Is your child in the middle of exams? As a parent, you can help your child through this time by providing the right foods to fuel their minds and bodies.
1. Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast can make your student feel light-headed and lose concentration. On exam day, provide provide a healthy breakfast packed with protein and low GI carbs e.g. eggs on grainy toast and porridge with reduced fat milk. This will keep them fuller for longer and improve their concentration throughout the day.
2. Nutrient-Rich Protein Foods
Including beef and lamb into meals 3 to 4 times a week will help meet iron and zinc requirements. These micronutrients help produce energy for brain function helping with concentration and learning.
3. Stay Hydrated
Make sure your students stay hydrated, especially during the warmer weather. Dehydration affects the brain and hence academic performance.
4. Support Healthy Snacking
Avoid sugary junk foods and fizzy drinks and support healthy snacking at home by keeping a plate of fresh cut fruit in the fridge. Keep your pantry stocked with nuts, seeds, wholegrain crackers and low fat yoghurt.
5. Go Low G.I
Low GI foods are “smart carbs” that your body will slowly digest and absorb, resulting in only a small rise in your blood glucose levels, giving you longer lasting energy.
Swap your bread to either a soy or linseed, grainy or sourdough bread. Try adding legumes such as lentils or beans to a beef casserole or salad. Choose lower G.I. grains such as basmati rice, bulgur or quinoa.
6. Encourage Good Sleep Patterns
Aim for a minimum of 8 hours sleep and avoid high caffeine containg foods and drinks in the evening.
7. Get Active Outdoors
Make sure your student has some study free time to relax, unwind and recharge. Regular physical activity releases endorphins which help improve mood and reduce stress.
Encourage outdoor activies rather than sedentary activities such as watching TV or using mobile devices and social media.
8. Don’t Skip Meals
Missing meals can lead to negative effects such as fatigue, loss of concentration and tiredness; all which are necessary for studying and performance.
Make sure there are plenty of healthy snacks and quick meals available in the home.
9. Set a Daily Routine
Establishing a daily routine that includes regular studyperiods, meal times and breaks will help reduce stress.
Help them set study milestones and reward them for achieving short and long term goals.
10. Boost Happiness
Laughter can help you feel good and research suggests happiness is linked with increased serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that is known to reduce stress and provide a calm feeling. Certain foods, such as milk and bananas can increase serotonin levels.
For some healthy food inspiration to help your children, check out LifeStyle FOOD.