Easy, Satisfying Study Snacks for HSC Students

by | Oct 16, 2018 | Diet, Students

Stefanie Valakas, Dietitian, Baulkham Hills NSW
16 October 2018

With the HSC and other end-of-year exams fast-approaching, it can be tempting for teens and young adults to reach for their umpteenth cup of tea or coffee to keep them awake and alert for study. Fuelling yourself with long-lasting energy to keep your brain firing is essential in getting you through your long-stretches of study.

Here are some satisfying snack ideas to peck at whilst you hit the books (or laptop!).

Satisfying study snacks (to replace caffeine)

1. A handful of nuts

The combination of healthy fats, plant proteins and a little bit of carbohydrate will keep those mid-study session hunger pangs at bay and sustain your energy. Nuts have a low glycaemic index (GI), meaning they release their energy slowly and are also digested slowly helping you stay fuller for longer and focused on the task at-hand!

Examples include:

  • A handful of nuts
  • Wholegrain crackers with nut butter or hummus

2. Go for Wholegrains

Wholegrains include multi-grain bread or grainy crackers such as rice crackers or mixed grain crackers, these are rich in carbohydrate, essential for keeping your brain firing, as well as B vitamins for energy production.

Try a wholegrain piece of toast with avocado or a nut butter spread for a daily dose of healthy fats. Or some nut butter or hummus on grainy crackers can be a nourishing and satisfying study snack too.

3. Fruit

A humble piece of fruit gives you that much needed boost of carbohydrates and energy to get through that next practice exam. If fruit doesn’t seem to cut it on its own and leaves you wanting more trying pairing up some apple slices with a tablespoon of nut butter such as peanut or almond butter with cinnamon to give a bit of protein and brain-healthy fats to keep you feeling full.

4. Smoothie

When there’s not even a second to chew, whipping up a jam-packed smoothie can be a great way to get some nutrients into your day. Start with a dairy milk or soy milk base and add a piece of fruit of choice (e.g. banana, berries, mango), a dollop of yoghurt, a veggie of choice (try a handful of baby spinach (fresh or frozen) or a quarter of an avocado), a grain such as oats and some ice to keep you cool.

Sip slowly as you study!

5. Muesli Bar

Muesli bars can be a quick and convenient snack for active children and teenagers, however, the added sugars from choc-chips and sticky maple and golden syrups can wrack up a high amount of added sugar which will leave kids feeling flat half-way through a study session.

Opt for lower sugar varieties such as nut bars to help give a slower release of energy. Or if you like to procrasti-bake, make your own muesli or nut bars at home!

6. Popcorn

Popcorn is that perfect savoury and crunchy snack that is high in fibre and is a great alternative to packet chips. Opt for the lightly salted packet varieties or pop your own using popcorn kernels in the microwave for a cheap, quick and easy healthy desk snack.

7. Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are another great savoury crunchy snack rich in plant-protein, fibre and packed with B vitamins to help give you the energy to get through that next problem or practice question! Buy them pre-roasted with different flavourings in the supermarket, or grab a tin of chickpeas and roast them yourself and add any spices you like, try paprika and cumin for a Mexican twist.

8. Dairy Foods

Yoghurt is a nourishing and refreshing snack, it’s low GI and will keep you feeling full from the protein. Top with some fruit or try freezing into popsicles for a refreshing mid-afternoon study snack. Or, opt for a plain glass of milk.

Most teenagers, especially females, do not meet their daily requirements for dairy foods, so including a glass of milk or yoghurt for long-lasting energy as well as to help their developing bones is a good idea!

9. Vegetable Sticks & Dip

Picking up some chopped carrot, capsicum, cucumber, snow peas and celery for dipping into cream cheese, hummus or a yoghurt based dip is a great crunchy and nourishing snack. It’s important to still reach fruit and veggie targets when studying to ensure teens are getting all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) they need, especially B vitamins which contribute to energy production.

Remember, you are more likely to be less active than you would be at school or with after-school sports when you’re studying for the HSC, make sure you take regular breaks to get out and about in some fresh air for a walk to reinvigorate you for an afternoon of study.


Best of luck with your studies & exams.

For some recipe inspiration for study snacks, check out these ideas from Foodiful: https://www.foodiful.com.au/snacks-for-studying

stefanie valakas

Dietitian, Baulkham Hills NSW
Stefanie has a strong interest and passion for paediatric nutrition, with a focus on creating positive behaviours and habits around food from childhood leading to a positive relationship with food in adulthood. Stefanie also has an interest in perinatal and fertility nutrition and general nutrition support across the ages and works with a wide range of nutritional concerns, assisting individuals and families to navigate the confusing world of nutrition successfully.