Brain-boosting study snacks available on campus

By Christie Melhorn, March 2 2018 —

Now that we’re past reading week, the semester is getting shorter but the late night study sessions are getting longer. The stress of looming assignments and tests can either ruin your appetite or trigger a sugar-binge. Either way, fueling up with tasty, wholesome snacks can keep your focus sharp and prevent hanger from destroying your sliver of a social life. A lot of fancy protein bars and yogurt parfaits pose as being healthy but are actually glorified desserts loaded with refined sugar — and usually don’t taste that great. Sitting on campus feeling slimy all day from inadequate nutrition is generally unpleasant, let alone when you’re overwhelmed. Here are some foods recognized by Forbes, Readers Digest and Healthline as ideal study snacks that are all available on campus.  


Bananas are hit or miss with most people but are worth snacking on during crunch time. They contain a fibre called pectin that stabilizes blood sugar while fueling your brain with a reasonable amount of glucose. This can satisfy your appetite while keeping you alert and engaged. You can buy bananas at Stör, Bake Chef and La Prep. Starbucks also sells them — you just need to ask for one.  


Unless you’re allergic, you can’t go wrong with a handful of nuts as a study snack. Each type has particular brain-boosting benefits. Walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that enhance memory and prevent cognitive decline. The vitamin-E content in almonds can protect brain cells from damage and regulate blood sugar, cushioning a mid-study session crash. Peanuts are also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants linked with higher mental function. On top of that, the fat content in nuts keeps you feeling full longer, preventing distracting hunger pangs. You can buy packaged and seasoned nuts at Stör, the IDA Pharmacy and Starbucks. While they taste great, be mindful that the high salt content is dehydrating. And if munching on raw nuts isn’t appealing, Kind Bars or Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups are also available at Starbucks — just know they’re pricey.


For the last year, our Instagram feeds have been coloured green by posts of avocado everything. Their enduring popularity makes sense beyond their aesthetic appeal. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat and potassium that can steady blood flow to the brain. Their creamy texture is also pleasant and they’re incredibly filling. While I’ve yet to learn of somewhere that sells whole avocados on campus, cups of guacamole are available at Starbucks and Stör. Sushi Express sells avocado rolls and most of their rolls contain avocado. La Prep also sells chicken and turkey wraps with avocado chunks in them.


Eggs are one of the most affordable, filling and diverse snacks. They’re delicious on their own and are a valuable ingredient in any type of meal. Eating eggs stimulates the production of acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter that improves memory. They’re also loaded with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that maintain eye health, which can’t hurt after endless hours of staring at a computer screen. Stör sells hard-boiled eggs for $1.25. Buying pre-cooked eggs freaks some people out but they’re actually pretty good. If you need a meal, grab a hearty, eggy breakfast sandwich from Brew and Blends or Good Earth that trumps the processed varieties at Starbucks and Tim Hortons.  


Blueberries are one of the ultimate study snacks. They’re packed with antioxidants believed to mitigate neurodegeneration from aging. Raw, whole blueberries are difficult to find on campus but are usually an ingredient in snack bars. The IDA Pharmacy sells blueberry Elevate Bars that give a nice energy boost. At Stör, you can get blueberry Jumpstarter chia pudding and True Nature blueberry bars — they’re a little sugary but at least made with whole ingredients. Stör also sells Brookside dried blueberries coated in dark chocolate, which can give you a nice dopamine pump. Just be warned — they’re addictive and crushing the entire bag in one sitting will make you feel sluggish.


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