By Prachi Mandholia
Exams are around the corner. It’s not just the students, but parents who are worried as well. However, stress will only lead to a poor performance. Healthy eating before and during the exams can actually reduce stress and improve performance.
Our brain is a constantly running machine that needs fuel at short intervals. The main source of fuel for the brain is glucose. Poor fuelling can result in irritability, poor memory, reduced concentration and difficulty in problem solving.
Breakfast before the exam
A good breakfast right before the exam would be a combination of slow release carbohydrates with protein and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Good examples for this are:
Oats or muesli with milk and pumpkin seeds.
Power-packed smoothie made out of milk/yoghurt with a fruit, some greens, granola and flax seeds.
Yoghurt with muesli and banana topped with sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds.
Boiled eggs, sautéed spinach and mushrooms and nachni crackers.
Smart snacking can actually increase one’s attention span. Good snack options could be:
Baked chickpeas: Loaded with protein, these will keep kids full for a while.
Baked nachni chips: High in iron, it will enhance learning.
Fruits like apples: These contain antioxidant quercetin, which boosts memory.
Nuts, seeds and berries: High in omega-3 fatty acids, which will help to enhance performance.
Cinnamon flavoured popcorn instead of chips: Cinnamon contains antioxidants, which are known to reduce stress-related free radicals.
The most commonly consumed drink during exam is cola. Caffeine will only dehydrate the body and decrease concentration.
A fruit milkshake will make a good energy drink. If addicted to caffeine, black coffee is a better option than cola. Always make sure to have an accompaniment along with it.
Water is an important beverage, especially during exams. Dehydration will lead to tiredness and diminished concentration. Sipping on water during an exam is actually known to enhance performance. If not plain, try flavoured water, which works well too.
(The writer is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. She is a practicing Clinical Nutritionist, based out of Mumbai. For more ideas, email at email@example.com.)