Fun fact about college: if you want to get a good GPA, you gotta do your fair share of studying...unless you have a photographic memory (and if that’s the case, I envy you).
All that brainpower you’re using to do calculus problems or memorize the bones of the body can really work up an appetite! But is it a bad idea to snack while you study? Here’s my answer:
Snacking while studying is a good idea IF you’re hungry and need to eat
I think most of us will agree that we feel our best when we’re well fed. We’re less #hangry, more focused, and have better energy. But eating regular meals and snacks is easier said than done especially for busy college students. For those of us who struggle to squeeze in regular meals, it’s definitely a good idea to keep snacks on hand to help ensure we’re eating enough and fueling our bodies properly.
Here are a few snack ideas that are a good balance of the three macronutrients we need to feel satisfied: carbs, protein, fat, and fiber
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Cheese sticks + crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs + apple slices
- Baby carrots + dried edamame
- Popcorn + dried fruit + nuts
- Fruit + nut bars
It’s important that we try to set aside even just 5 minutes to enjoy our snack without distraction. This is a good idea because:
- It’s an opportunity to relax and take a break
- When we’re busy, it’s easy to mindlessly scarf down our food without savoring it or noticing how it impacts our hunger
A common issue in our culture is the inability to listen to our hunger and fullness cues and respond to them properly. This leads to over/under eating, and worsens our relationship with food. Which brings me to my next point...
Snacking while studying is a bad idea if you’re not hungry and are using food as a distraction
If you’re familiar with my philosophy of eating, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in having a healthy relationship with food and seeing it as fuel for an active and healthy life. However, this does not mean I recommend using food as a distraction or coping mechanism. Yes, food is meant to be both physically and emotionally satisfying. When we think of a favorite childhood meal, for example, we know that it’s delicious, filling, and also makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.
But when we reach for a snack not out of hunger but because we don’t want to think about the massive amount of work we have ahead of us, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Here’s why:
- We’re further separating ourselves from our ability to decipher and respond to our hunger cues
- We’re only temporarily numbing the stress and frustration we’re feeling
Don’t worry, this was something I definitely struggled with in college and still struggle with today. It’s important to remember that it’s OK to be frustrated or angry or confused while we’re studying. It’s a chance to say to ourselves, “Congratulations to me! I’m learning how to deal with hard things!” After all, college is all about growing mentally and emotionally, right?
As M. Scott Peck says in his book The Road Less Traveled, “We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them.” Instead of taking our frustration out on a granola bar, we need to instead walk away, get some fresh air, stretch, and then re-visit whatever problem we’re struggling with and ask for help if we need it.
To summarize: fueling our bodies is important, and we should always make time for that no matter what our schedule looks like. Food is meant to be used as fuel, and not as a distraction.
You are a strong, independent, smarty-pants brainiac, and I believe in YOU. Now get out there and get some A’s!
Hungry for more?
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