If you go into the SAC or 7-Eleven it looks like it’s been hit by a bandit in desperate need of a sugar fix.
The frozen food section in 7-Eleven is nearly wiped out of icebox delights ready to be nuked in the microwave.
The pints of Ben and Jerry are also suspicously missing.
This can only mean one thing; it’s that time of year again.
Dreaded finals are upon us as well as the onslaught of papers and portfolios that seem to be strategically due around the same time.
So what do you do when your brain’s running on empty?
You snack, of course.
It’s pretty common to see stressed out students munching on anything they can get their hands on.
There are a few signature foods that comfort us all during our time of dire stress as well as “brain food” that some people eat to boost their normally lacking brain potential.
The onset of finals causes a subconscious need for any kind of junk food.
Everything and anything salty seems to be a favorite choice for undergrads.
Whether it’s salty or sweet, it doesn’t matter as long as it can take the edge off of cramming a semester’s worth of material into one study session.
Sophomore, Enid Volasko, says “during finals, I like to take little snack breaks. Usually I consume large amounts of caffeine and pretzels”.
Chips, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, you can find whatever satisfies your taste buds.
On the sweet side of the plate, there’s always chocolate and any kind of candy bar that’s small enough to smuggle into Paley or Tuttleman for those long hours in the computer lab.
“I basically stuff my pockets with as much candy as possible before going into Tuttleman without looking too suspicious”, says one senior who didn’t want to be identified.
The much needed rush of energy that sugar provides makes sweets a desirable choice during finals.
Even snacking on dry sugary cereal seems to appeal to many students.
Ziplock backs of Honey Nut Cheerios are a staple for studying.
Convenience is also a factor undergrads take into account when determining the perfect snack.
Anything microwavable is a prime choice for the student who wants to focus more of their time on studying and not food preparation.
Microwavable popcorn, Ramen and Pop Tarts are the route many students take when finding that right snack to get them through the tough night.
However, some foods have been proven to be “brain food”.
It’s been widely proven that the Omega-3 fat in fish and nuts reduce memory loss.
So if you’re not gonna fix a main course with salmon steaks, then the next best thing and cheapest thins is a tuna sandwich.
Try supplementing your tuna with a bag of mixed nuts to boost your memory power.
Foods high in protein, seeds, eggs and meats, have also been shown to sustain blood sugar that keeps your energy at its peak.
Blueberries, strawberries and spinach are also great brain boosters for the frazzled undergraduate.
On the other hand, there are some foods that should be avoided during a time like finals, when you need all of the brain power you can get.
Simple carbohydrates are a big no no.
The temporary high that they provide your body with is followed by a sudden crash, where you’re overcome with sleepiness.
Instead of dowing regular pasta and sugary fruit drinks, try whole grain pasta and water instead.
The best tip is that no matter what junk food delight you choose to eat, NEVER go into an exam or a study session on an empty stomach.
No matter how much you try to concentrate, you’ll most likely be focused on your growling stomach that’s probably a distraction to others.
So just grab something, anything that’ll get you through the days of finals.
While food isn’t nearly as important as finals, it obviously helps everyone get through the tough times.
It’s natural to get a bit stressed out with finals and everything that comes along with it, but just remember to breathe and chow down on some “brain food”..
Patrice Williams can be reached at Pwiliams@temple.edu