With finals week approaching quickly, I am definitely spending more time studying and less time cooking. Surviving on less sleep and more caffeine than usual, the pastries, energy bars, and other convenient items start to look more appealing. BUT…in order to properly fuel my body and my brain I have found that substituting meals with snacks is not sufficient. Food is fuel and I need to nourish my body with the proper carbs, fats, and proteins.
To help make some changes I found this amazing website called MyPlate.gov (http://hdh.ucsd.edu/TasteBuds/healthyhabits.asp) with tons of tips and tricks to eat well. Searching the site the other day I found that the more "convenient" items we tend to go for do not satisfy my hunger. While these items might taste good, they don’t replace the value of a “real meal.” So, here are some tricks I have found helpful and thought I would share with you so you too can be in tip top performance for your exams!
Breakfast: As easy as it might be to just grab a donut from Earl's in the morning, I find that I am usually hungry within an hour after doing so. MyPlate.gov recommends that women between the ages of 19-30 consume 6 ounces of grains a day and men at these ages consume at least 8 ounces! I have been loving the little individual to-go oatmeal cups! They are just as easy as grabbing a muffin but actually give me more fiber to help fuel my body all morning.
Lunch: When lunch rolls around grabbing a bag of chips or a power bar may seem like the best possible time-crunch choice, but the Market-To-Go sandwiches or a quick salad made from one of the Dining Services Restaurants is much better at keeping my brain clear and alert. Having a more substantial meal with proteins and good-for-you carbohydrates as opposed to a salty snack will help you maintain your focus for your long afternoon.
Dinner: I don't know about you but when the clock hits 6pm my stomach starts grumbling. Entering the Dining Services Restaurants I am overwhelmed by the smell of the grill items like the fries, burgers, and pizza. Though all are delicious and can fit in a balanced meal plan, I have found choosing the Taste Bud-approved meals instead to be a no-brainer! I love not having to rack my brain about what’s the healthiest choice for me and know it will taste good, too.
My biggest tip to survive finals week would be that when it comes to meals, don't take the easy way out with quick packaged convenience foods. There are just as many, if not more, balanced meal options on campus that will actually sustain you through those 1am cram sessions.
Best of luck with Finals!-Evelyn