Eating healthily is a huge part of looking after our general and mental health, especially in our current climate. Eating simple nutritious meals is a great way to ensure that we meet all our nutritional needs to stay healthy and to keep our brains functioning optimally. Here are some of our top tips to help you along:
- Try to eat at regular times. Your body will adapt to the routine and start to remind you when you are hungry.
- Try to pick healthier foods if you can. Particularly when it comes to snacking. See our suggestions below.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water. Keeping hydrated is as important as eating.
- Don’t overdo the caffeine. Opt for the odd decaf if you really want coffee.
- Eat the rainbow! When it comes to fruit and vegetables, make sure to eat a variety of colours to pack in those vitamins.
- Avoid too much refined sugar in snacks or drinks. Try honey or agave as a sugar alternative and opt for sugar free soft-drinks, or just plain old water.
Here are 10 brain foods to try while you study:
Almonds are a satisfying but healthy snack.
A handful can give you a quick energy boost while you study, but stick to buying the unsalted kind and adding any salt yourself at home (otherwise you’ll be eating more salt than is healthy).
And if you’re not a fan of almonds, other good options are peanuts, cashews, walnuts and pistachios.
2. Dark chocolate
This is a snack for all the chocoholics out there…
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and natural stimulants. It improves blood flow to your brain, helping you focus better. And it increases your body’s production of mood-boosting endorphins, making you happier.
Just remember, this is a snack to eat in moderation.
3. Air-popped popcorn
Popcorn isn’t just for movie theatres!
It’s easy to make popcorn yourself on the stove top, or you can use a popcorn maker if you have one. Then drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle on some salt. Or go for cinnamon and sugar, if you’re craving something sweet.
Making popcorn like this is much healthier than using microwave popcorn and it’s tastier too.
4. Fruit salad
It’s time to raid the fruit bowl.
Apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, the pineapple chunks from the back of the cupboard and that slightly bruised banana you don’t know what to do with. They’ll give your brain a boost of energy and fill your body with vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Plus, you can save yourself time with this snack: make a big batch and you’ll have enough for breakfast the next morning, too.
5. Greek yogurt
This is great if you need a more substantial and filling snack (hello, all-nighter).
It’s higher in protein than regular yogurt (it contains twice as much per serving!), which will help fill you up and curb your hunger. And it’s also full of bone-building calcium and gut-friendly probiotics.
To mix up the flavour, try adding a drizzle of honey or some of your leftover fruit salad.
6. Frozen grapes
This snack needs overnight prep, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
Buy a bunch of grapes, pop them into a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer – they’ll be ready for you to snack on while you’re studying the next day.
Stick to refreshing and delicious frozen grapes while you study, and save the ice cream and popsicles for post-exam celebrations (when you don’t need to use your brain any more).
7. Veggies (and hummus)
You can snack on just veggies… but they’re better with hummus.
Hummus is high in protein, calcium and brain-boosting Omega 3 fatty acids. Which makes it the perfect partner for vitamin and fiber filled veggie sticks!
Eat your hummus with carrots, cucumber, red pepper, celery, sugar snap peas or your fingers.
8. Homemade trail mix
Pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds, dried cranberries, raisins… or any other mix of dried fruit, nuts and seeds which takes your fancy!
You can keep your trail mix in an airtight container (like a ziploc bag or a mason jar) for up to a month, so make yourself a big batch to have on hand.
It’s definitely better to make your own trail mix – the shop-bought kind is usually loaded with salt and hydrogenated oils, plus the dried fruit is coated with added sugar. And it’s overpriced, too.
9. Apples with peanut butter
This is a very very good combination of two great snacks: apples and peanut butter.
Cut your apple into slices and spread a little peanut butter onto each one. If you’re feeling fancy (or you need something to put on your Instagram) you can create adorable mini sandwiches.
Here’s something to try in your next study break : https://www.thekitchn.com/snack-recipe-apple-sandwiches-recipes-from-the-kitchn-183079
10. Crunchy roasted chickpeas
If you’re looking for a crunchy salty alternative to chips, this is it.
Chickpeas are full of protein and fibre and surprisingly tasty when you roast them in the oven with salt and chilli powder for 45-60 minutes.
You can also try making them with garlic and parmesan or honey and cinnamon.