Eating for Exam Excellence

Congratulations! You’ve made it this far – Winter Break is right around the corner! We all know that eating well can fall by the wayside as classes end and exams begin. Long study sessions in your dorm room or apartment can leave you tired and hungry, reaching for whatever food is within grasp. But, skimping on nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can impair concentration and energy, leading to poor performance on exams. So, how can you optimize your study time while still making sure to eat well-balanced meals that will fuel your brain and your body?

1. Take some time to stock up. Even if you live on campus or don’t have a car, finding an hour or two before exams start to take a trip to the grocery store can pay off in the long run. Tag along with a friend who’s planning on going to the store, use Chapel Hill Transit to visit one of the many nearby stores (Click here and scroll down to find which bus routes will take you to common shopping centers), or take a nice long walk to a nearby store to de-stress!

2. Aim for balance! If you’re eating a full meal, try to make half of it be fruits and vegetables with some protein and whole grains making up the rest. Visit for more info on balancing your meals. If you just need a small snack to keep you going until your next meal, try to pair some carbohydrate with some protein (Think fruit with string cheese, whole grain crackers and cheese or peanut butter, dry cereal with almonds, or carrots and hummus).

3. Make the most of your mini-fridge. Your mini-refrigerator and microwave might not be a gourmet kitchen, but it can still feed you pretty well without much effort on your part. A bag of salad greens can be transformed into a filling meal by adding some non-perishable items like canned fish or beans, nuts, and dried fruit. Or, you can microwave a fresh or frozen bag of steam-able veggies and pair them with a microwaved veggie burger for dinner. Keep a small bottle of low-fat milk to add to whole-grain cereal for breakfast or an any-time snack or keep a few cups of yogurt to pair with your favorite fruit picked up from the dining hall. For more ideas, visit this Pinterest board from Dickinson College devoted to dorm-friendly meals.

And remember, if you have more questions about healthy eating, you can make a FREE appointment with the Nutrition Education Consultant at Counseling and Wellness! Call (919) 966-3658 to schedule a time to talk.

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