Its exam time again and in few days class 10th and 12th board exams are starting. Kids are anxious and parents are under stress too. A student needs complete rest and good nutrition during exam time as they get tired easily not only physically but mentally too. A good night sleep, healthy food, and little bit exercise are good. Good food is often neglected by kids due to stress. As a dietician mom, I try to give healthy food and teach good nutrition habits to my kids but sometimes its easier said than done.
Sharing few nutrition tips as a dietician mom for kids going for exams –
- Eat a good breakfast – Do not skip breakfast. As many kids are stressed and nervous before exams, they tend to skip the breakfast just before going for the exam. Do not skip any meal for that matter. It’s not important to eat anything heavy, it’s important to eat healthy and light. They mainly need energy in the morning which can keep them active and reduce hunger while giving exams. See – Healthy Chilla recipe for kids
- Proteins the powerhouse – Include proteins like eggs, milk, beans, soya etc. in their diet. Proteins keep you full for longer period of time. Omega 3 fatty acids present in foods like almonds and other nuts are good for the brain. You can even give them few soaked almonds every day.
- Fruits and vegetables – Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as fiber helps to stay alert and focus better. Eat sprouts, fresh fruits, salads, dry fruits etc. Encourage your kids to pick up a banana, apple or an orange when they feel hungry while studying. Seasonal ones are always better than non seasonal.
- Avoid junk food – I know from personal experience that kids want fast foods and food items that are readily available. But it’s important to encourage them to avoid junk foods as it slows down the whole system and might make them lethargic due to high sugar content or preservatives.
- Sensible eating – Breakfast, and lunch can be heavy but try not to give your child a heavy dinner as its better for the digestive system. Kids need the energy to carry on with the alert mind the whole day. It’s better to give energy-dense foods at regular intervals.
- Good carbs – Avoid all white and refined products. It’s better to go for whole wheat or unrefined products. Avoid products with too many sweets as this can lead to sugar rush immediately but can lead to a slump later on.
- Water – Staying hydrated during exams is important to be active and alert. Not only on the exam day but also while revising and studying, make sure your child is well hydrated. You can even give them fresh fruit juices or soups. Avoid packaged and sugar-filled juices from outside. Fluids in any form help to keep the kids active and provide more concentration. You can give them buttermilk (sweet or salted), light tea and coffee are also ok, coconut water etc.
- Say no to caffeine – Do not bring aerated drinks or sugary caffeinated drinks at home especially during exam time. Too many aerated drinks, colas, sodas, coffee or tea are bad. They are all diuretics and can lead to loss of fluids from the body. Instead of caffeinated products, keep fruit infused water nearby.
- Smart snacking – Fruits, dry fruits, whole wheat crackers, popcorns, baked bread, flavoured yoghurt etc. are always better than chocolates, pastries, bakery products, and other sugary snacks. During exam time you need good concentration and healthy snacking helps your kids to stay active and alert.
- Immunity boosters – A child getting sick during exams is the last thing a parent wants. Try to include immunity-boosting foods in their diet. All the stress and anxiety sometimes lead to cold and fever in some kids. Food like bright coloured fruits, vegetables, whole grains is good. Bright colored fruits and vegetables have beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A which helps to fight infection. Another very important vitamin is vitamin C which helps to boost immunity. Leafy green vegetables, kiwi, citrus fruits, broccoli are all good as they are rich in Vitamin C.
Also, read – 5 tips to help kids beat exam stress
Here is a sample diet chart for exam giving kids –
- A glass of fruit juice or milk with cereal
- Wholewheat bread toast or poha
- Banana or a bowl of porridge
- scrambled eggs and toast
- 2 chappatis or a bowl of rice with veg or chicken curry and salad
- 2 chappatis with dry mixed vegetables with a bowl of curd/raita and salad
- Vegetable pulao with a bowl of curd/raita
- Multigrain sandwich with vegetables or paneer with light tea or flavoured milk
- Fruit smoothie
- sprout salad with vegetables
- Mix fruit chaat
- Corns chaat
- Wholewheat Pasta with fresh vegetables or chicken
- Chicken or vegetable wrap
- A big bowl of Chicken or vegetable soup (if they are not ready to eat much)
Tip – Dinner can be same as lunch but skip the rice.
Other than nutrition, make sure the kids sleep well and exercise a little bit and stay active. These were some tips from a dietician mom. Do you have any tips for an exam giving child? Do share with us.
In Nutrition niche, I not only share recipes with a healthy twist but also some tips as a dietitian mom. See previous week’s recipes-