Healthy eating habits/Effective Eating for Exams

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Healthy eating during exam periods may seem like an impossible and difficult task to manage. With these quick and easy tips you can forget about making poor food choices and enjoy the benefits of healthy and tasty foods.

Eating healthy throughout exams means:

  • You will not have to waste holiday time in bed with a cold
  • Avoid unnecessary weight gain/loss
  • Have your skin looking fresh and glowing
  • Perform better in exams

Time Saving Tips

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Spoonful of cereal

Have breakfast everyday

Spending just 10 minutes preparing a good breakfast will help you study more effectively than if you skipped breakfast all together.

It also lowers the chances of overeating later in the day and snacking on un-needed extra foods [1]

Cook in large quantities

Separate what you do not eat into meal size portions and freeze them for later meals

Plan ahead

Spend some time deciding on what you want to eat and what you need to buy for the entire week. Do all your shopping in one go to save yourself from making multiple trips to the supermarket.

Use pre-cut vegetables

Buying pre-cut vegetables from the supermarket for a quick salad or sandwich filling will save you time from chopping them up yourself.

Choose recipes wisely

Choose recipes that are simple, quick and easy to make. This way you can use cooking as a quick break from study.

Use leftovers for new meals

Use left overs from dinner such as chicken or vegetables for a sandwich filling the next day.

Clean as you go

Use the minimum amount of dishes and utensils needed for cooking and clean as you go to save time from doing it later. Why not go over some study material while you wash away?

Exams and Your Immune System

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Exams are stressful and stress can lead to a lowered immune system, which can result in you catching a cold. [2] Once you are sick not only do you feel unwell but its much more difficult to study productively.

Having nutrient deficiencies can further lower your immune system.[3] It's difficult enough meeting your nutrient needs on a typical day; if you are replacing your regular diet with processed or packaged foods that are low in nutrients it makes it even harder.

Foods that are particularly beneficial for your immune system include:

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  • Beef, lamb, milk, and nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are sources of zinc.[4] Low levels of zinc have been shown to reduce immunity and memory.[5]
  • Berries are full of antioxidants to help boost your immune function.[6] Try adding them to a bowl of porridge, a tub of plain yoghurt or snack on fresh berries while you study.
  • It’s the probiotics in yoghurt that do the trick.[7] Instead of a chocolate bar or packet of chips have a tub of yoghurt. It is also a source of zinc, so you can’t go wrong.[4] Be sure to read the nutrition label at the back and choose the yoghurt with the lowest sugar content.
  • Foods rich in omega-3 such as canned salmon, mackerel, eggs, flax seeds and avocado[4] reduce inflammation and protect you from getting sick.[8] Why not use a can of salmon in your sandwich, have it on crackers as a snack or use it in a salad?
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Sweet potatoes
  • Replace potato chips by making your own baked sweet potato chips. Sweet potato contains vitamin A and beta carotene which are not only immune boosting but great for your skin too. [9] Other sources vitamin A include eggs and skim milk[4].
Don't have time to whip up a quick meal?
Try downloading the ‘Food Switch’ App on your smartphone or IPhone to help you choose healthy alternatives while at the supermarket.

Eating When Stressed

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Stress can often lead to overeating on foods that are high in energy, sugar and bad fats.[10]

To avoid over-indulging:

  • Listen to your hunger cues. If you feel yourself reaching for that tub of ice cream, sit down for a minute and decide if you are hungry or just stressed. If you are stressed it may be a better idea to save the ice cream for later. If you really do need something to munch on, a handful of mixed nuts, vegetable sticks with hummus or unsalted popcorn are great healthy options.
  • When preparing a snack to eat while studying only put in the amount you want to eat. Filling a bowl to the top may lead you to finishing the entire bowl without even realising.
  • When planning your study schedule do not forget to add in time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including preparation time. Skipping meals can also lead to overindulging later on.
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Sweet Potato Fries:

Baked Tortilla Chips:

Sesame Chickpea Dip:

Baked Oatmeal Bars:

Smoked Salmon Pizza:

Banana Pikelets:

Soft boiled egg with ricotta fingers:

Tuna & salad pinwheels:,healthy-lunch+recipes

Pomegranate tabouli:,low-fat

Strawberry-Cucumber Juice:

Homemade tortilla chips
Recipe Preparation time Ready in No. of ingredients Serves
Sweet potato fries 15 mins 45 mins 6 4
Baked tortilla chips 10 mins 25 mins 6 6
Sesame chickpea dip 10 mins 2 hrs (Refrigeration time) 7 4
Baked oatmeal bars 10 mins 1 hr 9 9
Smoked salmon pizza 15 mins 30 mins 8 6
Banana pikelets 10 mins 15 mins 8 4
Soft boiled egg with ricotta fingers 10 mins 5 mins 5 2
Tuna & salad pinwheels 20 mins 20 mins 7 4
Pomegranate tabouli 20 mins 30 mins 8 4
Strawberry-Cucumber Juice 15 mins 15 mins 4 2


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  1. Wesnes, K. A., Pincock, C., Richardson, D., Helm, G., & Hails, S. (2003). Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite, 41(3), 329-331.
  2. Chandra, R. K. (1997). Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 66(2), 460S-463S.
  3. Gross, R., & Newberne, P. (1980). Role of nutrition in immunologic function. Physiological reviews, 60(1), 188-302.
  4. a b c d Blazos-Kouris, A. (2012). Food Sources of Nutrients: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Phytonutrients and Chemicals: Antigone Kouris-Blazos
  5. Shankar, A. H., & Prasad, A. S. (1998). Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 68(2), 447S-463S.
  6. Battino, M., Beekwilder, J., Denoyes‐Rothan, B., Laimer, M., McDougall, G. J., & Mezzetti, B. (2009). Bioactive compounds in berries relevant to human health. Nutrition reviews, 67(s1), S145-S150.
  7. Borchers, A. T., Selmi, C., Meyers, F. J., Keen, C. L., & Gershwin, M. E. (2009). Probiotics and immunity. Journal of gastroenterology, 44(1), 26-46.
  8. Calder, P. C., & Grimble, R. F. (2002). Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. European journal of clinical nutrition, 56, S14-9.
  9. Kidmose, U., Christensen, L. P., Agili, S. M., & Thilsted, S. H. (2007). Effect of home preparation practices on the content of provitamin A carotenoids in coloured sweet potato varieties. Innovative food science & emerging technologies, 8(3), 399-406.
  10. Torres, S. J., & Nowson, C. A. (2007). Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition, 23(11), 887-894.