During exam season I find it really hard to watch what I eat. With the lack of sleep, constantly whirring mind, and a room covered in cue cards and revision notes, comfort eating really seems to be a common coping mechanism for myself, and no doubt, others in the same position. When trying to remember module upon module, key words, diagrams and theories, the last thing I want to be doing is taking time to make salads, vegetables and balanced meals. I need carbs, and bread (gf of course), and sweets and energy and salty snacks.
As much as I crave these naughty treats and “cheat meals”, that inevitably turn into cheats days, and even weeks, eating healthily is so important for our brains, especially when we are under exam/uni stress. With this in mind, I thought I would share some of my eating tips, before giving you a yummy, and mostly healthy, recipe.
- Plan, plan, plan… Having a meal plan for the week is so useful. Not only does it help when doing a food shop, but I always feel so guilty if I waste food, so sticking to the plan prevents this. You also know that you are getting the right nutrients for your body, and, more importantly, your brain.
- Eat at appropriate times With late nights, and sometimes even all-nighters, it can be so easy to lose track of meal times. Ensuring you eat to a reasonable schedule will mean you shouldn’t get super hungry and start craving naughty treats. Having meal times also gives you revision structure, set goals for completion before lunch and dinner, keeping you on track.
- Stay hydrated Water is so important for your body, brain, skin and countless other things, but it also acts as a way to help stay full. Boredom strikes so often, and it is really hard to determine whether you are hungry… or whether your textbook is just sending your mind wandering to other things (food!). Mixing fruit into your water makes it a bit more exciting too.
- Reward yourself Eating well, focussing on good grades and keeping up with housework, work or friends is so hard to balance. It really is ok to have a treat now and then, as long as you don’t do it excessively. A chocolate bar here or there, a sugary coffee, some tangy sweets, whatever your body is wanting, the chances are it wants it for a reason. If you are really, really tempted to get a pizza, pick a set day and have that as pizza day, something to help break up your work.
- Snacks It can be all too easy to grab a packet of crisps to munch on whilst you work, or a brownie from the coffee shop at uni. However, if you pre-prepare snacks then you will never need to spend that extra money. Unsalted nuts, like almonds and cashews are a really good source of energy, as is fruit with its natural sugars. However, if overeaten, both of these can end up being naughty treats too. Everything in moderation!
- Find things that make you happy (Not a food tip, but a life tip) I find that I get so bogged down by grades, test scores and essay answers, that a lot of the time, I forget to have fun. I forget I am the other side of the world, in a completely new place, with so many opportunities around me. Getting fresh air is so important to clear your mind, de-stress and it also brings you firmly back to earth. Take time to do things YOU enjoy!
I hope some of these might be slightly useful, but if not, I have a delicious recipe to share too.
I have chosen this Joe Wicks recipe because it is so simple, tasty and low cost. I must admit, I didn’t come across this recipe msyelf, it was actually made for me by Soph earlier in the year, and ever since, it keeps popping back into my mind- I just had to make it for myself.
The ingredients are:
- 2 Bananas (mashed)
- 125g Blueberries
- 2 Eggs (Whisked)
- 180g Porridge oats
- 2tsp Vanilla extract
- 2tsp Baking soda
- Dark chocolate chunks (Ok, so this isn’t in the original recipe, but… who doesn’t like chocolate?!)
This is a recipe for muffins, however, I do not have a muffin tray, so I used a roasting tin, and built a little barrier with foil so it only filled half.
There is only one step to this recipe once all your ingredients are prepped, and it is to mix everything together in one big bowl. Simple as that!
The oven was heated to 190 degrees, and once I had transferred it into the baking tin, it took 19 minutes to cook. I thought 19 minutes was a bit pedantic when I first saw the recipe, but it really does cook perfectly in this time, however, one minute extra can’t hurt either I’m sure.
Once cooled- if you can wait that long- the muffins/tray bake will be ready to eat. The fruit is part of your 5 a day, and the oats have slow release energy, making this a perfect morning snack. Or, for that matter, afternoon snack, midnight snack, breakfast snack, or any time of the day! They are also really easy to reheat in the microwave, which makes the chocolate go gooey again.
Enjoy, and good luck! x