the go – say to the library to study for finals.

Tip No. 4: Make informed fast food choices. For example, if you’re ordering in from your favorite pizza place, don’t go for the extra cheese and toppings. Maybe balance out a slice with a small salad when you take a meal break. Also, limit the amount of saturated fats that you take in. Saturated fats are found in fried foods, like french fries or deep-fried chicken and fish, and in some baked goods. Limiting them will decrease the amount of extra calories consumed.

Tip No. 5: Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink enough water throughout the day. Most people need about 64 ounces or 8 glasses of water a day to keep from getting dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, you experience feelings of tiredness, weakness and irritability, as well as disorientation and agitation. So, get enough water so that you can perform well on your tests.

Finally, take a break and go for a walk. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough water and activity will probably keep your head clear and allow you to focus better. We wish you good luck on finals Cal Poly.

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