Healthy eating habits during exams

June 4, 2012


If you are a pure vegetarian, you may like to read the Vegetarians Version along with details here.



Ever felt sleepy after a large meal? Well imagine it is not just your body but your brain feeling equally sluggish. This is the last thing you would want during exam time. Let me share some easy to use tips about eating habits during exams to keep you and your brain extremely productive. Eating a balanced diet is the key.

Of course eat well and get back to studies at simplylearnt.com


Feed Your Body and Your Brain

Diet forms a big role in your preparation for the exam day. You need to keep up the energy levels high, your alertness and your concentration at the maximum and improve your memory as well. Ensure you keep drinking fluids throughout the day. Three big meals a day will make you sluggish mentally and physically. Eat 5 smaller portions at regular intervals, i.e. every three hours. Fluids should be taken more frequently.

Remember, students who are healthy can focus more!

Find below suggestions on what to eat at what time of the day.

Breakfast
Have breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast should be high on protein and low on carbohydrates and full of vitamins, minerals and essential fats.
  • 10-15 soaked almonds
  • 1 large glass of Skimmed Milk (avoid whole fat milk)
  • Cheese and Wholegrain toast
  • Eggs
  • Banana

Mid-morning

Very small portion with natural sugars only to keep you going till lunch.
  • Banana
  • Dried Dates or apricots
  • Carrots or Carrot Juice
  • Walnuts or almonds

Lunch

Keep the lunch also low on carbohydrates and fats in order to not make you sluggish. Keep the portions also small. High protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, cheese and eggs stimulate the brain so are better for use at lunchtime. Keep a salad portion to get the vitamins and minerals and a wholegrain bread for the carbohydrates. Very colorful vegetables are great like spinach, bell peppers, broccoli and carrots.


Evening

Or should I say mid afternoon! You can opt or vegetables to munch on like carrots, radishes, celery. Proteins like cheese, boiled egg are a good option. Add a fruit for necessary sugars. Ginger tea (ginger boiled in water with honey) is great too.


Dinner

Starchy foods like pasta, rice and bread trigger the release of the hormone serotonin from the brain, which is relaxing and prepares you for sleep. Dinner time is a good time to have this. Also ensure you have your dinner at least 2 hours before sleep. Keep a portion of salad again. Desserts, low on sugar and fats, are allowed but in a very small portion.



Snack Smart

You need to keep you going throughout the day. You should also get nutrients and keep your blood sugar level stable. Keep nuts and light crackers handy.


Foods to Avoid


Certain food are really bad for your concentration and retention powers during exam time.
  • Avoid candy bars, chocolates or sweets. They do give you a kick right after eating but after some time the blood sugar levels swoop and you feel like on a roller coaster.
  • Cut back on caffeine. Small quantity is great to give you a boost, more will give you jitters
  • Avoid fast food and fried food, chips and toffees, apart from making your brain sluggish they will give you extra calories which you are burning due low physical activities in exam days.


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Concept behind the diet

Proteins

Proteins, the essential brain food, upon digestion are broken down into amino acids that feed the brain. They help you concentrate, keep you alert during an exam and fill you up without making you sluggish.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates in a moderate quantity helps you provide requisite energy to endure long exam keeping anxiety away. Carbohydrates help absorb tryptophan, which is a substance that is converted into serotonin within the brain. This even helps you relax and think clearly through your exam. Carbohydrate heavy diet can be taken at dinner time to prepare your body for proper rest at sleep.


Vitamins and Minerals

You need healthy body and brain and vitamins are the key there. B vitamins such as folic acid, B12 and B6 play an important role in the functioning of the brain messages that are sent back and forth throughout the body. Lack of iron and folic acid in a diet affects the mental powers, as these are needed to make sure there is sufficient oxygen in their blood.


Fats

Some fats are good! Omega-3 fatty acids contains DHA , which covers 40% of the brain. Fats help the little messengers in the brain regulate certain aspects of the body such as blood circulation, memory and the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids rich food should be included in your diet. For example, walnuts, salmon, tuna and soybeans (excellent for vegetarians due to the variety it provides).


Fluids

Stay hydrated and drink at least 7-8 glasses of fluid, mostly water but including weak tea, herb teas, natural (not preserved) fruit and vegetable juices and not more than two cups of coffee.


ALL THE BEST