Finals are approaching and this means long hours, less showers, loads of stress, and your hair’s always a mess! (see what I did there?) Finals also mean that you stop caring about what you eat, and you only eat to keep yourself alive. I am guilty of many finals weeks where I only ate junk because it was the best comfort food I could find. This is bad, not only because of how unhealthy it was for me, but it also wasn’t stimulating my brain.
I did some research to find out what healthy foods stimulate the brain, and I was pretty pleased with what I came across. I know it’s hard to even imagine cooking something for yourself when you’d rather be nose-deep in a textbook, but if you stock up your cabinets and fridge the week before finals begin, you’ll have no excuse to eat junk food!
Here are a few foods that will help stimulate your brain AND keep you going through finals:
1. Colorful fruits- Pineapple, watermelon, melons, plums, apples. grapes, avocados, and oranges are all easy to access and they’re great for helping you remember information. If you’re strapped for time before you run off to the library, wash some grapes and put them in a Ziploc bag the night before, so you can grab it and run! They also sell pineapple chunks with no added sugar, so you can eat them on the go. Apples, plums and oranges are all pocket-sized, so there’s really no excuse for not eating them!
2. Vegetables- The one thing I can never get into my diet when I’m stressed out is vegetables. I always find it so tedious to cut greens and make a salad for myself, so I stay away from them unless I have time to put one together in the dining hall. Fortunately, Dole and other companies sell mixed green salads in resealable bags at the grocery store, and they fit perfectly into a mini-fridge. All you do is open the bag, pour some into a bowl, put dressing on and chow down! This eliminates all the prep-time and it’s a healthy, easy way to boost your brain. You can also throw baby carrots into Ziploc bags, and munch on them on the go!
3. Nuts- Nuts are full of Vitamin E, B6, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are great for boosting your brain and your mood. Pack a little bag of a handful of cashews, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts and throw it in your backpack for your next study session.
4.Yogurt- Studies show that eating yogurt improves memory and alertness. All it takes is a couple of yogurt cups in your fridge to keep you eating healthy. Just pop one in your bag and take it with you!
5. Tea- I am definitely a tea-drinker. To me it feels less fattening and harmful than coffee, and if brewed strongly enough, gives me the same energy boost as a cup of coffee. It has also been proven to improve focus and memory! All you need to do is boil (or microwave) some water, drop in a tea bag, and let it brew while you’re reading!
6. Chocolate- Save the best for last right? Since I love my comfort food, I find myself eating a lot of chocolate when I’m stressed. Both milk and dark chocolate are good for the brain (of course, in moderate quantities) and release endorphins which improve mood as well as focus and concentration. Treat yourself to a piece of chocolate while you’re studying, and not only will it make you happy, it’ll make your brain happy as well!
I hope this helps you prepare for finals week. It’s definitely a stressful time, and it’s important to take care of yourself through all of the late nights and lack of sleep. Also, remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to keep your brain alert.
Good luck to those preparing for finals!