Food is a key factor which determines how well our mind, body and brain function. The delicious food you gorge on also affects your emotional well-being, energy and enthusiasm.
As exams approach, your child goes into an overdrive cramming up all the possible info, living in the library and foregoing sleep. If along with her normal daily routine, the diet also goes for a toss, the harmful effects will tell in no time.
Ensure your daughter enjoys a nutrient-packed diet that keeps her alert, active and attentive, and aids her to study well and remember all that she has learned. A timely and healthy diet will keep away fatigue, stress and drowsiness.
Sugary colas, coffee, energy drinks, fried snacks and desserts are a teenager’s favorite go-to energy boosters, but unfortunately, during the critical exam period they are an absolute no-no.
But don’t be disheartened, there are other equally tempting treats out there that she can savor during the exam days. Let’s see what they are.
Fish Is Fab
Oily fish like salmon, sardine and mackerel are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. Trout, herring, kippers and pilchards are also good sources of DHA and EPA. These healthy fatty acids are great for our brain cells, and makes fish the ultimate brain food!
60% of brain cells consist of omega-3 fatty acids, and the fish your child eats aids and supplements brain functioning. And she can do with plenty of that while burning the midnight oil during the exam period.
But remember that fried fish does not contain as much goodness as broiled (grilled) or baked fish. So ensure your girl eats healthy, and gets her grey cells exam-ready and charged up!
You might find this difficult to stomach if your child is not a great fan of sea food, but you can be pleased about the fact that there are enough and more options available for you as well.
Flaxseed and pumpkin seeds, soya beans, walnut and olives are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
A healthy diet that is rich in good fatty acids improves brain functioning and overall well-being. A seafood-rich diet has far reaching benefits that go well into the old age as well, so keep an eye on her intake for a smart brain, healthy eyes, lovely skin and great memory. Isn’t that a good enough incentive for the lovely lady to go fishy?
Don’t Depend on Supplements
Supplements may be necessary on some occasions, especially if the doctor has advised you to have them. But otherwise it is always good if you get the required nutrients from whole food.
Whole and natural food contains trace minerals which allow for the better and quicker absorption of nutrients into the body. For example, orange is a very good source of vitamin C. But it is also rich in calcium, fibers, beta carotene and other nutrients that are good and essential for your child’s body. Vitamin supplements will lack in any or all of these.
So don’t depend on a pill, a shake or a capsule to give her the essential nutrition. Encourage her to grab an orange or snack on a banana to ride her way to a happy and a healthy body during the exam period.
While putting in long hours of study stock up on dried fruit nuggets, clementine and walnuts. You can also prepare melon bran pots that are a great choice.
Breakfast Cannot Be Sacrificed
If your child is in a hurry to reach in time to give her exams, she is most likely to give breakfast the royal skip. But beware because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if the day is going to be long and action-packed.
She really needs to up her energy levels in the morning, because as we sleep through the night the glucose levels in our body deplete. A sumptuous breakfast helps replenish the young student’s energy and glucose levels, and prepares her for the day.
Eggs make for the perfect breakfast. They are protein-dense, rich in anti-oxidants and don’t pile on the calories. Eggs are also filling and keep you super-charged through the day.
Wholegrain cereals with low-fat milk, toast with peanut butter and eggs, or fresh fruit along with yogurt and baked beans are great choices for breakfast. Porridge with fresh/dried fruit or a handful of nuts also makes for a healthy and tasty breakfast. A delicious homemade smoothie can also be your daughter’s option if she’s running very short on time.
To ensure yours child does have breakfast the next day, prepare it the previous night itself. Pour the cereal in a bowl and ensure there is milk in the fridge, and dice the fruits and keep them ready.
A full tummy in the morning is the best way to step out of the door!
Ensure She Does Not Go Hungry
More than three heavy meals a day, it is better your daughter snacks lightly at regular intervals to keep her energy levels constant. This will also ensure she does not feel stuffed and drowsy.
Bananas, blueberries and crunchy green salads are great for mental alertness and overall health. Bagel with less fat-spread topped with cheese or peanut butter is filling and healthy. Protein bars, granola bars, or baked potato with cottage cheese or tuna are also great for snacking.
Ensure Your Child Remains Hydrated
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration leads to drowsiness, lack of concentration and fatigue. Encourage your daughter to squeeze an orange or lime into the chilled water she has for the added benefits found in citrus fruits. The essential oils which give the sour taste to these fruits also acts as stress busters, help reduce anxiety, and having a relaxing effect.
Don’t Cut down on Sleep
Sleep is as crucial to our body as the food we eat and the air we breathe. Sleep deprivation exacerbates our stress levels, and feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
Late-night studying is unavoidable during the exam period but ensure your child keeps it within limits. Lack of sleep on a stretch for several days will result in total exhaustion and a non-functional brain. And your daughter definitely doesn’t want her health to go downhill with the exams fast approaching.
Make sure your daughter follows a set time-table and sleeps on time. On the night before the exam, she should ideally stop studying in early evening, get her outfit and other stuff required for the next day ready, have an early dinner and relax.
A glass of warm milk or herbal tea before bedtime will help her doze off peacefully.
Diet has a very important role to play in your child’s preparations for exams. Do not try out any new ‘formula’ or exotic diet plan. Stick to a healthy and mom-approved diet, and keep a tab on her sleep habits. A sensible and panic-free approach to exams will ensure she comes out with flying colors and in the pink of health!
Author Bio: Carole Thompson is Community Manager at Math Genie, which makes Math fun for kids with the help of its Abacus Math program. They have successfully tutored over 1000 students by removing their fear of Math and helping parents recognize the genius in their child.