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I’ve taken over 12 of these tests myself and without a doubt, the most miserable experiences were the times when I forgot to bring a snack with me!
A tasty snack will improve your morale
When you have a snack on the SAT, you have something to look forward to. The importance of having a reward for yourself for getting through the sections cannot be overestimated!
The poor souls taking the SAT without a snack… they have nothing to look forward to during break time, only a lonely, hungry wait until the test resumes and keeps pounding away at their exhausted brains and stomachs.
So, a snack is great for your morale, but that’s not the only benefit.
A healthy snack will fuel your brain and body
You also will function better if you have fuel to rejuvenate yourself with midway through the test and maybe stretch for a bit as well!
The old cliche is so true: your body is like a machine, and it needs the right fuel (food) to run properly.
It’s not true that you can just put any old greasy food in the tank and hope to perform at your best. The older I get, the more clearly I realize how much your food intake affects your mood, your focus, and your physical and mental abilities.
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So, without further delay, here are my top 10 best and worst SAT snacks to bring to the day of the test (then check this article out for even more snack ideas!).
The 7 best snacks to bring to the SAT
- Trail mix, for a healthy blend of nuts, dried fruits, and perhaps a few chocolate or peanut butter drops for a sweet mood-booster.
- Beef jerky, for a high-protein, low-fat source of energy. My personal favorite.
- Granola, for a sweet energy boost and good source of pick-me-up calories.
- Gum, for people who get nervous more than they get hungry. You can work off some nervous energy by chewing it… though I’d still recommend some “real food” as a supplement.
- Fresh fruit, a classic choice that you absolutely can not go wrong with. I’m a fan of bananas and apples; oranges are a bit high in acid and sometimes make my stomach hurt later.
- Dark chocolate, in moderation – a few squares of delicious dark chocolate will lower stress, boost your mood, and give you a mild pick-me-up. Make sure to only have a little, or you will experience a sugar crash in the next section of the SAT.
- Coffee, green tea, or an energy shot, like 5-Hour Energy, etc. – ONLY for students who know how their body responds. I know that if I have half of a shot when I’m feeling tired, my energy levels will shoot up for another couple of hours. However, if I drink the whole thing, or if I have it when I’m already feeling energetic, I will get way too fidgety, irritable, and tense to perform well. Know your body if you’re going to try this advanced SAT snack.
The 3 worst snacks to eat on the day of the SAT
- Greasy chips, which hit your digestion hard and offer very little actual nutritional content… it’s like putting wood chips in your car’s gas tank and hoping it will run properly!
- Sugary candy – a few squares of dark chocolate or a piece of gum can help, but chowing down on Sour Patch Kids or Twizzlers is a recipe for a HUGE energy crash in 30 minutes, along with restlessness and possibly a stomach-ache. Avoid, avoid, avoid… save the candy for a reward after the test.
- Soft Drinks – just as bad, and maybe even worse than sugary candy. You’ll crash hard with all those empty calories, and the carbonation won’t help your body concentrate at all. I know how tempting that soft drink machine looks… just skip it and drink water instead.
One final “snack” that everyone should bring to the SAT
Bottled water is something everyone should bring to the test. You never know when the public water fountain will be out of order, or taste weird.
Staying properly hydrated is just as important as eating! Being even mildly dehydrated causes mood changes, low energy, headaches, and problems thinking clearly.
Remember, a human can go weeks without food, but only a few days without water!
For more pro-tutor’s SAT tips check out my online SAT prep bookstore!
(More) Energy-Boosting Snacks to Get You Through the Test
Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast Before the Test
Green Tea vs. Coffee on Test Day
Warming Up the Morning of the SAT
5 Stretches to Boost Your Energy During Tests
Essential Things You Must Bring to the SAT Test
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