Food for Thought: Crunch on healthy foods during crunch time

It's already mid-April, which means projects deadlines, presentations and exams are coming up fast. Most of us will dedicate these next few weeks to homework and studying, leaving little time for any kind of social activity or healthy exercise.

Lots of ambitious students will pull quite a few all-nighters to get assignments done and cram for exams, while living on only caffeinated beverages and granola bars.

Caffeine is great. Believe me, I am a huge fan. However, caffeine alone and to excess is not the answer to your sleepless nights and will not help you get the grades you are looking for.

There are a few lifestyle tips to making sure you are alert and full of energy to get the straight As you're looking for.

For one, make sure you are still getting three meals per day. It can be challenging to fit a meal in when you know you have tons of work to do, but you need that little break to be able to replenish your energy so you are working on a full battery. Take a few minutes to relax while you eat so you can digest properly and reduce some stress.

healthy foods

What you eat can also help with mental awareness. As much as carbohydrates have a bad reputation in the calorie-counting world, they are a fantastic source of energy and they have just what our brain wants to stay active. Carbs with a lot of fibre (whole wheat especially) have a slower release of energy into our bodies, maintaining that level of awareness for a steadier and longer period of time.

Have a tuna sandwich (they do say fish is brain-food!) or a bran muffin if you feel tired instead of that Tim Hortons coffee.

If you find you do need a little kick-start from caffeine, green tea would be the way to go. Green tea is full of antioxidants and won't blast you as much as caffeine at once like coffee will. If you have tea with a little citrus, it can actually improve your body's absorption of the antioxidants. Also, for a healthier caffeine fix try Matcha. Matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground up to a fine powder and dissolved in hot water. It's so healthy for you because you are consuming the whole leaf of the green tea instead of just the infusion. This increases the level of antioxidants and other nutrients.

Finally, make sure you get plenty of rest. No matter how much studying you do, you won't retain much information with a brain that has been running non-stop for days.