Eating right during exams

When exams are around the corner, children are usually equipped with study plans, formulae lists, memory charts and new stationery. But one important aspect is often neglected. At this crucial time, it isnt enough to say that children need to eat well. Knowing what diet will help your child during exams is an important duty of parents.

Brain foods

‘Brain foods can improve concentration, focus and memory. Of course, these are neither magical nor instant in effect, so its advisable to include them in the daily diet through the year, or at least throughout the pre-exam months. Even taking them during the exam days has an effect, albeit limited.

Some easily available brain foods are walnuts, avocado (butterfruit), eggs, broccoli, whole grain products (whole wheat rotis and bread), fish and dark chocolate. Fish liver oil is a rich source of brain food and is available in natural fish and as cod liver oil capsules.

On D-day

On the day of the exam, your child needs energy and alertness. A balanced breakfast and lunch that includes carbohydrates, protein and energy will help.

Also consider including milk/milk products, eggs, nuts and fruits.

A tetra-pack or bottle with natural fruit juice or flavoured milk can be taken to school for an energy boost before the exam as remaining hydrated is essential for optimal brain function and energy levels.

What to avoid

Heavy meals with a large quantity of carbohydrates and oily food can cause drowsiness.

For example, a heavy lunch can create lethargy during the afternoon exam.

Too much caffeine from coffee or cola can cause tiredness or nervousness.

Skipping meals will prevent the body and brain from functioning optimally.

Meal planner

Here are some food ideas to ensure your child gets the right nutrition during those crucial exam days. They provide healthy nutrition any time.

A box of assorted nuts and dry fruits. They are easy to eat and provide protein and energy. A box can also be pac-ked in as a travel time snack.

A big bowl of cereal. Choose healthy options like muesli or cornflakes. Add fruit, raisins, honey and nuts to pack in a variety of nutrients.

Vermicelli or sabudana kheer. Cooked with a lot of nuts and raisins, it provides an Indian variant of porridge. Powdered almonds can also be added.

– Cynthia John

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