College Success (Finals Week Edition): The Meal Plan
KEY TAKEWAYS FOR SUCCESS
- Proper nutrition should be a prime focus during final exams as they can help improve your energy levels and your cognitive functions.
- Emphasizing complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats will allow you stay alert for longer periods of time without a dip in energy.
- If you are reliant on the dining hall, see if you can take some extra food with you for later snacking during your study time.
How is the end of semester studying going? You tired yet? Are your eyes burning from all the reading? Are your hands sore from all the writing? I understand. You are running on low energy, barely scrapping by. This is what you need to do to be successful. Unfortunately there is no way around the process, but there is a way to improve how you feel during the process.
Proper nutrition and eating healthy will aid you significantly during these stressful times. Food is fuel, and you need the best fuel possible to be successful. Healthy food improves brain function, provides quality energy, and keeps you physically feeling good while your brain is screaming “mercy!” Like my article on the most efficient workout to perform during finals week, I will keep this nutrition article short and pointed.
RELATED POST: THE FINALS WEEK WORKOUT TO PAIR WITH YOUR MEAL PLAN
Being in the library or bolted to your desk does not allow much time for social sit down meals with friends. You don’t have the time to run to the dining hall six times a day or go out to eat at your favorite establishment. The key to a proper nutrition plan during this time of year is eating calorie and nutrient dense foods on the go.
Any student can utilize this nutrition plan whether they rely on the dining hall or cook their own meals at home. If you are someone who goes to the school’s dining hall, plan on making and taking every other meal to go. By taking food as you leave you will save precious time and be able to keep your nose in the books longer. If you prepare all your food at home, make these meals in advance so all you have to do is reach into your bag when you start running low on energy.
THE MEAL PLAN
MEAL 1 – DINING HALL / HOME
- 3 Whole Eggs
- 3 Egg Whites
- 5 Cup of Oatmeal
- 4 oz. 100% Orange Juice
MEAL 2 – ON THE GO
- 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
MEAL 3 – DINING HALL / ON THE GO
- 6 oz. Chicken Breast
- 2 Cups Vegetables
- 2 tbsp. Oil Based Dressing
MEAL 4 – ON THE GO
- 4 oz. Deli Turkey Breast
- 2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
- 1 tbsp. Mayonnaise
- Tomato and Lettuce
MEAL 5 – DINING HALL / HOME
- 6 oz. Chicken Breast
- 1 Cup Brown Rice
- 1 Cup Vegetables
MEAL 6 – ON THE GO
- 25 Almonds
- 2 Scoops Whey Protein Powder
THE BREAK DOWN
The day’s eating schedule mapped out above is a well balanced diet when it comes to the macro nutrient profiles. This plan will approximately net you the following nutritional facts:
This meal plan is the traditional three main meals with three “snacks” placed in between. While six meals may not be necessary for everyone year around, when you are lacking sleep the additional food will be required. It’s important to note that this diet focuses around complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, both of which are slow digesting. By eating slower digesting foods you ensure your blood sugar levels stay stable, not spiking like is the result of table sugar, and give you a constant flow of energy. A faster digesting carb will spike your blood sugar levels and immediately make you lethargic and tired once those levels drop; the crash. Obviously this is not ideal when you are cramming late into the night. Make sure you stay away from those sugary treats, sugar based drinks, and fried foods if you want to make the best of your time studying.
Don’t be afraid to eat up when it comes to healthy food sources such as almonds and chicken breast. Your mind, and in turn your grades, will thank you for the brain food!