Gone are the days where your mum is waking you up with a ‘brain boosting’ smoothie and cooking you a three-course balanced meal each day to help you beat those revision blues. No, the time has come where we university students must act as functioning adults, which means that we need to know the culinary delights we should be whipping up to keep our brain cells in tip-top shape! It is a common mistake to think that this is the time to stock up on energy drinks, sweets and microwave pizzas to help you get through this crucial period, but this can be detrimental to your revision. But don’t fear, I’ve compiled a list of YES foods and don’t you dare even think about it foods to help you plod through these next few weeks towards exam victory.
What to eat
Eggs are one of the most versatile and easy foods out there, perfect for exam time when you’re looking to whip up a quick and nutritious meal. One egg contains a whopping 6g of protein and tons of antioxidants! Pair with some smoked salmon and wholegrain toast for a brain-power inducing exam day breakfast.
Nuts and Oats
The first rule of revision is you need ENERGY, because sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day making flashcards isn’t quite as relaxing as it sounds. The particular type of energy that we need comes from slow-release carbohydrates like oats to keep you going all through the day, so a bowl of porridge in the morning will give you an excellent kick-start to your day. Walnuts and almonds are also great for this fuller-for-longer feeling, as well as helping to improve your memory. Combine both oats and nuts with some dried fruit to make a kick-ass energy flapjack!
It’s been embedded in my brain by my mum since KS3 exams that eating fish before an exam will make you smarter, and it’s worth a try if you ask me. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are packed with protein and omega 3, which keeps your brain functioning in top condition. Have some wholegrain toast alongside some veggies to top up your minerals! If you are vegetarian, flax seeds are an excellent alternative for getting that omega 3.
Common thought is that peanut butter is a big no-no because of its high fat content and extreme moreish-ness. However, when eaten in moderation this delicious spread can keep you fuller for longer and prevent you craving from high-sugar foods that will play havoc with your energy levels. Mix a spoonful of peanut butter into your morning porridge or spread it on apple and banana slices as an afternoon snack.
What not to eat
High sugar snacks
We’ve all been through those deadline nights when a packet of Haribo, Fox’s selection of biscuits and a couple cans of Red Bull have seemed to be our only saviours. However, put those snacks aside for now because the temporary sugar high you’ll get from these snacks will NOT be worth the crash of fatigue you’ll feel when it wears off! Instead, opt for longer-lasting sugars such as granola bars and pieces of fruit to keep you alert and functioning for longer.
Out of all these helpful tips, the number 1 rule for revision is to stay hydrated – try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to fight off headaches and keep your mind fresh!