Better Energy Drink Alternatives

By: Angelimar De Jesus Jimenez , University of Maryland Health Center, Dietetic Intern

I know the semester is in full throttle when I start spending long hours studying for exams, working on projects, and writing papers. Trying to get all of these things done and also juggling work can send my brain into overdrive, and let me tell you sometimes it gets hard for me to think about eating healthy and I’ve often considered grabbing a Red Bull® or another energy drink to give me the boost I need to keep studying. Who’s thinking, “I know, right!?”

Energy Drinks Picture (3)It’s not surprising to see people drinking Red Bull® or Monster® energy drinks around campus – especially at the library, whether it’s McKeldin or the Chemistry Library.  Have you ever asked yourself if these energy drinks really help in keeping your energy up? The answer is yes it can …to an extent.

The truth is energy drinks can boost your energy, but it’s short lived and you tend to feel more tired after its effects wear off.

These drinks also contain a high amount of caffeine and drinking too much caffeine can lead to unwanted side effects like nervousness, irritability, as well as increased heartbeat and blood pressure. Doesn’t sound like what you need when you’re trying to concentrate and study, does it?

The great news is we can get sustainable energy from nutritious food and sleep.

breakfast (4)

Eating a well-balanced breakfast can give you the energy you need to power through your day.

Here are a few tips to get that long-lasting energy you need to get through long days or study sessions:

  • Eat breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. It can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep your energy up, helping you feel less fatigue as the day passes. For a quick, healthy breakfast, try a cup of plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup of blueberries, and ¼ cup of sliced almonds.
  • Get enough sleep.  Restful sleep can help improve your concentration, increase productivity, and make the time you spend studying more effective. Try to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Sometimes tiredness and headaches can be a sign of dehydration. Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you it needs more water. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help prevent tiredness and keep you hydrated.
  • Eat fiber and whole grain carbs.  Fiber helps keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and helps you feel fuller for longer. Look for foods rich in fiber such as whole grain products, fruits and vegetables. Try whole wheat bread with peanut butter, a granola bar or sliced apples with yogurt or peanut butter for a study snack. More snack ideas for productive studying >>
  • Eat lean proteins.  Getting enough protein in your diet can help you feel alert and focused. It also promotes brain function while studying. Some nutritious protein sources include beans, eggs, skinless chicken, and turkey.
  • Go crazy (but not too crazy) for nuts. Nuts are rich in protein and magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in energy production, making them a great study snack. Just watch your portion size as nuts tend to be high in fat.

Share with us! Have any tips of your own to keep you feeling energized during your day?

For more more energy boosting nutrition tips, sign up for a FREE Diet Analysis with the University Health Center.


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