Our Secondary School Counsellor, Mrs Naomi Taylor, gives some very helpful advice about eating habits to help bring out the best in you during exam time.
EATING FOR EXAMS
by Secondary School Counsellor, Mrs Taylor
Exams are taking place as we speak and more will be on their way in the months ahead. This all equates to hard work, revision, guilt, worry and long nights.
When you're busy revising and thinking about your exams, it's easy to forget about eating healthily and to just reach for the nearest piece of food.
But eating properly is just as important as revising properly – and can actually help you to revise better. Like revision, eating healthily should start well before your exam but – also like revision – it's never too late to start.
Eating when you are stressed
Eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day to keep your brain well fuelled. You want to stabilise your blood sugar levels and prevent slumps in energy and concentration.
Get your B Vitamins
These are the group of vitamins largely responsible for the smooth running of your nervous system and which are needed to help release energy from the food you eat. B vitamins are found in many foods but especially nuts, dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals (check the label), pork, lean meat, bacon, fish, eggs and wholegrains.
Eat your breakfast!
We know we sound like a broken record, but you need to eat breakfast every day, and particularly the morning of an exam. This provides glucose to your brain, making you mentally alert. By eating the right sort of breakfast you can increase your intake of calcium, folic acid and Vitamin C.
A Good Tip
Snack on nuts, carrot sticks, dried fruit and seeds during the day such as cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc … and eat light carbohydrate meals like baked potatoes or pasta at lunchtime, with some protein such as chicken or fish.
REMEMBER THOUGH – DO NOT BRING NUT PRODUCTS INTO SCHOOL!
Make sure you’re getting enough iron: It might have more to do with your diet than your revision. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you’re likely to feel very tired. Other symptoms include:
- difficulty concentrating and shortened attention span (not good news if you're trying to revise)
- looking pale and feeling faint
If you're a girl you need to make sure you’re getting enough foods that are iron-rich.
Tinned oily fish such as sardines, salmon or mackerel (but not tinned tuna) are good, as their omega oils can block production of the enzyme that makes us feel tense when under pressure.
You should be able to get all the Vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Vitamin C Is a real immunity booster. It can help ease coughs and sniffles and keeps your bones, teeth and everything else nice and healthy. It's also involved in collagen production for healthy skin, the metabolism of cholesterol and helps your body absorb iron more easily. So get your five portions of fruit and veg. Good sources include oranges, broccoli, peppers and sweet potatoes.
Drink lots of water – most of us don’t drink enough water, which can make us dehydrated and tired, which is definitely what you don’t want during your exams.
For further information, go to www.food.gov.uk