We can’t guarantee the next 800 words are going to change your life. We also can’t promise that by reading this column and the tips we’ve laid out, you’re going to ace your finals. However, we can say that we have some ideas that might give you a boost this finals week.
We looked into students’ diet patterns during the week of exams and found that when students are stressed, sleep deprived, and busy, they gravitate towards foods with little to no nutritional value. You may be surprised to know that the foods you eat may really have an effect on how well you do in your exam. The best way to start your day is with a full breakfast.
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To make it count, Rebecca Briggs, a KSC registered dietitian, said a breakfast must include at least three food groups: fruit, dairy, and grain. “When you wake up, it’s been awhile since you last ate. You need some fuel,” she said. “Carbohydrates jump start for quick energy, but protein is what makes it last.” Briggs suggested students combine fruits and veggies with their carbohydrates at breakfast. She said to add veggies to an omelet, peanut butter to an apple, or hummus to vegetables. Picture a plate filled with the food named above. Pretty colorful, right? Briggs insists color is good. “The more color the better,” Briggs explained. “All of that color comes from antioxidants. Each of those has a different function in the body. The more the better.”
Krystin Cooper and Amanda Coffey, KSC graduate students, said they each make it a priority to have a full breakfast in the morning. “I’d fall on the floor by 10 a.m. if I didn’t have breakfast,” Cooper said. She said she follows the idea that if she eats protein earlier in the day, she will stay full longer. Not only is it important to have a good breakfast every morning, especially mornings of exams, but also to keep in mind some snack foods that help maintain your energy level throughout the day.
Amanda Goldfarb, a KSC dietetic intern, advised students to try to never reach a point where they are too hungry. She said to eat throughout the day but to avoid “heavy” or fried foods and said, “You’ll feel foggy as it’s digesting.” Goldfarb offered her advice on certain foods that will help keep students full and focused. She suggested students snack on foods like cheese, hummus, and nuts. The intern gave advice on foods she considered “brain energy,” and said today’s busy students need to take care of themselves. Goldfarb listed “brain foods” as being nuts like walnuts which contain healthy fats like Omega 3s, Vitamin E, and protein. “For sustainable energy, take a baggie of nuts with you to your class or exam,” she said.
KSC junior Vanessa Nuttall is a student example of Goldfarb’s advice. She explained she eats little snacks throughout the day. Her favorite snacks-on-the-go are protein bars and cashews. Goldfarb also mentioned students should not attempt to overcompensate for lack of sleep with coffee the morning of an exam. “If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t skip it, but don’t overdo it either.”
She continued, “You will crash.” For those who aren’t coffee drinkers, Goldfarb suggested snacking on pieces of dark chocolate for a little caffeine kick. Goldfarb also recommended choosing coconut water over energy drinks. Both Goldfarb and Briggs made a point that, aside from food, students should attempt to get eight hours of sleep a night. The nutrition enthusiasts also said students should maintain proper hydration, and Briggs reminded students to continue exercising and mentioned that working out helps to regulate appetite. If you can maintain a proper diet and keep from getting over hungry and eating unhealthy foods, we guarantee you will feel better overall during that last stressful week.
Keep calm and carry on, Keene State.
Kimberly Borkowski can be contacted at
Julie Conlon can be contacted at