Exams are approaching, students and parents are anxious to beat the examination stress. What you eat makes a lot of difference to coping with stress. Generally, students under the influence of academic examination stress show a significant increase in food intake, high fat and sugary snacks. Various nutrients are required for synthesis and proper functioning of adrenal hormones (stress-fighting hormones). Here are a few tips which are very simple and protect from faulty eating during stressful times:

  • Always start the day with fruit for improving concentration in class and during exams.
  • Never skip breakfast. Homemade breakfasts like poha / daliya / upma / parantha (with little ghee) will help in maintaining alertness and productivity all day.
  • Try and carry portable meals in the bag while going to class – peanuts / makhane/chana/ sprouts/fruits/laddoos / chikkis to snack on when you feel hungry in between classes. 
  • Choose an adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables like amla, citrus fruits, tomatoes, green peppers, green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, and strawberries to ensure a good intake of vitamin C.
  • During exams, eat whole grain foods like oats, barley, brown low-fat dairy products, lean meat, green leafy vegetables to ensure a good intake of vitamin B and Zinc. 
  • During exams avoid chips, cream biscuits, processes packed products, junk food and poor quality of fats (trans fats) like samosa, kachori and other street food. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and remain well hydrated. Tea/coffee/colas should be taken in moderation only. Green tea / green coffee/jasmine tea/chamomile tea help in bringing calmness to the mind. 
  • The night before exams, opt for a rice-based meal like khichri/curd rice/dal chawal to stay satisfied and keep anxiety under control.
  • For enhancing memory, nourish your brain with healthy foods like fresh fruits, dry fruits, honey coated nuts, seeds, soups, salads, almond milk or yoghurt.
  • For boosting memory and increasing concentration, eat foods rich in antioxidants like eggs, carrots, broccoli, fish, mustard seeds, mustard oil, methi, rajma, quinoa, soybean (nutrela), lobia, walnuts, bajra and flaxseeds (alsi).
  • Watching TV, mobile, laptop, tabs while having food interferes with the absorption of good nutrients in the body. Stop use of gadgets one hour before going to bed.
  • Opt for healthy options while eating out with friends after exams like choosing Indian cuisine instead of burgers and pizzas.
  • Include brain foods in your diet like walnuts, almonds, coconut, flaxseeds, figs, pumpkin seeds, fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise 40 minutes a day for five days a week. Habits formed now shall remain forever.

Love yourself. Good luck with exams!