We all know that, to keep our brains running smoothly, we need to fuel them appropriately with a balanced diet. This is specially important during exams or other stress periods, because mental work burns more calories than sometimes we realize.
One easy and effective way to get that extra energy our brains need are snacks. When used in conjunction with an already good diet, they can give a much needed boost to your memory, attention, comprehension…
When to snack?
I’ve found the best time to go for a little snack is during studying breaks. I use the pomodoro technique, so every 25 minutes I’ll have a little break, and that’s when I do my snacking. Not every break has to be a snack-break, of course!
If I am cramming, I find eating while
studying also works, but it is messier and can interrupt your focus. So
try your best to plan little breaks at set intervals!
How to snack?
Eat small things, both in portion and in size. Finger foods are much better than stuff you need utensils for. Bite sized
foods work best and are generally less messy. Small portions mean you
get energy as you need it, and that you won’t overeat or force your body
to do a heavy digestion while studying (trust me, you don’t want that!
You want all the energy going to your brain and not your guts!).
What to snack?
where many people get stuck, but truth is possibilities are endless. I
advise against junk food, but even that is better (in moderation, of
course!) than having nothing at all. It is a good idea to plan ahead
what you will be eating and snacking that week: this way you can make
sure you choose a variety of foods with good nutritional values, and
your choices are wiser.
- Fruit smoothies (a favorite here is frozen strawberries, banana & cinnamon)
- Tea (any type, hot or iced)
- A small cup of hot chocolate
- Orange juice
- Fruit and vegs
- Berries (I’m a fan of blueberries, but to each their own!)
- Carrot, green pepper and/or celery sticks
- Hummus (pair it up with the vegetable sticks and it’s yummy!)
- Guacamole (it can work as a dip, too!)
- Clementine wedges
- An apple
- A banana
- Cherry tomatoes
- Oat cookies
- Bread sticks
- A good old sandwich (this one is too much for me, but it’s good for longer breaks)
- Hard pretzels or pretzel rods
- Dark chocolate (but do not overdo this one!)
- Popcorn (same here!)
- M&Ms (or similar, but in moderation)
- Granola bars
- Fats and Proteins
- Nuts (I’m specially a fan of walnuts, but any one goes!)
- Olives (pitless)
- Cheese (wedges, mini cheese balls, diced…)
- A hard boiled egg
- Cold meats (diced, rolled up slices…)
The list, honestly, is endless, as are the benefits of regular and healthy snacking for students like you and me.
ETA: Adding more snack ideas as I come up with them. Feel free to share yours!
(Note of the Author: Please forgive any mistakes I may have made. English is my third language and sometimes I get brain-hiccups while writing long things!)