Finals Guide: Proper diet necessary during finals week

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When you have finished your third research paper, read the same note cards more times than you can count and are running on about two hours of sleep, it is officially finals week.

During this week, there are so many things to remember. As students, we are being pulled in all different directions, making it easy to forget one of the most basic needs: food. But eating a healthy, balanced diet is especially important during finals week.

“Eating balanced meals will enhance your ability to work through problems, improve your mood, keep you blood sugar regulated, and improve your immune function,” said Dianna Schalles, director of nutritional services at Lafene Health Center.

Eating a well-balanced diet is a crucial part of being awake, functional and attentive during finals week. To start off right, begin each day with a good breakfast, said Julie Gibbs, director of health promotions at Lafene Health Center.

“Eating breakfast revs your metabolism, which improves your concentration,” Gibbs said.

Starting the day with a healthy balanced breakfast will improve concentration and reduce hunger during the day, lower cholesterol levels, add nutrients and vitamins to the diet, and help with weight control, according to WebMD.

A common excuse for not eating breakfast is a lack of time. To solve this problem, select simple breakfast items with both carbohydrates and proteins that can be grabbed and taken on the go, Gibbs said.

“Nutrigrain granola bars, whole wheat waffles with peanut butter, any kinds of fruit, and even chocolate milk will help you start your day off right,” Gibbs said.

This advice has worked for Ailey Connelly, sophomore in business.

“I always eat a Nature Valley granola bar within thirty minutes of waking up, and it really helps me focus during class, especially during finals,” Connelly said.

Healthy eating cannot end after breakfast. Although many students rely on caffeine to stay awake and focused, this is not the best solution, Schalles said.

“Vitamins do not provide energy, and caffeine can give a temporary energy boost but can increase anxiety levels and sleep problems,” Shalles said. “Get your energy from food, not caffeine.”

This does not mean that students have to cut out coffee, but it does mean that moderation is necessary, Gibbs said.

“If you’re a coffee drinker, two cups or so is just fine, just don’t drink any more than you would normally or you could become jittery,” Gibbs said.

Schalles recommends refueling your body every three to five hours and staying hydrated to ensure the best results.

“Remember to drink plenty of water, because dehydration can lead to fatigue,” Schalles said.

Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast of carbs and protein will keep you full and focused, and arm you with the right mindset and attitude to tackle your studying and come out on top of finals.

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