10 Comfort Foods to Help You Survive Finals

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Sinking your teeth into the gushing cheese of a slice of deep-dish or dipping some mozz sticks in marinara might serve as a fun Friday night for you and your squad, but everyone has that one treat that just makes them straight up drool when times get tough. For college students, times get hella tough during finals. Whether it’s food that reminds you of home or food that just makes your taste buds dance for joy, here are ten ideal comfort foods to get you through the hell that is finals week.

1. Pizza

Some call it a meal, some call it a snack, but everyone calls it comfort food. “One time I ordered a $7 large Papa John’s pizza at lunch time and ate half for lunch and half for dinner while I was studying all day,” Northwestern sophomore Abbey Boyd said. Whether it’s the oozing cheese of an authentic NY pie or the thick crust of Pizza Hut that pulls you in, we can all agree that pizza becomes a necessity at this time of the year.

2. All of the Fruit

While eating fruit might seem like more of a healthy habit than an actual treat, you can actually find some decadence in the multicolored food when you do it up right. “I actually like eating apples, bananas and berries when studying for classes because it helps my brain work better. Sometimes I treat myself with dark chocolate too, but fruit has less caffeine which actually works better for me,” Northwestern sophomore Anelia Kudin said. Making a fruit salad with every fruit imaginable can serve as the perfect late-night study break. And don’t forget all that sugar to keep your brain going at four in the morning without making you feel sick. Talk about a food-gasm in your mouth.

3. Reese’s Pieces

E.T.’s favorite candy might very well help you out with your GPA. “Reese’s Pieces are great because the serving size is 51 pieces. Plus, they’re easy to eat while trying to focus on schoolwork,” University of Wisconsin-Green Bay sophomore Taylor Ponczoch said. If you actually resist the temptation to rattle seven or eight pieces in your hand before popping them in your mouth and instead reach for one at a time, this could actually serve as a great strategy to treat yourself while studying without getting a stomach-ache for the big test.

4. Wine and Cheez-Its

If you feel like studying while getting a little tipsy, pairing wine and Cheez-Its can serve as the perfect nightcap to celebrate both your adulthood and your youth at the same time. “I like wine and Cheez-Its because it’s classy as f—k,” Northwestern junior Rosalie Chan said. “It makes me feel very comfortable just kicking back in my apartment.” A sweet wine with some salty, cheesy crackers can satisfy your entire palate even while you feel like the rest of your life is falling apart in front of your eyes.

5. Chocolate

Some people like nougat in their chocolate, some like peanut butter and others just want the sweet treat in its purest form. “I go for Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate when I can get my hands on it, and many, many Kit Kats when I can’t,” Northwestern sophomore Adina Goldman said. Whether you have $2 or $2,000left in your bank account, you can always find a cheap or classy alternative of this classic sweet snack. That little kick of caffeine could also help you get in that last hour of studying before you crash for the night.

6. CLIF Bars

Any other week, you might spend an hour with your friends in the dining hall for lunch, but ain’t nobody got time for that during finals week. Sure, this solid brick can look unappealing, but chew on it around noon and you’ll honestly feel sustained until dinnertime. Sure, there’s a man biking on the wrapper, but studying requires just as much energy as extensive pedaling. There’s definitely a flavor for everyone to enjoy (Chocolate Brownie over here). Pick one up for 99 cents at your local Whole Foods or find them in convenience stores.

7. Fish

Fish might not sound super appealing right off the bat, but fish has a lot of health benefits, like protein and vitamin D, that will help you feel comforted going into your finals by giving you endless amounts of energy (without the inevitable crash of energy drinks) and cleansing your body. Fish also has a lot of good omega-3 fatty acids for your brain that will make sure you get an A on every single one of your finals (well, hopefully). And if you don’t stare it in the eye, you might actually start to enjoy it.

8. Sour Patch Kids

There’s nothing like getting that sour, but strangely sweet, feeling on the inside of your cheeks to wake you up for some all-night studying. Sour Patch Kids serve as a great throwback comfort food and remind you of a time when frolicking in your front yard took up the majority of your hours instead of classes and studying. Sure, they’re chock full of sugar, but if you need a push through those last few hours until your final, you might want to pick up an extra large bag of SPK for a few dollars at literally any store near you.

9. Nutella

The nutty spread that puts peanut butter to shame, you can find the glorious substance in any average college student’s dorm room. “I eat Nutella off a spoon to cope with stress,” Northwestern freshman Mary Fan said. The chocolate-hazelnut spread serves as the perfect companion for any carb from bagels to peanut butter sandwiches and often brings smiles to the faces of college students long enough to make them forget that finals are a thing. Any reputable dining hall will offer you this luxury for free, especially in your time of need.

10. Baby Carrots

Yes, it’s a vegetable, but there’s nothing like that satisfying crunch when you bite into a baby carrot. And you can eat a whole entire bag literally guilt-free with this low-calorie treat. You can always find carrot sticks in your dining hall if you’re on a meal plan, but if not, they’re honestly one of the cheapest items you can find on your college-student budget at the grocery store. This way you can attend to that oral fixation and attend to four months’ worth of notes for five different classes without ever having to stop yourself from reaching for another bite.

Hi, my name is Meghan and I'm a sophomore at Northwestern University. I've had a passion for creative writing ever since I was creative editor of my high school paper, and now I'm pursuing the creative writing major at the college level. I love writing in my own voice to help other people get through tough times.

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