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5 Tips for Healthy Eating when Studying

Research has shown that the better and healthier we eat the better we feel and the more we can focus at the task at hand. People who rely on sugary fixes too often, drink too much coffee, or eat fatty foods are at risk of being sluggish, jittery or feeling burned out. When studying for exams we can be inclined to stay up late, and forget to eat and drink properly because of the stress. But bad eating habits before and during exams will leave you with less energy both mentally and physically.

No matter what your diet, vegan, dairy-free, vegetarian or carnivore, good nutrition will always keep you at your optimum and help you concentrate better. So what are the best nutritional and common sense tips for healthy eating around exam time?

Dont skip meals.

When you have your head in the books and time is ticking by fast, you might forget or skip a meal to keep up momentum. Don’t do it! Your brain needs food and water to keep working. Mental fatigue can cloud your brain, especially if you are about to take an exam. Have a quick snack, such as a granola bar, apple, or low fat/carb sandwich to keep you going.

Eat ‘brainey’ food:

Proteins from lean meat, fish and eggs, fruit, nuts and whole grains are foods that help keep the brain mentally alert. Snacking on nuts and dried fruit as well as keeping Hydrated with water will help stop your concentration from wavering. Remember, fruit like bananas, blueberries, and oranges all have natural sugars that will give you a lift when you’re feeling down and out.

Eat smaller meals more often.

Large meals tend to make us feel stuffed and bloated, and the idea of 3 meals a day is a modern cultural convention and scientific research opinion is divided. However, our energy levels start depleting around 3 hours after we eat food. Having 5/6 small meals instead of 3 large ones will keep you balanced throughout the day.

Keep caffeine to a minimum.

Caffeine is great pick-me-up and is proven to help concentration. But too much will leave you jittery and dehydrated. If you’re a coffee addict try and cut back to one a day.

Avoid sugar!

Seems obvious, but we are all guilty of eating high fat high sugar snacks sometimes, such as muffins, chocolate, or pastries when we are stressed out and have not prepared any food. High fat/sugar items take time for your stomach to digest and will leave you feeling sluggish. If you have a sweet tooth, why not make a sugary treat part of your rewards in your study planner!

Whether you are studying or about to take an exam, eating right, carrying healthy snacks and plenty of water will greatly aid your concentration levels and give you lots of energy. Remember, a poor diet will affect your sleep, your mood and will leave you struggling to focus, so start preparing your favorite healthy snacks!

For more on exams, stress, and advice for students preparing for the Leaving Certificate, see our dedicated section.

Article sponsored by Glanmore Foods,
Award Winning Healthy Irish School Lunches