With finals week quickly approaching, it’s time to start putting together your game plan. While this likely includes your textbooks and course materials, enough sweatpants to last you the week and a killer playlist to keep you motivated, it also includes food. What you eat during finals week can have a huge impact on your performance as certain foods can increase alertness and brain function. Read on to find out what foods to pick and which to skip at the dining hall during finals week.
I’m sure you’ve been told more than once that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true. Starting your day on the right foot with a healthy breakfast—avoid the drive-thru or eating cold pizza—will set you up for a day of focused studying or test-taking. Your breakfast should include a source of protein, which will give your brain a boost, and long-lasting carbohydrates that give you energy all day. Eating eggs, toast with peanut butter or an energy bar if you’re short on time will give you a healthy dose of protein. Oatmeal, whole grain, whole wheat toast or some cereals (skip the Captain Crunch) will fill you up with carbs that will last all day.
While many students indulge in coffee and energy drinks, both could actually be a detriment to your studying and test-taking. Though caffeine will keep you awake during an all-nighter, it can make you jittery and dehydrate your body, leading to a lack of alertness and ability to concentrate. To combat this, drink plenty of water, even when you’re not thirsty. Water will keep you hydrated, making you more alert and able to concentrate during your last-minute cram session or during the exam itself.
If you think you’ll need all the help you can get, help yourself to protein. Foods packed with protein keep you feeling full, but not sluggish, for long periods of time, and also keep your brain alert and high functioning. Excellent sources of protein include fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, peanut butter and shakes with protein powder
During finals week, skip the pizza and fries for healthier choices. At the dining hall choose fruits and vegetables including apples, salads, nuts, seeds and green vegetables. All of these have a large amount of fiber which will keep you full longer, so you won’t feel hungry during your test. Fruits and vegetables are also packed with vitamins that will boost your immunity, eyesight and energy, all things you will deplete after a sleepless week of hitting the books.
During finals week, students often feel exhausted and shower-deprived. Eating foods that give your brain and body energy as well as super immunity will make your study-sessions more effective and leave you more prepared for your exams. So instead of fueling up on pizza and coffee, choose protein-rich and vitamin-rich foods washed down with a big glass of water. To ace your final exams, take care of yourself by studying hard, sleeping enough and eating right.