The Not-So Starving Student

Food Secrets to Surviving Final Exam Season

The holidays are just around the corner, but before we get there some AU students might be wrapping up their fall semesters with a round of old-fashioned finals.  This week we’re here to help you take care of yourself and power through the last stretch with delicious and nutritious superfoods.  The brain will need the extra fuel to ace those finals! Alternatively, if you have a friend or family member about to enter focused-examination mode, surprise them by adding these nutritious ingredients into their meals.


Beans: small but mighty, beans provide some of the most complex starches you can find in a plant.  Paired with valuable proteins that offer sustained energy for those long hours spent at the library.  While stress is shown to lower your immune system and allowing your body to succumb to the flu, a diet rich in beans can protect you against various diseases (Messina, 2014).  Dried, canned and frozen forms can be a great addition to your meal prep during this busy time!


Eggs: In a previous issue of the magazine, I covered five different ways to consume this versatile protein option.  Whether it’s before a final exam or competing in the local run for the cure, I start my days off with simple scrambled or boiled eggs.  My personal tip to students who have less than five minutes to consume their breakfast (myself included) or need the breakfast on the go, prepare some hard boiled eggs the weekend prior to the start of a new week.  That way you can peel and bring your breakfast with you whenever and wherever.


Cheese: When you’re in the library cramming or staying up late, the last thing on your mind is eating healthy.  In fact, your priority might be to have a satisfying order of poutine or chow mein, either of which helps your body to physically fight the mental battle.  To make thing easier on your brain.  While we’ve added cheese to the list as a simple, on-the-go form of dairy product, any dairy product was shown to have a boost in short term memory which could go a long way during your studying (Ogata et al., 2016).

Fruits & Veggies:

Frozen fruits and veggies: the theme to this week’s issue is fast, simple nutrients on the go.  While you might not be restocking your fridge during this busy season, an accessible form of vegetable or fruits is a must! Frozen fruits and veggies are my personal favorite as I power through the day with a yogurt parfait or take two minutes to create a fruit smoothie.

Bonus: To make the most of your nutritious meals, pair them up with light workouts for only 7 minutes a day.  Recently I discovered a fantastic AU student must-have app in the app store called 7 minute workout.  I am not endorsing or financially affiliated with the app in any way, but found it useful while powering through stressful bout of finals.  While this column isn’t geared towards physical exercise, we know that exercising and grubbing come hand in hand.  Make sure to nourish your body and your mind! Stay super!

Messina, V.  (2014).  Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans.  The American journal of clinical nutrition, 100(Supplement 1), 437S-442S.
Ogata, S., Tanaka, H., Omura, K., Honda, C., Hayakawa, K., & Osaka Twin Research Group.  (2016).  Association between intake of dairy products and short-term memory with and without adjustment for genetic and family environmental factors: A twin study.  Clinical Nutrition, 35(2), 507-513.