When it comes to the stresses and pressures of the exam period, it can be very easy to let healthy eating fall on the roadside; something that can often have a negative effect on performance.
Food is vital to fuel our brains and bodies and the right food can really make a difference to your energy levels.
Here are some top tips on what to eat during exam season, from superfoods through to tips on meal prepping and packing snacks.
#Tip number one-eat a good breakfast
I know this one is always plastered over every single health website, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It sets you up for body and brain performance and a good breakfast will mean that you are full of energy and will not resort to sugar or coffee to keep you going until lunch.
Porridge is the perfect breakfast to keep you going through the day. You can make porridge with water or any kind of milk or milk substitute, before layering it with delicious toppings, from almond butter through to bananas and strawberries. Here are some great porridge topping ideas.
Studies have shown that a bowl of porridge in the morning can boost bone mineral density; lower your blood pressure; lower the risk of diabetes and also promote healthy gut bacteria- it’s also a brilliant source of fiber! This meal is the perfect dish before a long study day or before an exam.
#2 Have three meals a day
Make sure that you have three good, healthy meals a day in order to make sure that you are rarely hungry, as this can be a major distraction when you are trying to work or when you are in the middle of an exam!
#3 Pre-prepare your snacks to save money
Alongside having three good meals a day, it’s also a plus to make sure that you have snacks on you! Although the vending machine can be a tempting thought, it is important- in order to save money and to stay healthy- to have your snacks already pre-prepared.
Some healthy snacks include:
Apple, cinnamon and peanut butter- peanut butter are packed with protein and healthy fats; apples are full of vitamin C and cinnamon is great for a good digestion.
Mixed nuts, you can grab some of these and put them in a tub or a sandwich bag to take to the library.
Hummus! Put some of your favourite hummus in a tub along with some healthy carrot sticks, peppers or cucumber, all of which are high in vitamin C!
Blueberries are the ultimate superfood, packed with vitamin C they are super tasty and sweet, you can pack some with some orange or chopped bananas, which are a great source of potassium.
Dark chocolate has always been a debate concerning superfoods, still, you cannot deny that dark chocolate is a rather delicious snack, especially with a cup of tea on the side- it’s also apparently good for your blood sugar levels?!
Hard boiled eggs. This may look a little strange in the library, but eggs are a brilliant superfood to have when you are studying. They contain every single vitamin and are also a great source of protein, so boil some up the evening before and snack away!
#4 Find substitutes for caffeine
Although caffeine may seem like your lifeline at the moment, withdrawal can cause terrible headaches and it is generally advised to not have more than four cups of the stuff a day.
A great substitute for caffeine in the mornings can be some lemon in hot water. The vitamin C kick is great for getting you going whilst the hot water gets your bowels going, keeping you, erm, regular.
#5 Eat Some Super Foods!
Superfoods have always been the biggest topic of debate in the health world. Although it has been proven that no food can actually offer you super effects, there are plenty of foods that are very healthy for you, here are a few that you could incorporate into your diet around exam time;
-Ginger- high in antioxidants, this root is perfect for fighting any summer colds! Ginger is also great for digestion and a cup of ginger tea after an evening meal will mean that you won’t wake up feeling sluggish.
-Avocado- packed with good fats, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K, the avocado is a great superfood. Not only that, it is also full of more potassium than a banana.
-Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C. They also have a lot of vitamin A in which is good for maintaining healthy vision, especially when you have been staring at a screen all day!
-Almonds. There are nutrient-rich nuts and make a great study snack.
-Coconuts; these are great in fatty acids that can help to support your gut. You can enjoy coconut in a variety of forms, from coconut milk in curries; to coconut water and even coconut dairy free milk in your tea!
-Flaxseed is filled with healthy omega complexes and is super tasty on your morning porridge.
#6 Meal prep and plan
In order to save time that can be spent on studying (and sleeping), meal-prepping might just be the best thing you could do during the exam season. Prep all our main meals at the start of the week, you will save time and money by shopping with a list!
#7 Cook large batches to grab and eat throughout the week
It can be really hard to find the motivation to cook when you come back from a long day in the library; with many simply resorting to fast food or to snacking. A great way to get around this is to cook large batches of food at the start of each week that you can eat over the course of a few days, it’s like microwave meals- but healthy!
#8 Take some vitamins
A good vitamin routine will ensure that you are getting everything that you need! Omega three is perfect for brain development and can be found in cod liver oil tablets. You could also take multivitamins each morning or chewable vitamin C to fight away the summer colds! If you are a vegetarian, then supplements such a vitamin B complex are vital. Evening primrose oil can be great for women to control the symptoms of PMS around exam time whilst iron and magnesium can be great to speed up metabolism, support your immune system and to give you more energy.
#9 Snack on some bananas!
Not only are bananas brilliant for helping you to recover from a hangover, they are also brilliant fuel for your brain! Packed full of potassium and vitamin A and C, they provide you with slow release energy and make great study snacks.
#10 Get some sleep!
Sleep is vital to help digestion, metabolism and immune system, so get snoozing!