EXAM SESSION. These two words don’t only come with the burden to manage your time and study materials, which you need to master for the next coming weeks, but also the stress of not having enough time to see your friends, exercise and for many of us, to cook.
In this post I would like to give you some tips about how to spend as little time as possible with preparing meals, eating healthy, eating energy rich foods and at the same time still staying in good shape.
First of all I would like to mention that in order to keep your body and brain in balance, healthy eating is not enough. It’s all about having a balanced lifestyle. Before starting your exam session you have to think about creating a cycle in your everyday life which involves: waking up and going to bed around the same time, respecting the main meals of the day, never forget to take breaks and try to move your body whenever you can. But my duty here is to give nutritional advice, so I’m going to start with that.
Tip Nr: 1 Meet your three best friends every day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Eating breakfast seems to be a difficult task for most of us. I was personally fighting my no-breakfast habit 4 years ago and today my first thought in the morning is having my breakfast. It’s very important to have breakfast right after you wake up. This way your metabolism gets going and you nurture your body with real energy and not trick it with drinking coffee. Breakfast and coffee can go hand in hand but your body is screaming for real food, even if you can’t hear it right now.
Breakfast tips: WHOLE GRAINS: OATS (simple ones, not coated with sugar or “popped”), OATS with dried fruits, WHEATBRAN, GRANARY BREAD, + 1 BOILED EGG
Eating a lot of refined carbs like pasta, white bread is not only bad for your physical health, but it also leads to sleepiness, lethargy, and mental dullness. Fortunately, complex carbs on the other hand have the opposite effect, they break down slowly in the process of digestion, they keep the glucose levels even in your bloodstream, insulin levels steady and they give you a long-lasting energy, which leads to enhanced memory function and even better grades.
It might not sound like the “breakfast of your dreams” but the effect of increased effectiveness, improved focus and raised energy levels will make you love them!
SECRET BOOST: Sprinkle over some high fiber seeds: ground flaxseeds
Tip Nr: 2 EAT EVERY 3 HOURS
- Fruits: FOREST BERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, APPLES, CITRUS FRUITS OR ANY OTHER FRUIT
- Vegetables: TOMATOES, PEPPERS, CABBAGE, CARROTS
- Go Nuts!: WALNUTS, ALMONDS, PISTACHIOS PUMPKIN SEEDS OR ANY OTHER NUTS, BUT ONLY A HANDFUL
- Chocolate: <75% DARK CHOCOLATE
Yes, you see well! If you want to be effective with your studies you have to keep your glucose levels steady so you won’t fall in lethargy, lose concentration and become easily irritated. This you can achieve with having in-between meal sancks.
Evidence published by Tufts University in U.S. suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. It might be a bit pricy though, but since we are in the strawberry season now, you can replace blueberries with strawberries. Every fruit or vegetable with red colour is full with vitamins and anti-oxidants, namely lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which can help to protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Anti-oxidants are the guardian cleaners of your blood vessels. Cleaner vessels, more oxygen to the brain = better brain power = better grades.
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains. Recent studies suggest that that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline.
Many types of nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids that help your brain to perform optimally. Nuts also contain a fair amount of iron, mineral which is essential in the process of carrying oxygen to the brain, this result in increased mental alertness and ability to retain information.
SECRET BOOST: VEGETABLE SNACKBOXES
Tip Nr:3 LUNCH BREAK
I’d suggest personally taking your lunch break in your neighbourhood restauracja. Why? You can move your body, have the budget-friendly lunch menu and skip cooking. Regardless if you go for the lunch-out or you are still motivated to prepare your own lunch you should just keep in mind these tips:
- Don’t forget to make vegetables an essential part of your lunch. Researchers claim that on a “real healthy plate” the colour of different vegetables should be: 3, this would translate to the fact that we get all the nutrients we need from vegetables.
- Choose a whole grain side or main dish. Your choice can include: whole grain pasta, brown rice or potatoes.
- Eat till you are not hungry anymore, not till you are full! Scientists claim that our stomach size equals to the size of our fist and that’s what we should keep in mind when portioning food. Overeating can lead to lower energy levels and sleepiness.
- Choice of meat: try to go for the least fatty parts of meat. Oily fish can be one of the perfect choices, and before you think only about salmon, let’s see who else is playing in the same league: sardines, herring and anchovies, and other larger pelagic fish, such as trout, tuna and mackerel. Oily fishes contain high amounts of essential fatty acids such as OMEGA 3, they are good for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and general wellbeing.
- Avoid deep-fried dishes.
SECRET BOOST: TAKE A PIECE OF OILY FISH, CUT UP SOME VEGETABLES, SPRINKLE OVER SOME OLIVE OIL AND SPICES, TOSS IT IN THE OVEN, RETURN TO THE KITCHEN IN 20-30 MINUTES (depending on the veggies) AND VOILA: LUNCH IS READY!
Tip Nr: 4 DINNER
It’s important to mention that one should have dinner ideally 2 hours before going to sleep. Depending on your size and gender you can pick you dinner. A dinner similar to lunch is perfect as such. But if you prefer something lighter you can go for yoghurt, cottage cheese, curd, salad or fruits.
Many of us need more than guidance than that so I would like to share with you one day of mine from the perspective of eating:
7:30 a.m.: oats porridge, with 0.5% milk and a sprinkle of ground flaxseeds
11:00 a.m.: veggie snacks, usually red bell pepper and red cabbage
13:30-14:30 p.m.: oven-baked salmon with broccoli and single cream
17:00 p.m.: 1 apple or veggie snack box
20:00 p.m.: 1 cottage cheese light 150 gr + 2 tomatoes
Good luck on your exams and you all are gonna rock them!
Please if you have some good ideas or additional info, comments are always welcome!
For another one of my posts about my Erasmus experience please click here.
Another blogger wrote about cheaper shopping in Warsaw. Click here for the post!