Hand with tongs at salad bar

Energizing Eating for Exams

May 14, 2024 Written by Amy Wilcoxon | Photo by Christopher Ginn

You are what you eat. As the end of the year is quickly approaching, it's important to keep your energy up. Here are a few tips to consider when fueling up for finals.

Choose brain foods

Certain foods help with memory and optimize brain function, including:

  • Antioxidants: People who eat fruits and vegetables regularly have better brain function and memory. Antioxidants protect the brain from free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Start NOW and aim for four to five servings of fruits or vegetables daily in a variety of colors.
  • Carbs: Your brain only uses glucose, which comes from carbs. Eat carbs with meals throughout the day. Be sure to choose higher fiber, whole grain carbs for longer lasting energy. Think oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice over pasta, potato chips or Lucky Charms.
  • Omega-3s (EPA/DHA): These are found in fish, seaweed, flax and small amounts in some greens. They are active in the brain and can empower function when eaten regularly.
  • Fluids: One of the top causes of fatigue is dehydration. Stay hydrated; water is best!

Eat regularly

Your stomach empties in four to six hours. Keep those meals and snacks coming! Take a short break to eat regularly and your studying will be more productive. 

Snack smart

Limit simple sugars and/or high fat snack food that might make you more tired or deplete your energy. Seeds include healthy fats to power your brain. Dried fruit includes glucose and antioxidants. Dark chocolate includes glucose and antioxidants, and also cocoa, which can help with memory and concentration.

Here's an idea for the perfect studying snack:

  • Mix two tablespoons of dried fruit of your choice with two tablespoons of seeds (or nuts!) of your choice.
  • Add in a sprinkle of chocolate.
  • Enjoy!

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