Good food for studying
by SLACDoes your all-night studying include all-night snacking? Do you keep your brain and body going by working your way through packages of Oreos, bags of hot Cheetos, Dr. Peppers, Red Bulls, and a thick crust pepperoni pizza . . . one chapter at a time? Do you overeat to cope with the stress of last-minute studying?
Filling up with junk food can actually sabotage your efforts to prepare for final exams. Foods with high sugar content (cookies, cakes, candies, pies, sodas, energy drinks, etc.) can cause your blood sugar level to spike and then crash . . . which can spell catastrophe for the clear thinking and mental energy required to tackle finals. Students following this “cramming menu” have also been known to fall asleep . . . and sleep right through their finals. No kidding!
Add those bottomless cups of caffeine to this Hell’s Kitchen menu, and you may “jitter” yourself out of a good performance no matter how long you have studied. Big meals and high fat foods make your body work hard at digesting and can make you feel tired and lazy. When your blood sugar level spikes and drops, it can also leave you with a serious headache and fuel your anxiety instead of your brainpower.
What’s a late-night cramming student to do?
- Eat small, light meals that are high in protein, low in fat, and include whole grains.
- Skip the 3Cs (cookies, cakes, candies).
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you do drink coffee or sodas, try to alternate those beverages with water.
- Take breaks and go for a walk instead of grabbing another package of Twinkies.
- Some nutritionists suggest eating something small about 10 minutes before a test to give you a sustained energy boost: a banana or an orange, a bowl of granola, or nuts and raisins. These foods will be digested slowly enough to give you brain power that actually keeps you going!