By Aisha Sembhi
As summative and exam seasons dawn upon us, it’s becoming more important than ever to take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. It’s no surprise that students often fall victim to developing unorthodox eating habits as the intensity of university takes its toll – it can be difficult to prioritise taking care of ourselves whilst balancing a hectic academic schedule and maintaining a student-friendly budget.
The stress that comes as a condition of sitting exams means I usually lean towards snacks that are first and foremost convenient to access, regardless of whether or not they are ‘good’ for me or make me feel physically good. This year, however, I challenged myself to set aside a few minutes each day to properly consider the food I take in for the day, and it’s made all the difference in my approach to revision. Whilst it was initially challenging, I have found that making the extra effort to eat regular and balanced snacks throughout the day can perhaps be the difference between a successful day of revision and an unproductive one.
So, how can we snack well during that all-important final term, whilst simultaneously optimising our time and staying within a designated budget? I’ve found foods that require little to no preparation, are budget-friendly and easily transportable to be the best revision snacks. Admittedly, these suggestions are tailored towards students like myself, who perhaps aren’t the best chefs – however, considering the likelihood of students prioritising convenience during exam season, they will most likely be universally applicable to all students!
The following snacks have been my favourite meal accompaniments during exam season:
COFFEE: Not necessarily a ‘snack’, but an essential for some (including myself!). Of course, be wary of the amount of coffee you’re consuming – whilst an occasional caffeine boost can make you more productive, it’s probably best to limit yourself to a maximum of two mugs/one large flask per day.
VEGETABLE STICKS: As the name implies, quite simply your vegetable of choice cut into sticks. I prefer cucumbers, sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. Side note – season your vegetables! It’ll make all the difference.
FRUIT: Though certain options can be a bit pricier, there are still several that remain budget friendly. My go-to snack is either a banana or apples, paired with peanut butter.
RICE CAKES/POPCORN: Perhaps too loud for a library setting, but ideal if, like me, you keep forgetting to set an alarm to book your Billy B slot and are stuck working from home!
CEREAL BARS: A bit of a generic suggestion for good reason – there’s so much variety, and often for little price! Be sure to keep an eye out for Tesco’s rotating clubcard prices, where several branded bars are reduced in price.
SWEETS: For me, an occasional sugary treat is an essential to ensuring a successful revision session to ensure I keep my energy up.
HERBAL TEAS: Growing up in a South Asian household meant I was introduced to turmeric teas from an early age. Years later, they still act as the perfect accompaniment to my wind-down sessions following a study session. (Also, I’ve found most herbal teas taste the same, so there’s no need to spend more on branded products! Tesco’s own green tea is a personal favourite.)
Ultimately, it’s important to create a revision programme that works well for you. What may work perfectly for your course mates might be entirely incompatible with your day-to-day structure. Above all, remember to take care of yourselves this exam season – find foods that will not only give you the energy required to make it through the day, but that you’ll also enjoy!
Image: Tyler Nix via Unsplash