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Michigan State UniversitySports & Cardiovascular Nutrition MSU Radiology Department Sports & Cardiovascular Nutrition

Snack Your Way to an 'A'

When it comes to going back to school, we all know that breakfast has been shown to improve performance on tests and attention in the classroom. However, breakfast is not the end of the story. Healthy snacking mid-morning and mid-afternoon is important to maintain that focus and attention throughout the entire day. Put these knowledge-packed snacks on your back-to-school shopping list:

  • Fresh fruits are high in vitamins and minerals and can be easily stored in backpacks and lockers. Pair with half of a “snack size” bag of unsalted nuts and you’ve got an A+ combination.
  • Granola bars are a great choice, but take a closer look at the food label to assure each bar has around 200 Calories, with at least 2 grams of protein. This will increase satiety and keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Homemade trail mix can be a cost-saving and convenient snack. Buy your favorite ingredients in bulk and mix yourself: pretzels, dried fruit, unsalted nuts and whole-grain cereals. Chocolate may create a mess in hot temperatures, but is okay if trail mix will be kept in lockers. A full “snack size” bag portion is the perfect amount to snack on.
  • Not looking to be fancy? How about half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread. This will travel and store well in almost any temperature or location.
  • Don’t forget about hydration! If bottled water is not allowed in the classroom, students should keep it in their locker or visit the drinking fountain between classes. Even slight dehydration can cause loss of focus. Forego high-sugar beverages that will add unnecessary calories and cause spikes in blood sugar. If flavor is desired, try water flavored with no- or low-calorie sweeteners.

During long periods of studying, it is easy for students to forget about eating and drinking. It may be helpful to set an alarm on a watch or phone as a reminder to have a study break snack. In addition, keeping an open water bottle close by will help remind students to sip regularly. Ideally, students should go no longer than 3-4 hours without eating.

Don’t let your student out the door in the morning without checking his/her backpack for healthy snacks!

Contact Information:

Nutrition Clinic


4660 S. Hagadorn Rd.
Suite 410 Eyde Building
East Lansing, MI 48823


Joe Carlson, Ph.D.

Joey Eisenmann, Ph.D.

Radiology Building
Michigan State University
846 Service Road
East Lansing, MI 48824