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What to Eat Before a Test in College

Find 8 Cheap, Smart, and Easy Things You Can Eat in a Jiffy

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Man eating a health bar. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Heinrich van den Berg/Getty Images

Not sure what to eat before a test? In college, the answer becomes even more complicated, as most students are short on money and time. Luckily, finding something cheap, smart, and easy might be, well, easier than you think.

What to Eat Before a Test

1. A protein or energy bar. They're quick, they'll fill you up, they'll give you energy, they can be relatively cheap, and you can eat it on the way to the test.

2. A healthy salad and a protein from the dining hall. You may not hit the salad bar much during your time in school. But a quick zip through the salad bar with something healthy -- say, spinach leaves with a few veggie toppings, plus a dollop of egg or tuna salad on top -- is a great way to satisfy your stomach and your brain.

3. An energy shake. (Note: This is not the same thing as a canned energy drink.) A relatively healthy energy shake from a place like Jamba Juice can get your brain in gear before your test. (An canned energy drink, in contrast, is likely just to leave you jittery and your brain scattered.)

4. A muffin that wouldn't count as cake if you changed its shape. That chocolate chip muffin could be cake if you changed its shape -- meaning that oat muffin with raisins is a much better choice.

5. A quick sandwich. PB&J, cold cuts and cheese, and tuna salad are all classics for a reason. Make one in your room or grab one from the dining hall on your way to the test.

6. Fruit and peanut butter. Apple or banana? Good idea. Apple or banana with some peanut better? Even better. The protein will help fuel your brain longer.

7. A microwave meal. Yes, ramen might be your signature dinner item. But "splurging" on a frozen meal you can zap quickly in your microwave might be a better option, given how important your test is. For an extra dollar or two you can really fuel your brain when it matters most.

8. Trail mix. If your campus dining hall doesn't have it, chances are somewhere else on campus does. Grab a quick bag (or better yet, keep some in your room) for some quick and easy (and tasty!) food before your exam.

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