Fitting studying into your life isn’t just about finding time to do the work. When we’re busy, we often slip into bad eating habits – but this can have a detrimental effect on your focus, meaning you have to work even harder to catch up.
So it’s essential that you make sure to eat well while you’re studying (and the rest of the time too, to be honest). To make this easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of some foods you should try to slip into your diet.
If you do your studying first thing in the morning, a healthy egg-based breakfast is a fantastic way to kickstart your day. They’re full of protein and vitamins, and there are so many ways you can cook them, so you’ll never get bored.
Study snack: If you’re in a rush, you can use a microwave to poach yourself an egg while you’re getting dressed. Just crack an egg into a microwave-safe mug, pour in 75ml of water, cover with a plate and cook on 50% power for 60 seconds. Check the egg and zap on for another 20 seconds if needed (or longer if you like your egg yolk cooked through). Drain and eat with buttered wholegrain toast (another brain booster).
This hot drink is loaded with antioxidants, which help out your memory and improve your mood. What’s more, it contains caffeine, but there’s not as much as in coffee. This means it can perk up your tired brain without sending you into a jitter.
Study snack: obviously you can have this as a drink, but you can also add matcha powder to a range of recipes. Try whipping up your favourite cookie recipe but swapping out 2 tablespoons of flour for the same amount of matcha powder.
It’s not just good for Popeye’s muscles! Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and rocket are full of nutrients that will give your brain the energy for a proper mental workout. Although the easiest way to eat them is in a salad, there’s lots of dehydrated snack options out there.
Study snack: if you want to make your own kale crisps, first rinse and thoroughly dry the leaves. Remove the leaves from the stem, toss in oil and sprinkle with the flavouring of your choice (just salt, or try chilli powder or sugar if you fancy something a bit more unusual). Bake in a 200°C oven for five minutes.
They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which boosts your memory and improves your sleep, so it’s a great idea to add some salmon, mackerel or tuna into your diet.
Study snack: it’s more of a meal, but smoked mackerel pairs really well with teriyaki sauce. Fry up your favourite stirfry veg, then add the smoked mackerel and cook for a few minutes. Add your teriyaki sauce, stir to combine, then serve with rice or noodles.
These versatile snacks are high in protein, fibre and essential fats, as well as a broad range of nutrients. Cashews in particular are high in iron and zinc, which improve your ability to recall information.
Study snack: you don’t need to eat your nuts whole! Nut butters are a great way to get your nutty fix. Roast your nuts for 10-15 minutes before popping them in a food processor. You don’t need to add anything else, just let it blend for at least 10 minutes until smooth and creamy.
There are tons of benefits to eating fresh fruit, and in particular blueberries are great for while you’re studying. Their antioxidants stimulate the flow of blood to the brain meaning your mind is kept alert for longer.
Study snack: Mix together 200g of self-raising flour and 1sp of baking powder, then stir in a beaten egg, 300ml of milk and 25g of butter. Pour ladles of the pancake mixture into a lightly oiled hot frying pan, and scatter some blueberries into the batter before it cooks. Cook for three minutes, flip, cook for a few more minutes on the other side, then serve.
Chocolate with at least 70% cacao boosts your cognitive ability and can lower your stress levels, meaning the time you spend studying will be far more productive. But do we really need to give you an excuse to eat chocolate?
Study snack: to make chocolate brain booster bites, spread out a piece of baking parchment. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in short 30 second bursts, stirring thoroughly in between bursts to make sure you don’t burn it. Dollop the chocolate in 5cm circles on the baking sheet. Before it cools and hardens, scatter your toppings over them: chopped nuts and fruits, raisins, seeds, and anything else you fancy. Refrigerate to set, and grab a few before you start your next stud session.
What do you have as your study snack?
We’d love to hear your favourite foods for studying, as well as any recipes you use to keep your mind sharp and focused.