Eating for success

High school can be a stressful time, which is why we have always advised that you take care of your overall wellbeing. There are plenty of study tips that we can give you to improve your exam revision, but those will only go so far. You also need to be taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing by eating well, exercising and finding time to relax.

Eating well is essential for good health. It’s unnecessary to overthink every bite you put into your mouth but you should understand some basic principles of healthy eating.

You can’t go wrong with plants

Most of your meals should consist of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, baby marrow, carrots, beetroot, aubergine/eggplant/brinjal, cucumbers, etc. Vegetables are full of important vitamins and minerals to keep your body at optimal health. There are plenty of ways to cook and prepare vegetables, so do some experimenting.

Fruit is also a healthy addition to your diet. Some types of fruit are high in sugar so be careful not to overdo it. Try adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast meal, and one other during the day as a snack. It’s easy to overdo the dried fruit too so, even though it’s delicious, try not to have too often.

Protein: not only for meat-eaters

Protein is essential for the body. It helps to repair and build cells – including brain cells. Protein also tends to keep you fuller for longer, so adding it to meals can prevent hunger pangs, which can be distracting during classes and study sessions, and overeating.

Protein sources include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products like cottage cheese, and peanut and other nut butters.

If you are vegetarian or vegan (whether for religious, health or moral reasons), you should still be adding protein to your diet in some form. Sources include beans, nut butters, quinoa and lentils.

Carbs are not as evil as their reputation suggests

Carbohydrate-rich foods should be included in your diet in reasonable amounts. These include brown rice, potatoes, wholegrain bread and other wholegrain products and oats.

Avoid processed and sugary carb-heavy foods such as cereals, pastries, biscuits and white breads and pastas.

Healthy fats: Essential for a hardworking teenager

Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats to your meals, as these are essential for optimal brain function. These include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts.

Unhealthy fats, found in baked and fried foods, as well as sweets and desserts, should be limited and only eaten occasionally as a treat.

Don’t forget about your beverages

It’s important not to forget about what you are drinking on a daily basis. Sugary drinks like sodas should be avoided. Rather reach for clean, fresh water to quench your thirst.

If you feel like something warm, herbal teas are also a good option and better for you than coffees and hot chocolate.

Eating well doesn’t need to be difficult. You simply need to use your common sense and eat to nourish your mind and body.