Stress, combined with working and studying for long hours, can take its toll on your body and mind, so it’s important to look after yourself. This doesn’t only apply to your diet, but to your lifestyle as well. Getting enough sleep, exercise, water and fresh air is essential to your health.
When you’re under a lot of pressure, it’s easy to rely on crisps, sweets, sodas, McDonalds and energy drinks. But fast food won’t fill you for long or give your body what it needs. Good brain food releases energy slowly. We’ve compiled a list of easy-to-make, healthy study snacks and tips to fit into any schedule:
10 study snack suggestions
It’s easy to run out of ideas for balanced, regular meals, and time can be a factor when you’re under pressure. Here are a few study snack suggestions to help you put together five or six smaller meals to give you the nutrients and energy boosts you need throughout the day.
1. Banana and peanut butter
High in protein and healthy fats, peanut butter and banana can make a great breakfast or power snack. It’s also delicious and healthier than it sounds.
2. Fresh orange and cinnamon
Sprinkle cinnamon on a few orange slices and you have a refreshing, energy-boosting snack full of vitamin C, fibre and other minerals.
3. Scrambled eggs and cheese
Scrambled eggs with cheese is a filling and nutritious meal containing protein and vitamin B12, which improves alertness and reduces fatigue. Eggs, in general, can be helpful when studying, so fry, boil or poach them as you prefer.
4. Nuts and biltong
Nuts and biltong need no preparation and can slot into the busiest schedule. Almonds are good for memory and focus, walnuts are great for helping you store information, hazelnuts have antioxidants and Vitamin E, and cashews contain iron and zinc. Combine your choice of nuts with biltong for extra iron and protein.
5. Cereal with milk
Take it back to basics with some cereal and milk for a solid breakfast. Options such as oats, porridge, Weet-Bix and muesli provide you with both fibre and calcium.
6. Toast and fish
Fish is widely known as brain food that can keep your mind functioning at its best. Sardines, tuna and salmon, in particular, are high in protein and vitamins. Have it on wholewheat bread or wholegrain crackers for an additional vitamin B boost.
7. Baked potato with cottage cheese
Baking is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to prepare potatoes. Despite the carbohydrates, baked potatoes are filled with Vitamin D and other nutrients. Using cottage cheese as a topping will add calcium, protein and vitamin A to the meal.
8. Red meat and dark green veg
Red meat is iron-rich and, combined with the right vegetables, can provide you with a vitamin-packed meal. Any dark green leafy vegetable would work. It’s best to choose steamed spinach, green beans or broccoli to lift your mental and physical energy levels.
9. Yogurt with apple slices and berries
Apples are known to improve brain function, so cut up some apple slices and mix them with berries (blueberries are considered best for reasoning and concentration). This fruit mix is full of antioxidants and minerals. Try having it with yogurt for probiotics.
10. Dark chocolate and a glass of red wine
Dessert can be good for you! Dark chocolate reduces stress and anxiety, and can increase focus. Combine this with a glass of red wine, as red wine – in moderation – can be beneficial, providing your body with antioxidants. This is also a lovely way to reward yourself after studying hard.
What to drink or not to drink?
The caffeine catch
Moderate how much caffeine you drink. Energy drinks, coffee and other stimulants can negatively affect your sleeping patterns, heart rate and concentration. Try not to drink more than four cups of coffee a day and minimise your reliance on energy drinks.
Healthy alternatives to energy drinks
- Cucumber water: Drop a few cucumber pieces into ice-cold water for refreshment and taste.
- Rooibos tea: Drink it with honey rather than sugar. Add ginger and lemon for added flavour. Rooibos is herbal and contains no caffeine.
- Warm milk and cinnamon.
- Any freshly squeezed juices.
For more tips on food and balancing a healthy lifestyle with a busy life, read this blog post: 8 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Student Budget.