As exam season peaks its head around the corner, I think it’s important to talk about ways to maintain a healthy mental state while going through the rigors of midterms and finals. I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me the first thing to go during times of stress is always food. During a packed day, it just feels inconvenient to have to cook or go out. Although, I think anyone can tell this is a bad habit to keep. Food is the fuel your body will use when you study and eventually rock those exams, so it’s important to be mindful of what you use. Here I’ll recommend some foods that have helped me stay sharp during tests.
First off, let me tell you about my favorite fruit: kiwis. I have no idea how to eat these things. In trying to do so, I’ve caused myself so much pain. The skin has these little hairs that stick to your tongue and cause all kinds of irritation. But, I promise the struggle is so worth it. It’s one of the most nutritious fruits you can find, and it beats oranges, apples, bananas, strawberries and blueberries by far. Despite this, it’s way less popular. Why? I have no clue. Treat yourself this exam season and get yourself a kiwi.
Another great food that I’ve been having way too much of is fish, especially salmon. The way I’ve been preparing it is fairly standard; I just use salt and pepper and serve it with a side of brown rice and roasted asparagus. Now, believe me when I say that I am an absolutely awful chef. Growing up in a Latinx household meant that food was just something that appeared before me whenever I visited grandma. So, when I say that I am able to prepare salmon decently well, you can too.
As this is the busiest time of the semester, some foods you can take with you on-the-go are blueberries, prunes, pecans, peanut butter on toast, avocado on toast and other lightweight fruits and veggies. However, my favorite out of all these snacks are nuts. Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts or cashews — there’s a type for everyone. Plus, they are super healthy while remaining easy snacks at any point in the day.
Having said all this, it’s important to think of your diet as a whole instead of single ingredients. Variety is one of the key factors that makes a good diet. But, as we spend all our time studying, I know that tracking nutrient intake to make sure we’re eating healthily just feels like a waste of time. Luckily, you can let your phone do the work for you instead. There’s plenty of great apps that can help you track your meals and tell you if you’re meeting recommended daily values, including Lifesum, MyFitnessPal and Fooducate.
I know what it’s like to prioritize grades over self-care, but just as we are there for our friends and loved ones, we need to be there for ourselves. For more information and for help acquiring foods, check out the Field and Fork Pantry and the Nutrition Services team on campus.
Matthew Diaz is the Hispanic Caucus Leader in Student Government
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash