Eating healthy and ensuring you consume an appropriate amount of nutrients is important for every student when preparing for exams. Research has indicated that healthy eating can enhance your mood while increasing your ability to focus. But what is the best food for your brain? In this post, you will find out just that!
Why is food important for learning?
By eating the best foods for your brain, you can fuel your mind for an effective study session. It’ll also increase your alertness and energy. All of which will allow you to study more efficiently.
It’s tempting to forgo healthy meals during exam time. Consuming faster alternatives and drinking way too much caffeine and sugary drinks are so so tempting. However, these foods and drinks often do not have the dietary requirements needed and can lead to students feeling sluggish and burnt out.
Ensuring that you get your daily vitamin and mineral requirements will enhance your ability to perform better.
Iron and B vitamins, for example, play an important role in your mental energy level.
So in order to keep functioning properly, your brain requires proper food and appropriate nutrition. Improving your food choices when studying, may boost your academic performance.
If you skip meals mental fatigue can cloud your brain. This is not ideal before an exam.
It may be tempting to skip breakfast, but it is actually one of the most important meals of the day. Your brain requires energy and when you wake up in the morning you haven’t had food for many hours. Therefore, breakfast will provide you with the energy you need for the day ahead.
When studying becomes a top priority, especially as you get closer to exam time, the goal will be to have quick meals. But this does not mean you can’t still enjoy healthy meals. There is plenty of quick and healthy meal options available that will provide you with the right balance of nutrients and minerals required to boost your brain for study.
Avoid just eating frozen dinners and take away food because they are quicker and more convenient. You may also find it beneficial to prepare your own meals in advance and freeze them. This will reduce preparation time during your weeks in college and leave you with more time to study. These meals will offer you the right dietary requirements that will enable you to remain a healthy diet while preparing for your exams.
How do I keep my energy up while studying?
If you feel that your ability to study is being affected by large meals because they are making you feel too full and bloating, you may find it more appropriate to have a greater quantity of smaller meals over the course of the day.
What is the best food for your brain?
Whole Wheat Pasta
- Sugar snap peas
- Whole Wheat Bagel
- Multigrain Waffle
- Whole-grain pita chips
- Cottage Cheese and Pineapple
- Sandwich on Whole Wheat
- Low Sodium Soup
- Black Beans and Salsa
- Turkey or chicken Wrap
- Roasted almonds
- Cashews (Unsalted)
- Veggie Chips
- Frozen Grapes
- Trail Mix
- Whole fruit frozen popsicle
- Fruit Smoothie
- Pita Pizza
- Frozen Banana with Nuts
- Carrot Bars
- Fruit Chips
- Pumpkin seeds
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Fruit Salad
- Sunflower Seeds
- Banana Bread
- Coconut oil (Coconut chips)
- Bran Muffin
- Kale Chips
HEALTHY DRINK OPTIONS
- Skim Milk
- Orange Juice
- Cranberry Juice
- Green Tea
- Coffee (Not too much)
- Soy Milk
STUDENT DIET PLAN & COLLEGE COOKING
Research has indicated that those you have breakfast which is high in protein content tend to perform better on mental tasks throughout the day that those that do not. As a result, it is essential for students to kickstart their day with an appropriate breakfast that will set the day ahead. Starting your day with a good healthy breakfast will improve your memory, your academic performance and improve your consumption of important nutrients. Eating breakfast will also leave you feeling less hungry throughout the day.
A great way to start the day is to eat a breakfast that is full of protein, fiber and calcium. Whole-grains, cereals, wheat germ, eggs, bananas and nuts are a great source of energy as they are a source of sugar and carbohydrates which are needed by your body to produce energy that is required to increase productivity. Additionally, they also contain much-needed vitamin B.
- To have a breakfast that is relatively fast and full of pure goodness, blend some spinach with a kiwi, flaxseed and ice.
- Whole-grain cereal with some fruit is another great way to kick-start your day. You can combine this with a glass of milk, orange juice or a cup of tea.
- Wholemeal bread toasted with chopped banana is a very quick breakfast full of goodness.
- Eggs are a great way to start your day. Not only are they relatively fast to prepare you are starting your day with a great nutrient source. Eggs which contain a nutrient called choline are thought to help cognitive performance and enhance memory which is beneficial when you have a long day of studying ahead.
- Toasted English muffin and peanut butter. This yummy breakfast is full of protein and is easy to make. Not only that but it a cheap way to fuel your day.
- Peanut butter and jelly on toast. This protein-packed option is cheap, easy to make and highly addictive, a great way to kick start your day.
- Yogurt is a healthy breakfast that is full of healthy nutrients and minerals. You can add some fruit to it or even have it in a smoothie. Eat with a handful of nuts to set yourself up for the day ahead.
- Cereal is a good way to start your day. It can be quick and easy to make. You can have it with or without milk. You can put it in a resealable bag and bring it with you to eat on it as you like.
- Dried fruit can make a nice breakfast option. Just grab a bag of dried apricots or pineapple or apples etc and eat on them whenever or wherever you like. They provide an easy way to have healthy, fruit-based breakfast
HERE ARE SOME BRAIN-BOOSTING BREAKFAST RECIPES
1) FRENCH TOAST
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for serving
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- syrup or fresh fruit
- Crack the egg into a bowl, add the milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon and whisk with a fork until completely blended.
- Add the butter to a skillet and melt on medium heat.
- Dunk one slice of the bread into the egg mixture and flip it over. To stop the bread from getting soggy, only soak for a couple of seconds.
- Place the bread into the skillet. After 2-3 minutes flip the bread and cook the other side for another 3 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and top with butter and syrup or fresh fruit.
2) HAM AND CHEESE OMELETTE
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 eggs, lightly scrambled
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup ham, chopped into small cubes
- Heat the butter in a skillet on medium-high heat until completely melted. Add the eggs to the pan, spreading them evenly in the pan with a spatula. When the eggs are firm on the bottom but slightly runny on top, sprinkle the cheese and ham over the eggs. Cook until there is no liquid left from the eggs.
- Gently fold the omelette in half, closing in the ingredients and transfer across onto your plate
3) SALMON BAGEL
- canned salmon
- whole‐wheat bagel
- cream cheese
- Toast the bagel.
- Spread cream cheese on the bagel and add 1⁄2 can of salmon per bagel.
4) MUFFIN PIZZA
- whole‐wheat English muffin
- shredded cheese
- pizza sauce
- vegetables of your choice
- Toast both halves of the English muffin.
- Spread a tablespoon of sauce on to each muffin half and sprinkle on shredded cheese.
- Microwave for 30 seconds, until cheese, is melted.
Smoothies are full of nutrients and taste fantastic. They are packed with energy to fuel you for the day and are easy to make.
OTHER STUDY FOOD IDEAS
- Vegetable soup with some wholemeal bread
- An apple and yoghurt can make a nice little threat
- Chicken salad wraps or a tuna wrap
- Baked beans with some whole-grain toast
- Baked potato topped with tinned tuna, baked beans or grated cheese
- Scrambled egg on toast with grilled tomato
- Pure fruit smoothie with a wrap
- Add some spinach as a side to protein dishes such as chicken, turkey and fish
- Red meat, cereals and spinach are a great source of iron
- Chili is a great meal to have as it contains ground beef and kidney beans
- Fish and soy are other foods that are said to help boost your brain by providing the nutrients it needs
- Chicken or beef stir fry with noodles
- Egg omelette with cheese and baked potato
- Pasta with tinned tuna topped with cheese
- Scrambled eggs with toast, cheese or salsa
Eating the best food for your brain is great. However, if you are dehydrated it too can affect your concentration levels as well as make you feel more irritable and tired. It is a good idea to drink around 1.5l to 2l of water a day so keep a glass of water close by to sip on as you study.
If you are not a big fan of drinking that much water you can opt for drinks such as herbal teas or fruit juice. Avoid drinking high levels of caffeine as this will cause the body to lose fluid. Many people find caffeine to be a great way to boost their concentration while studying but it is important not to consume too much.
FINAL THOUGHTS & TIPS
So now you know exactly what is the best food for your brain! When you’re heading for the library, pack whole-food items like apples, bananas, clementines, granola bar, carrot sticks or dried apricots.
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. If you are feeling down or drained, fruit like bananas, blueberries, and oranges all have natural sugars that will give you a lift.
Try to avoid – cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets that are high in refined sugars that give you a ‘sugar rush’ after eating them but leave you feeling flat and in a bit of a slump shortly afterwards.
If you stick to these tips you should find your levels of concentration increase and you’re able to focus on your studies for longer periods of time, retaining more information. Not only this but healthy food is delicious. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to prepare healthy meals that boost your brain and that you look forward to eating!