Food is fuel, not just for your body but for your brain, too! The better nutrition you are able to give your muscles and your mind, the more capable you will be to tackle the obstacles that life throws your way.

When you’re a college student, those obstacles often come all at once and in the form of multiple choice, true or false, and both short and long answer. It’s that dreaded week or two at the end of the semester when all those chapters read, assignments completed, and projects presented are put to the test – literally. The ominous final exam week.

It comes as no surprise, then, that adequate fuel during all those exams is critical for success. The right food choices can make or break all that hard work and all those long hours spent behind the books. Be smart and eat smart before your finals and you’ll have the best chance at top marks.

Here is a quick go-to guide on what to eat and drink before those big exams.

Power Up with Protein

Ever wonder why all those superstar athletes constantly promote the miracles and magic of protein? It’s because the macronutrient will keep you full for long periods of time and it has been shown to keep your brain on high alert. So opt for pre-exam meals with high protein contents from quality sources like fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy.

Go for H2O

It can be incredibly tempting to reach for an extra large latte or sugar-laden energy drink in the days and hours before an exam, but these quick-fix solutions to a tired brain will only leave you drained and depleted midway through those lengthy tests. Caffeine, like simple sugars, will cause dramatic highs and lows in your energy levels, can induce jitters, and cause dehydration, effects that all interfere with studying and inhibit concentration. Instead, opt for water and plenty of it. Water is the simplest way to stay alert and the easiest way to maintain that A-level focus.

Skip the Sugar

Simple, refined carbohydrates and sugars are the kryptonite to your Superman study efforts. Typically found in your favorite comfort foods of cookies, cakes, and candy, these quick-digesting carbs will cause dramatic spikes and dips in blood sugar that’ll leave you lacking in that sustainable power source necessary to get you through those long tests. Even fruits eaten alone can cause that unwanted energy roller coaster effect. Instead, pair healthy fruits with protein and fat, and opt for fiber-rich whole grains instead of processed carbohydrates and sugary snacks.

Add in the Antioxidants

Quality foods that contain high levels of antioxidants have been scientifically proven to enhance the functioning capabilities of the human brain. Often referred to as “brain foods”, these nutrient powerhouses are ideal additions to your pre-exam study plans. Some of the top contenders in this category include fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, bananas, citrus fruit, tomatoes, and peppers. Likewise, coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, and red wine also contain high levels of antioxidants, but be sure to consume these particular brain foods in moderation.

Don’t think that you have to be a nutrition major to eat healthy in college. Whether you’re getting your MBA in business analytics or studying microbiology at Kean University, use this quick guide to eat your way to an A this semester.

What Should You Eat Before Your College Exams?