Healthy Eating during Exams!
Healthy Eating during Exams, with exams approaching, healthy snacking is the last thing a student thinks of. It’s easy to get into the habit of quick coffee and take-way pizza, because you don’t want to waste time on dining in detail. But, actually, good nutrition should be part of a students study plan because it’s going to help him ace those tests.
Remember the rule:
The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you’ll study.
Whether you are a student or mother of a student preparing for his exams, these tips will help you build healthy eating habits during exams.
Here are 10 tips for eating right during exams:
- Meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements will make doing your best much easier. Iron and Vitamin B are especially important to maintaining the physical and mental energy necessary to study well. Iron-containing foods : red meat, cereals and spinach. Some foods that contain B vitamins are: whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts. Some other foods that provide nutrients to the brain are Fish and soy.
- Food is always a better choice than Dietary supplements. So try to replace Vitamin C tablet with an orange. An orange contains not only Vitamin C, but also fiber, beta carotene and other minerals. Fruit ranks high among the best foods you can eat for your brain. The natural sugars in fruit offer clean energy, so you don’t experience the crash that follows consumption of refined sugar. Blueberries (which can be bought frozen in bags) get a lot of attention because they contain powerful antioxidants and other nutrients. When you’re heading for the library or to your room, pack whole-food items like apples, bananas, carrot sticks or a handful of dry fruits.
- Eating regular meals helps keep nutrients and energy levels more stable. It reduces the temptation of empty-calorie snacks in the vending machine. Eat at regular intervals.
- Consider taking 5 or 6 well-balanced, smaller meals. Big meal stays in your stomach. Eating the standard three-big-meals-a-day slows you down mentally and physically. A sandwich or some fruits could do the magic. Fresh fruits, fruit smoothies, dry fruits, honey-coated nuts, soups, interesting salads etc are good options.
- Meet for breakfasts. Meet your study buddies during morning hours. If you feel like having a snack break, breakfast is a good time. Oats, Muesli, Upma, Khichdi, Idli etc are great options with a low glycemic index which provide a constant and steady supply of glucose.
- Hydration is the main thing to care for. When you sit in the comfort of your room and probably with your AC on, you do not feel thirsty and hence end up drinking less fluids. When dehydrated, the body and mind are dazed, restless. It is hard to concentrate on studies. Choose your beverages well. Reduce caffeine, sugar intake. Since too much caffeine can make you jittery, try to drink moderate amounts: 400 to 450 mg per day, the equivalent of 2/2.5 cups, (16 to 20 ounces or 500 to 625 ml). Better choices include water, fruit juice, milk, antioxidant rich green tea, milkshakes, fresh soups, lemonade, lassi and coconut water. Avoid aerated beverages. Have at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
- Choose power packed vegetables. Not all vegetables are created equal. Use the hint – the darker the color, the higher the concentration of nutrients. Spinach has more nutrients for mind and body than lettuce.
- Snack smartly while studying and you may find that you retain more. Try to get two food groups into your snacks to balance the nutrients and keep your blood-sugar level stable. Eat healthy snacks in between meals like protein bars, fresh fruits, peanuts, makhana and roasted chana etc. specially when you are studying till late at night.
- It’s easy to feed the brain well. Gather simple recipes for nourishing foods. Brain boosting foods include foods that improve memory and concentration like almond walnuts, fish, flax seeds, banana, chickpeas, spinach, broccoli, etc.
- Avoid junk food. Foods like chocolate, cookies etc can cause a sudden spike in sugar levels in the blood. After a while, when the stomach feels empty it could lead to craving for more such junk food.
Healthy Eating during Exams!
Thank you for staying till the 10th tip. Extra 6 important suggestions for you to make your exam time less stressful.
- Feed yourself with good eight hours of sleep. Sleep is important. Good sleep is as good for your brain as food for the body. Lesser sleep can interfere with learning ability, causes mood swings and compromise your immune system.
- Keep yourself away from electronic devices.Take out an hour everyday for some recreational activity to keep yourself happy and motivated.
- Make sure you get your stress-buster foods. During stressful times like exams, the body’s requirement for certain water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin B complex and C, minerals like zinc goes up. These help in the synthesis and functioning of adrenal hormones that are basically our stress-fighting hormones. Brown rice, nuts, eggs, fresh veggies and fruits can help.
- Give yourself foods to increase efficiency of the brain: Antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E reduce damage to brain cells due to increased stress by fighting the free radicals. Eggs, fish, carrots, pumpkins, green leafy veggies, fresh fruits can help meet this requirement. They also help increase the body’s immunity and help reduce chances of the child falling sick during exams.
- Don’t miss out on memory enhancer foods. Omega 3 fatty acids found mainly in fish are required to enhance brain function and memory. It is recommended that you have at least two servings of Salmon (rawas fish), herring (bhing) or mackerel (bangda) per week. For restricting calories, they are best eaten grilled, shallow fried with very little oil or baked. If you do not eat fish or do not have access to good fish, add ground flax seeds (alsi), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (til), soya bean oil, canola oil to your diet. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also available.
- Avoid eating outside food during exams. Exams being times for high-stress and low-immunity, children are highly prone for infections. So, avoid eating outside food as much as possible.
Healthy Eating during Exams!
Examples of some healthy options for healthy eating during Exams and preparations for competitive exams.
|Breakfast||Oats, Muesli, Upma, Khichdi, Idlis,eggs, poha, idlis, dosa, dhokla|
|Smaller meals||red meat, cereals and spinach, whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts, Fish and soy, Brown rice, nuts, eggs, fresh veggies and fruits, carrots, pumpkins, ground flax seeds (alsi), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (til), soya bean oil, canola oil, milk and milk products, sprouts, tofu, chicken, healthy nuts in combination with healthy cereals like dalia, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat products.|
|Snacks||apples, bananas, carrot sticks or a handful of dry fruits, Fresh fruits, fruit smoothies, dry fruits, honey-coated nuts, soups, interesting salads,protein bars, fresh fruits, peanuts, makhana and roasted chana, milk and milk products, sprouts, tofu, eggs, chicken, fish, healthy nuts in combination with healthy cereals like dalia, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat products.|
|For hydration||water, fruit juice, milk, antioxidant rich green tea, milkshakes, fresh soups, lemonade, lassi and coconut water. |
|Food that you can avoid||chocolate, cookies, aerated drinks, fast food, heavy and oily meals|
Eating healthy, adequate rest and proper sleep are the key for fresh and healthy mind which makes retaining the knowledge easier.
All the best.
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