Exam season always creeps up slowly, before accelerating in the final days faster than Usain Bolt down the home stretch
Everyone feels exam stress – children and parents alike. And as much as you want to help your child through this trying period, you can’t sit their exams for them. What you can do is ensure they’re nutritionally topped up, giving them the best chance at exam success as possible.
Because the best way to prepare your child for success in their exams is by ensuring they eat well; not just the night before an exam, but in the run-up to them too.
Being able to cope with the pressures of exams and the rigour of revision requires students to be well-nourished, feeding both their brain and their body. But eating well can be the last thing on the mind of a stressed teenager as they panic-cram as much information into their short term memory as possible.
So as a parent, you can help relieve some of their stress, maintain their energy levels and help improve their concentration, memory and recall, by making sure they eat right from the get-go.
Foods to help your child study
Ensuring your child has a balanced diet at the best of times is the bane of most parents’ lives. But it’s particularly important during revision and exam time to make sure they have a nutritious diet and to not let them skip meals or fill up on junk food.
So fill your cupboards (and their plate) with foods that will help them study. Foods such as:
Antioxidant-rich berries are a great source of slow-release carbohydrates and are packed full of fibre too, keeping tummies full for longer. Chuck frozen berries into a blender and whizz up with full-fat milk and full-fat Greek yoghurt for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack.
‘Go to work on an egg’ was a motto from the egg marketing board in the 1950s that has endured because it worked – it’s true. If you want to ensure you’re focused and energised all morning, eggs are what you should be eating for breakfast. They’re one of the most versatile and nutritious foods available. A fab and easy source of protein to fill your kids up and keep their energy levels raised.
Beans and lentils are not just cheap, they’re great stomach fillers as they’re a combination of carbohydrate and proteins. But more than keeping your child full, legumes help regulate blood sugar levels, ensuring their focus and concentration is sustained for longer too.
Feed them hummus and vegetable crudites as a snack, baked beans on wholemeal toast for an easy lunch, or serve puy lentils alongside an omega-3 rich salmon fillet and a slow carb-releasing jacket potato for supper.
Omega-3 is important to help boost their brainpower, maintaining memory and focus, as well as elevating their mood. The easiest way to get this into their diet is through:
- Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines (ideal in sandwiches).
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flaxseed or chia seeds (sprinkled on their porridge).
- Plant oils such as flaxseed oil.
- Supplements like cod liver oil.
The best breakfast for exam day
The big day (or one of many) has finally arrived. They’ve put the revision hours in and now it’s crunch time. So what can you line their tummy with to ensure they power on through until lunchtime?
Research has shown that students who eat a nutritious breakfast before sitting an exam, outperform those who skip it.
But you don’t want them to eat just any food for breakfast. You want your child to eat the most nutritious meal they can, to fuel their brain and their body.
The best breakfast to give your child before an exam will be a combination of slow-release carbohydrates and protein, to keep them fuller for longer:
- Whole rolled oat porridge made with full-fat milk
- Poached eggs on whole-grain toast
- Muesli topped with fresh fruit and full fat, natural yoghurt
- Omega-3 packed kippers or smoked mackerel on whole-grain toast
How much water is enough?
And don’t forget that they need to be drinking water throughout the day too. Research suggests that those students who stay hydrated while sitting an exam perform 5-10% better than those who don’t.
Water isn’t just life-giving, it can improve your child’s concentration and memory, enabling them to stay focused for longer and help with their learning and recall of information too. Water can also help your child make better decisions.
Can you imagine what gains to their studying your child could make if they were hydrated properly every day? So stow away those fizzy pops and encourage your child to drink water regularly.
Hire a private chef
Finally, we know that not every parent has the time or know-how to make sure their child eats well. Which is where a private chef can help. A private chef has the experience and knowledge to meet the nutritional demands of your family. Blues Agency London has been placing private chefs with families just like yours for over 40 years, so let us help you.