With finals approaching, you’re going to need all the energy you can get to stay awake and focused. Energy drinks and large intakes of caffeine are not the way to do that. A busy day requires the right start, which comes in the form of a healthy breakfast.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day (“they” meaning doctors or nutritionists or my mom, I’m not entirely sure) and it is completely true. In order to fuel your body for a productive and focused day, you need to start at the beginning.
It may seem easy to wake up early and eat a stack of pancakes with a side of bacon and eggs to reward yourself for your late night study session. But in a few hours, all that grease and fat will leave you feeling sluggish and tired; two things you definitely don’t need during finals.
In fact, most Americans don’t get the proper nutrients they need from their breakfast. Sugary cereals, animal fat and white bread are too often the source of what people eat for breakfast. And while certain commercial breakfast foods like these claim to be a good source of calcium or protein, they really aren’t the kind of food you should be starting your day with.
On top of that, 31 million Americans are reported to skip breakfast each day, says a report by the Huffington Post. That’s 18% of females and 28% of males aged 18-34. For more info on these stats and other breakfast-related data, check out this nifty visualization I put together myself:
The news site Global Post reported in an article titled “Why Should College Students Eat Breakfast?” that eating a healthy breakfast allows students to concentrate more fully, especially before exams.
“College kids can think, learn and test better as well as control their weight by eating — not skipping — breakfast.”
A PDF published by Duke University lists the benefits of starting your day by eating a healthy breakfast:
- Improved memory and academic performance
- Improved ability to maintain weight loss
- Improved consumption of important nutrients such as fiber and calcium
- Feeling less hungry throughout the day
The important thing to remember about a healthy breakfast is that you get out what you put in. If you intake sugary cereals, chocolate chip muffins and hash browns, you’re going to feel like (pardon my French) shit later that night when you cannot stay alert. But, if you put protein and healthy carbohydrates into your body, you’ll have the energy and motivation to study all day.
I asked a few students why they thought breakfast was such a crucial part of one’s diet. Junior Elizabeth Harris said,
“I never miss eating breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day.”
She also said she usually sticks to a carbohydrate of some sort, such as cereal or a bagel.
“I can’t not eat breakfast, or else I don’t feel good,” said junior student Nikki Check. “I usually eat either a hard boiled egg with hot sauce or grab a granola bar.”
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says that in order for a breakfast to be healthy, you should incorporate 2-3 foods, including at least one from each of the following food groups:
- Bread and grain (i.e.cereal, toast, muffin)
- Milk and milk product (i.e. low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk)
- Fruit or vegetable group (i.e bananas, apples, carrots)
If you’re looking for ways to switch up your morning breakfast routine or need some healthy inspiration, check out this list of healthy breakfast recipes for busy mornings by greatist.com.
Eating a healthy breakfast is how you should start every day, not just during finals week. And unfortunately, breakfast alone won’t boost your grades (sorry guys). But if you start exam day with a healthy meal, you’ll end up with a much better final grade.