Healthy eating habits are essential during exam time

Did you know that making healthy food choices and taking care of your health improves performance and concentration?

The combination of Stress, lack of sleep, and cramming study work can sabotage not only your exam performance and final marks but also sets up a domino effect that leads to poor health and nutrition. So if you think taking care of yourself is a waste of time think again!


Try these tips to help keep your body in top form during exam time


  • Take regular breaks while studying


  • Keep hydrated by drinking cool water regularly throughout the day. Avoid drinking too much caffeine to fight off fatigue. Keep tea and coffee to no more than 2 cups per day and avoid energy drinks as high caffeine intakes can leave you feeling jittery, not to mention the energy crash you experience later.


  • Avoid eating large meals at one sitting as this can make you feel lethargic and sleepy.


  • Eat 2 to 3 smaller meals and 1 to 2 well chosen snacks to keep your blood sugar levels stable. This pattern of eating will decrease hunger and cravings – two things you don’t need when you may already be emotionally overwhelmed and stressed!


  • Eat at regular intervals about every 2-4 hours. This will keep your energy levels up and reduce the temptation to fill your body full of empty-kilojoule high sugar snacks, which provide little nutrients and usually leave you craving more food in a very short time!


  • Go for balance! Choose whole grain, slow digesting carbohydrate foods combined with some lean protein for your meals and snacks.


  • Prepare your brain and your body for each exam day! Keep your focus and energy up by eating a healthy breakfast and drinking enough water – (about 1-2 litres per day). If you have exams later in the day, make sure to take be a few easy and healthy snacks with you so that a growling tummy does not distract you and interrupt your concentration during exams.




Body and brain Fuel ideas


The following list of foods and food combinations are good ideas for small meals or a snack. Plan when you will eat so that you don’t go longer than 4 hours without re-fueling.

These suggestions will provide a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein to keep your brain and body fueled and ready for exams!


Small meal suggestions


  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter, hummus, white cheese, or tuna


  • Eggs on whole grain toast


  • Cooked oats with a little low-fat yoghurt or soft mielie meal porridge with some maas stirred in


  • High fibre Cereal with low fat milk and fruit


  • Cooked oats with raisins and almonds


  • Sandwich made on whole grain bread with cold-meat or cheese and salad vegetables


  • Baked potato with, diced chicken, tuna or low-fat cheese and tomato based sauce


  • Vegetable soup and low-fat crackers


  • Low-fat crackers with Hummus and diced veggies


  • Tuna or chicken salad made with low-fat dressing or mayo


  • Small plate of pasta with tomato based sauce and some grated cheese


  • Pita pocket stuffed with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, a few nuts, chickpeas or chicken and low-fat dressing or hummus



Snack suggestions


  • Fresh fruit salad and low fat plain or fruit yoghurt


  • Chopped vegetables with a chunky cottage cheese dip


  • Cheese cube or a small low fat yoghurt and a piece of fruit


  • Banana dipped with some peanut butter


  • Whole grain Toast with Peanut butter


  • Microwave a sweet potato and top with cinnamon – a nutrient packed sweet!


  • Rice cakes with peanut butter and honey


  • Home made popcorn sprinkled with seasoning or parmesan cheese


  • Cereal snack bar and a banana


  • Apples Yogurt Sunflower seeds


  • Dry cereal, dried fruit and nut mix


  • Low-fat milk, Amazi, low fat Maas, low-fat drinking yoghurt


  • Homemade fruit and yoghurt smoothie




Get creative! Pair foods you know you and like and see if you can add them to the lists above to create healthier, balanced snacks that are quick and handy.



This information is provided by Pharma Natura and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor, or nutrition advice of a dietician or other qualified health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


Written by Pharma Natura