Exams Are Hard, Don’t Let Them Ruin Your Diet
When you’re in the middle of your exam period, your schedule is likely jam-packed. You’re under a lot of pressure and your stress levels are hitting the roof. Unless you’re taking a course in nutrition, diet will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, we need to remind ourselves of the saying, “you only get out what you put in”—and you have to put the effort into the correct food.
How to Eat During Exams
Study Hard, Eat Smart
Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. You’ll probably find that these standard three meals a day leave you to want between them. This makes you slow down, both mentally and physically.
You may think that as a student you don’t have time for more than this, but it’s time to revamp this three-meal format of daily dietary routine.
Use your smart student brain and adjust your schedule. Just incorporate a little preparation time in the morning and take your micro-meals with you. By considering a series of five or six smaller meals throughout the day, your body will be able to break food down regularly and leave you feeling full for longer.
You’ll also feel less of a need to head over to student shops and purchase the often far-too-unhealthy snacks that they provide. With a series of smaller portioned meals spaced throughout the day, your metabolism will be turbo-charged at all times. Beat feelings of fatigue that can contribute to stress so you can head over to your exams with peace of mind.
Remember that just because a meal is smaller, doesn’t mean you can get away with typical lethargic student food such as jam on toast all day. As a student, you should be investing in your body and maintaining a balanced diet.
You Are What You Eat
Eating good quality ingredients in the right amount, along with the correct quantities of fluids, will help you maintain good health. You’ll feel your best, both physically and mentally.
Being a post-secondary student means you need to maintain a healthy mind to help you study.
Invest in your body like you have your mind. Give it the diet it needs to help you in the long run. Reputable online advice from government-funded organizations like Choose My Plate can help you to a balanced diet.
Most healthy diets include the following:
- 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Starchy foods such as bread, rice, or pasta
- Protein either through beans, pulses, eggs, fish, or meat
- Eat unsaturated fats in small quantities
- Go easy on the sugar
- Drink plenty of water
Good Quality Food and Good Choices
Most of us are well aware of the fundamentals that comprise a balanced diet. But how can we perfect this diet, especially with stress in mind?
The keyword to keep in mind is ‘fresh’. Purchase the freshest ingredients you can because these will be the most nutrient-dense.
Instead of going to the land of processed foods and take out, take a run down to the grocery store to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Sure, sometimes pizza is more appealing. But we’re talking on a daily—while we could eat pizza every day, we shouldn’t, which is why we suggest healthier snacks instead!
By choosing healthier snacks, you’ll avoid excessive refined sugars, sodium, and heavily saturated fats.
Research shows low-cost junk food has poor nutritional value. If you don’t have the right nutrients, you’ll find it difficult to get over stress. So choose foods that are full of nutrients so you can help your brain help you!
You may think that just because you’re a student, you don’t have the money to spend on good quality ingredients—but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggest that you can eat fresh and healthy for less, if you follow three simple reminders: Plan, Compare, and Prepare.
It’s typical for students to be partying hard and hitting the bar more than the books, but all the booze will catch up with you further down the line. If you’re having a pint to soothe your stress, you’ll be gaining a lot of empty calories and not helping your mind to relax—substitute the beer with a fruit smoothie to reward your body and your bank balance!
Boost Your Immune System
Feeding your body with the food it needs will help your immune system destroy disease-causing organisms and protect you from infectious pathogens that otherwise might make you ill the night before your big test!
With flu season starting in September—but ongoing until April!—this should serve as a reminder to students that immune function is important all year round. Incorporate immune system-boosting foods into your daily diet because there is nothing more stressful than being ill just before an exam.
Green and yellow vegetables are rich in beta-carotene which helps to boost the immune system. These can be shallow fried with other immune system-building spices such as garlic, ginger, or turmeric.
When exams kick in and your mind is losing focus, it can be easy for your diet to take a sideline. You may have a billion things to do in a day, but at least you can make time for food prep.
Make your daily diet your new passion, take pleasure in your meals, and look forward to them as a reward for your hard studying efforts. You’ll soon see your stress levels decrease. Good luck!
- A Perfect Diet for Students in a Period of Exam Stress - April 18, 2018