• Casey Hemphill and Katrina Agger; Edited by

Fueling for Finals

Finals are right around the corner!

And, it's super important to make sure you’re rested and #fueled so you can finish your semester STRONG! Did you know that the brain consumes about 20% of your body’s total energy, even while you’re sleeping?[1] That’s a lot to “keep in mind” on top of studying and pulling all-nighters. With this being said, let’s talk about some easy and fun ways you can make sure you’re fueling that powerhouse brain for your final exams! There are so many great options even right here on campus!

Swapping white bread and instant noodles for WHOLE GRAINS is a great way to give your brain sustained energy while powering through study sessions! Whole grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa, and even popcorn are full of fiber, which keeps you fuller and satisfied for a longer time; you can study harder when your stomach isn’t growling! You can find whole grains just about everywhere on campus: both Starbucks and Jamba Juice offer oatmeal on their menu for a great morning start, and you can find whole grain breads, bagels, and granola parfaits at the Osprey Café, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Outtakes. Don’t be afraid to ask about whole wheat options!

FISH like salmon and tuna are excellent brain foods because of their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies have found that people who consume omega-3s have improved memory and brain function.[2] Fuel up on these smart options by stopping at Chop’d and Wrap’d and getting a tasty salmon sushi roll, or try the Nova Lox and the Albacore Tuna Salad (on whole wheat bagels, of course) at Einstein Bros. Bagels! Looking for plant-based sources of brain-healthy omega-3s? Look out for NUTS AND SEEDS in trail mixes at Outtakes and as part of tasty toppings at the salad bar in the Osprey Café.

Another great source of fuel for you brain will have you saying, “man, this is eggcellent!” You guessed it, EGGS are a wonderful source of protein and vitamins that will keep your little brain engine chugging along. Whip up a batch of hard boiled eggs to have on hand for a quick snack while you’re studying. You could also stop by Starbucks and grab some egg bites or a spinach, feta, and egg white wrap.

BERRIES are another great brain food to snack on during finals. Packed with antioxidants, berries will protect your brain from free radicals. In the long term, it’s thought that berries help with brain function and memory. For the sake of finals week, berries are a healthy, sweet snack that won’t leave you you with a post sugar rush crash. Look for strawberries at Outtakes or freeze some of your favorite berries or grapes and bring them along to your study sesh! You could even grab a berry smoothie from Jamba Juice!

Sweet, oh sweet caffeine. What would we do without you? COFFEE AND TEA both contain caffeine, a nervous system stimulant that can improve mood and alertness while reducing drowsiness.[4] Its consumption has been linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.[5] Plus, contrary to popular belief, coffee does not dehydrate you and is a great way to switch things up if you get bored with water. With all of these positive benefits, you can feel free to indulge in a morning cup, a mid-day cup, or even an evening cup! Just make sure to limit yourself to three to five cups a day to avoid jitters and caffeine crashing. You can find delicious hot or iced coffees and teas at Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and the Osprey Café.

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated on a normal day. But, what about when you’re up all night studying and trying to remember all of those facts you filled your brain with? Every cell in your body requires WATER at some point. Hydration is crucial for proper brain function! It may be more difficult to focus if you don’t give your body and brain the water it needs! You can get water at every dining services location. You can bring your own water bottle and fill up all day at any of the filtered water fountains on campus (there’s one on every floor of the library!).

Ospreys, do you love snacks? Random Acts of Snacks is back this year and it’s your opportunity to get SNACKS! UNF dining services will be sponsoring this event. The date will be announced so make sure you are following @unfdining and @OspreyDietitian on Instagram so you’ll know when Random Acts of Snacks will be by making an appearance at the library. Last year, UNF dining services gave away trail mix, granola, salads, wraps, and coffee. So, if you don't want to deal with snack FOMO, stay tuned!

UNF dining services will also be sponsoring a super yummy study room during finals week. You and you study buddies can reserve room #1112 and utilize the resources inside (and by “resources”, we probably mean #snacks).

Make sure you stay fueled up and hydrated for finals week, friends!


  1. How Much Energy Does the Brain Use? https://www.brainfacts.org:443/Brain-Anatomy-and-Function/Anatomy/2019/How-Much-Energy-Does-the-Brain-Use-020119. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.

  2. Stonehouse, Welma, et al. “DHA Supplementation Improved Both Memory and Reaction Time in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 97, no. 5, May 2013, pp. 1134–43. academic.oup.com, doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053371.

  3. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20120309/berries-boost-brain-function

  4. “Coffee, Caffeine, Mood and Emotion.” Coffee and Health, 27 Feb. 2017, https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-caffeine-mood-and-emotion/.

  5. Benefits of Coffee. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/benefits-of-coffee. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.

#brainfoods #nutrition #examweek #busystudent

UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224