5 Study Snacks That Might Help You Survive School Stress
For people like me who tend to obsess over their grades, studying for finals is serious business. In the short time I’ve spent working towards my IB high school diploma, I’ve learned that you just can’t get away with doing zero studying and making bola on all your test papers while expecting to get grades worthy enough of your mom’s refrigerator door. I’ve also learned that no amount of serious studying can be done without a study table laden with unhealthy snacks or what I like to pass off as “brain food.” (Although I highly doubt these snacks have ever done anything constructive for my brain.)
These are the first 5 dishes that I reach for when it’s time to hit the books (and the snacks) during a dark time otherwise known as finals week. Although there’s no denying that epicureans are likely to be disgusted by these dishes, they can easily be made using leftover scraps from the fridge or bought from practically any supermarket in Manila. This article is clearly for those of us who live far away from places like this one that cater specifically to students pulling all-nighters.
All these pictures were taken while I was studying for my Math, Biology, and Psychology finals. Just so you know, the intense need for me to eat all of this food at the same time only ever comes up during exam season. The lack of meat can also be explained by my vegetarianism.
5 Study Snacks That Might Help You Survive School Stress
5. Store-bought chocolate chip cookies with Nutella globs
Exam week or not, I can always count on mathematics to unleash all the pent-up frustration and anxiety that is practically lurking inside my brain 24/7. Chocolate chip cookies with icing are a MUST for anyone with a sweet tooth having to go through any type of stress-inducing situation that can be likened to spending an afternoon with functions, exponentials, logarithms, and trigonometry.
Ingredients: Store-bought cookies and a jar of Nutella
Prep time: 10-15 seconds
Who actually has time to bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch while studying for a math exam? Nobody. It’s so much more practical to grab any pack or tin can of store-bought chocolate cookies lying around your house, transfer a few pieces onto a plate, and slap a fist-sized glob of Nutella onto any side. I went with the chocolate chip cookies that you can easily get from any Marks & Spencer store in Manila, although to be honest they taste exactly the same as Chips Ahoy and so having one brand over the other won’t really make a difference.
To get the most out of this dish, just have a Nutella jar beside you while you’re eating to avoid having to walk all the way to the kitchen in case your Nutella runs out before your cookies do.
4. Tera-sized Potato Corner cheese fries
Ingredients: As many Tera-sized buckets of Potato Corner fries as necessary (Note: does not necessarily have to be cheese)
Prep time: 15 minutes of driving to and back from the nearest mall or supermarket with a Potato Corner branch
I order a Tera-sized bucket of cheese fries from Potato Corner at least once a week. There’s no good reason for my habitual and intense need for Potato Corner to diminish come the week before a biology exam. Nothing’s better than snacking on a bucket of Solanum tuberosum (common potato) sprinkled with bright orange artificial cheese powder while studying cell biology, ecology, and evolution. There’s just something about these cheese fries that activates my temporal lobe and can get me to memorize a 30-page reviewer in no time.
3. 5-minute cheese quesadillas
Ingredients: White/wheat tortillas, cream cheese
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cheese is clearly an exam week staple for any struggling IB student in Manila. When you’re still doing math practice problems and there’s no time to make dinner, just grab two tortilla pieces from the fridge (or even flattened white/wheat bread) and hastily spread cream cheese on each piece. Once this is done, just cut each piece into smaller triangle-shaped pieces, pop them in the toaster oven and take them out after 3-4 minutes. These probably sound bland but they’re crunchy and actually taste good.
If you’re really into what you’re doing, you could even try solving for the sides and angles of each quesadilla piece or use them as models for your trigonometry word problems. They’re distracting yet make surprisingly good SOHCAHTOA diagrams.
2. Cold leftovers
Ingredients: May vary according to the contents of one’s fridge
Prep time: 5 seconds at most
A student’s choice of cold leftovers may vary from last night’s Chinese takeout to yesterday’s pizza delivery. I decided to go with some spinach puffs I found in my fridge left over from my grandmother’s bead show last weekend.
The puffs needed no heating up or transferring whatsoever. Every second of a study break must be savored and should thus be spent watching Twin Peaks instead of making a home-cooked meal. Cold leftovers are great for all-nighters because they’re accessible even after midnight, but just make sure they haven’t been in the fridge for over a week.
1. This Morning’s Fluffy Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Ingredients: Leftover pancakes OR instant pancake mix
Prep time: 15 minutes at most if you’re making them yourself
As is true with cold leftovers, students don’t really have time to make an informed decision about what they eat when it’s past midnight and so chocolate chip pancakes seem like a logical decision the night before any exam. If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to make them yourself if you happened to have pancakes for breakfast that morning.
It’s always great to keep your brain guessing by feeding it morning food around 7 hours too early. Although pancakes and psychoanalysis are a great combination, the pancakes should be consumed in moderation so as not to induce the drowsiness caused by how filling they are.
That concludes my list of these 5 extremely healthy foods to consume during finals. Intense studying is tough for anyone, and even more so for those who have trouble eating the standard recommended “brain foods” such as tuna, salmon, blueberries, black coffee, nuts, and organic dark chocolate. No matter how overly cheesy or chocolaty your choice of food might be during finals or any other exam week, my advice is to just make sure that you genuinely enjoy and are comforted by what you’re eating in times like these that require intense focus and perfectly seasoned grit.