Overdosing on comfort foods such as chips, cookies, colas and coffee is the norm among most students preparing for Board exams. Busy cramming their brains with information, students tend to forget it is equally essential to feed the mind with nutritious food to help it cope with the added stress.
Neha Sharma, a class XII student of The Banyan Tree, cannot start studying without a party pack of chips on her table.
Saket-resident Sangeeta Singh, 46, whose children are in Classes X and XII, says all she seems to buy these days are colas and chips. "For my daughters, study-break means an episode of (TV serial) Friends, a glass of coke and a packet of chips," she says.
Sugar cravings, too, are common among stressed students. Kriti Dargan, a Class XII student of Birla Vidya Niketan, gets sweet cravings at odd hours. "Usually when I am studying late at night, I crave for something sweet. So now I keep a pack of my favourite chocolates by my side,” she says.
However, experts say eating junk food does little more than giving a temporary sugar high. Instead of getting sugar fixes, the brain should be given a constant supply of energy and a diet rich in essential fatty acids, fruits and vegetables. “Instead of having three large meals which makes you feel sluggish, one should try and have five-six small nutritious meals. This is important so that a steady blood sugar level is maintained," says Cheenu Parashar, consultant dietician, Max Medcentre, Panchsheel Park.
And what could healthier snack options be? "Nuts like almonds, raisins and walnuts should be kept handy while studying as these are not only good in satiating hunger but also rich vitamins and serotonin, a hormone that uplifts mood and makes one feel energised, she says.
It is important parents include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their child's diet. Homemade mixes and salads using sprouts, grams and fruit are nutritious alternatives to chips and other junk foods.