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The perfect exam diet for students

india Updated: Mar 14, 2010 14:44 IST
Prema K
Prema K
Hindustan Times
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IPL fever has gripped the nation, but unfortunately, students have to grapple with the exam fever. The exam season is back, it’s that time of the year when one can feel the anxiety in every inch of one’s body!

So, what’s a student to do? Most starve because they are busy cramming or lose their appetites. Adults often advise children that one needs to fuel the body with foods that energise during the exam phase. It’s similar to preparing for a long marathon. It’s also time to pamper oneself a bit with comfort food. Bananas are said to be excellent before an exam because they release their energy slowly. Even an orange, carrot sticks or a sweet fruit work in the same way. It’s also recommended that one has a light and balanced meal a couple of hours before an exam. Not eating is the worst things!

Manjeet Kaur, a housewife with an 18-year-old son, says, “I make sure my son eats light, has plenty of juices and fruits during his study break. I don’t prepare deep-fried snacks and rice because they make one drowsy. I also insist that he eats every two hours.”

Dr Nalini Karukaran advises oats for breakfast. She says, “A light meal comprising meat, eggs or fish and vegetables is okay. Avoid brinjals, very sour and salty food. For dinner, one can have Rice and Moong Dal Khichdi made with pure ghee.”

Nutritionist Dr Harshada Rajadjyaksha says that students require food that increase concentration, enhance memory, boost energy, calm the mind and reduce stress and fatigue. She regards coffee, tea, colas and sugar as energy-fakers.

She explains, “Caffeine is a powerful but temporary stimulant…the boost runs out fast. Too much of it leaves you tense and anxious. Sweets give one a temporary lift followed by a low.” She also advises against eating large meals. Mixing proteins in one meal or a meal with excess salt leads to fatigue.

She recommends a balanced combination of nutrients for sustained energy. She says, “Combine vegetables, whole grain cereals or pasta, fresh fruits, dry fruits and nuts. Drink enough water. Almonds, apples, walnuts along with raisins, grapes, oranges, dates and figs and eggs, milk, soybeans and fish are memory-enhancing food. Calm the mind with honey, milk, oats, wholegrain cereals, nuts and pulses.”