With the semester almost over and exams fast approaching, stress can be at an all-time high. Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, some lose their appetite, others bite their nails and many overeat. For the most part, those who overeat tend to crave foods high in sugar, fat and sodium. Unfortunately, these foods do not combat stress and instead can leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated.
Try swapping out comfort foods and opt for these 5 simple tricks to help keep your eating on track this exam season:
- Maintain a well-balanced diet – fill your plate with fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein to keep your body and mind fueled for the day
- Avoid skipping meals – this will only affect your body negatively by lowering your blood sugar levels leading to binges and sweet cravings – aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks per day to keep you alert, focused and energized
- H2O – stay hydrated with 2-3 L of water/day to prevent you from feeling lethargic and irritable
- Limit caffeine and simple sugars – foods/beverages containing these products will give you a quick boost of energy but can eventually lead to restlessness, lapses in concentration and mood swings
- Choose complex carbohydrates – foods high in complex carbohydrates (i.e. oatmeal. beans, brown rice) will help stabilize your blood sugar levels giving you a steady dose of energy for the day
Keep in mind that your diet is not the only thing that can be negatively affected by stress, your health, school performance and social life can be too. With this in mind, here are some extra tips to help you stay cool, calm and collected.
- Exercise regularly – whether it be an hour at the gym or a 15 minute walk as a study break – try to exercise daily to help burn off the energy that causes stress
- Get your ZZZ’s – not enough sleep can lead to lack of concentration, lack of energy and severe tiredness – aim for 7-9 hrs sleep/day to help re-energize your body
- Take time to relax – take frequent, short breaks to help you stay relaxed and keep your mind calm
Try this Power Packed Smoothie!
Registered Dietitian & Food Safety Officer