14 healthy eating tips during exams

Food determines health, wealth and happiness.

During exams, students spend long hours studying and staying awake. Intake of the right kind of food in small quantities along with ‘brain’ food helps to keep them stimulated and alert.

Health issues during exams
Depression, dehydration, anxiety, restlessness, anguish, mouth dryness, anorexia nervosa (emotional eating), heart burn, acidity, constipation, dark circles, anaemia, digestive problem, flu, cold, headache, hyperactivity, kidney stone, muscular pain or back pain, nausea and vomiting are some of the healthy issues that can plague a child when he is preparing for his exams.

Keep away from the following foods

· Hot dog
· Pizza
· Aerated drinks
· Cheese burger / sandwich
· Red meat
· Fried fish
· Ham burger

A little modification in lifestyle helps

· Ensure that your child is not overeating to cope with problems or to deal with emotions such as stress or to fight boredom
· Remember that a high level of phosphorus from processed food and soft drinks will deplete bone density and cause fractures
· Teach your child to eat slowly and savour each mouthful
· Help him to have small and frequent meals; do not reheat food as it ruins the nutrient content of food that may also cause gastric problems.
· Ensure that the child doesn’t chew gum – The chewing action causes him to swallow more digestive juices which will increase his appetite

Opt for the healthy foods

· Provide your child with juicy fruits and vegetables as they rehydrate and replenish the body so that he does not feel sleepy after eating. A fruit platter could include slices of water melon, musk melon, strawberries, oranges and sweet lime
· Almonds, walnut, pumpkin seeds, cucumber and watermelon seeds help improve memory and concentration. Nuts are full of DHA – docosahexaenoic acid which is needed in high levels by the brain and eyes for learning and improving memory.

· Prevent your child from consuming starchy vegetables like potatoes and yam which make him lethargic and sleepy or cause constipation which can lead to bloating
· He should consume light vegetables as a bottle gourd sabji, carrots or methi with chapati
· The child should consume chilled raita made of fresh fruit or vegetable so that he gets his dose of calcium, water and protein
· While snacking, instead of samosa, burgers, patties and namkeen, he can opt for almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds or sukha bhel. Boiled chickpea is a great option too
· Instead of soft drinks, he must consume 1-2 glasses of healthy fresh fruit milkshake, lassi, energy drinks or glucose water per day.
· Avoid fattening (fried items) and refined foods made of maida, which would make him sleepy and lethargic.
· Iodine is very important for memory power so include enough iodized salt in your child’s diet
· No supplements should be given during exams, unless prescribed by a practising physician
· Tea and coffee do not awaken you – instead they cause acidity and heart burn
· Keep your child well hydrated – provide a lot of water in the form of fresh seasonal fruit juices like watermelon, strawberries, cucumber and orange juice
· Ensure your child sleeps well before the exam as it will prevent anxiety, depression and restlessness
· A happy child has an increased serotonin level. Listening to soothing music can increase the serotonin level which is a chemical in the brain that is known to induce a de-stressed, calm feeling.

Dr. Nupur Krishnan
The author is a leading nutrition expert with a decade of proven experience in Preventive and Clinical Nutrition therapies on heart attack, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, blood pressure, thyroid and kidney disorders.

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