If you’ve ever observed your friends during finals week, you’ll know that students become stressed out junk food-hoarding study fiends. This means holing up in your dorm or library, and eating packets of granola bars or ramen bowls straight. Unfortunately, it’s easy to neglect your health by picking some not-so-good for you food choices.
Here’s our rating on the best and worst of popular finals food, based on five important categories for college student: The taste, how long it takes to eat or prepare the food, how expensive it is, and how healthy the food is for you. Let’s find out what you should or shouldn’t be putting into your body!
1. Hummus and Veggie Plate
Time to Eat/Prepare: 6/10
Overall Grade: A-
Want to cure the finals munchies AND stay healthy? Check out this easy-to-assemble and yummy snack. Make a veggies snacking plate for when you want to study and munch at the same time. You can add baby carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and whatever vegetables you’d like to your hummus or baba ganoush. All of these items can be store-bought at your local grocery store. It’ll fill you up, and give you a healthy serving of important vitamins and minerals. Try experimenting with crackers or pita bread or chips as well! Hummus is about 25 calories a teaspoon so remember not to binge eat, as the fats, carbs, and calories can add up! Hummus is not a low-calorie food and as with everything, it is best in moderation.
2. Chipotle Burrito Bowl
Time to Eat/Prepare: 7/10
Overall Grade: B
Chances are, there’s a Chipotle restaurant not too far from your campus and the Chipotle Burrito Salad is one of the healthiest options on their menu. You get steak or chicken, brown or white rice, pinto or black beans, guacamole, and salsa. That’ll put you at about 550 calories, but with 22 grams of fiber and lots of lean protein and healthy fats. We admit salad bowls are not the most fun entrees to eat, but it’ll definitely give you the nutrition you need to ace finals. Plus, the portions are so big that sometimes you can save more for dinner! Compare the nutrition facts of these burrito bowls here and customize your own burrito bowl for maximum finals energy!
The Chipotle Burrito Bowl gets a B from us!
3. Macaroni and Cheese
Time to Eat/Prepare: 10/10
Overall Grade: B-
Maybe it’s not as good as how your mom made it growing up, but instant macaroni and cheese is yummy temptation for those finals munchies. The instant macaroni containers are small, so chances are, you’ll be having more than one. Macaroni and Cheese contains saturated fat, high carbs, and a bit of protein, so it’ll keep you going for awhile. It’s not the healthiest choice, but it’s not the worst either. We’ll give it a B- as in okay every once in awhile. Compare different mac and cheese brands here and see if you can make your mac and cheese with healthier options!
4. Instant Ramen
Time to Eat/Prepare: 9/10
Overall Grade: C
Instant ramen is a college student staple, for better or worse. It’s not hard to see why - it’s hot, filling, and depending on the brand, can even be pretty tasty! However, eating instant ramen means putting a whopping 1000-2000 grams of sodium into your body. Ramen is high in fat, very high in carbs, and has some protein, meaning it’ll fill you up, but it’ll also weigh you down. A Maruchan chicken-flavor packet puts you at about 380 calories, 52 carbs, 14 grams of fat, with 7 grams of it being saturated fat. Overall, ramen is bad for you but all other things considered, it still gets a C from us because of how easy it is to make and eat. It’s nice to sip something warm and spicy when you’re mentally exhausted from studying. Consider making your ramen healthier by picking lower sodium brands and adding mixed vegetables and an egg to it as well.
5. Starbucks Frappuccino
Time to Eat/Prepare: 6/10
Overall Grade: D
When it comes to campus Starbucks locations, the lines are usually terrifying during finals. Or, you can head to your local community Starbucks, but you’ll still have to drive or walk there and wait in line. A Frappuccino might be a nice treat, but with up to 500 calories in each drink and tons of sugar, it’s a whole meal on its own! You definitely don’t want to drink your calories. With a grande Frappuccino costing $5 with tax, you’ll also be setting your wallet back too. You’ll need heartier food in your diet, not a syrupy sugary dessert. A better alternative for caffeine is a cold brew or iced coffee and you can compare the different calorie content here. The Frappuccino fails our test with a D!
As you study hard for your finals, remember to make the right decisions for your body as well! Remember to stay hydrated, and well-fed. You can’t ace your finals on an empty stomach!
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