“I’m not hungry!” - Is this what you often claim while preparing for exams? While the numerous pending lessons may tempt you to neglect your meals and devote your entire time to books, the truth is, you’re doing it wrong! Here’s how food can influence better grades, and why you must not turn your back on food while studying.

Why eating healthy during exams is important

Examination time can easily pass as one of the most stressful phases of the semester, with long study hours, library sessions, and scanning through the mounting piles of notes with highlighted text. While diligent effort and time management play a crucial role in achieving the desired goals and help in scoring par excellence, healthy food for students during exams can also contribute to delivering significant results. The diet entrance exam relationship must be paid special attention to, as diet shows a moderate positive association with academic achievement, and this can be obtained by including breakfast, regularly consuming meals, and eating sufficient servings of fruits.

Healthy foods for students during exams

When planning a diet for students preparing for competitive exams or any other tests for that matter, the following foods can help deliver the intended results:

  1. Fish: Apart from being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish also contains an important trace mineral called selenium. Studies have observed that long-term low selenium levels are associated with decreased cognitive function. Other sources of selenium are nuts and eggs, all of which form a crucial part of the exam food. Egg: This brief list of the food to eat during exams would be incomplete without including eggs. It is one of the best sources of protein, vitamin A, and choline. Choline is needed to synthesise acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that acts as a chemical messenger in the brain. Thus, choline is required to nurture the nerves and cognition and may also positively impact memory.
  2. Green vegetables: These include veggies such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, and even peas that are good sources of folate. Studies have found that folate is a micronutrient necessary for brain functioning and can reduce inflammatory molecules that contribute to cognitive decline. It is also known to have a positive impact on memory. Thus, a bowl of greens serves as food to improve memory for exam time and shouldn’t be skipped during your dedicated study hours! Broccoli: As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli has a high content of vitamin C and is also packed with several beneficial plant components that may maintain one’s good health and prevent inflammation. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K as well, which is involved in regulating a type of fat called sphingolipids that influences the survival of brain cells. This characteristic makes broccoli a great exam food.
  3. Blueberry: Blueberries are rich in functional plant compounds known as polyphenols that can be beneficial for cognitive performance and mood. It is also noted that eating blueberries can help improve short- and long-term memory, thus making it an essential brain food for exams.
  4. Nuts and seeds: Nuts such as walnuts and seeds, including flaxseed and chia, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acids. They are essential for normal brain functioning, as a deficiency may result in impaired learning and memory. Besides, they are also a good source of vitamin E, which is associated with better cognition.
  5. Dark chocolate: Biting into dark chocolate prepared with minimal sugar can actually serve as a guilt-free dessert and delicious food to eat before exams. This is because cocoa can help increase the blood flow to the brain, thus expanding the mind’s overall working capacity.
  6. Fluids: This brief list would be incomplete without a note on the importance of hydration and electrolytes as water forms 75% of the brain mass, and is essential for cognitive performance. Besides, it is found that even mild dehydration can contribute to anxiety and drastically affect working memory. Thus, staying hydrated by drinking plain water and fluids such as coconut sugar cane juice, or tender coconut mint cooler can go a long way in preparing for exams.

Food tips to eat during exams

Preparing for an exam can barely allow you to squeeze in time for anything else, but food is an exception. The results you seek by endlessly studying and burning the midnight oil can be enhanced by planning the right exam diet. The theory is that regular eating occasions provide a means to deliver nutrients essential for brain development and functioning, while also providing adequate energy to fuel cognitive function.

A few options of healthy food for students during exams are listed below::

Oats egg omelette: By consuming breakfast and regular meals, overall academic performance can be higher. Since egg is an important brain food for exams, having it for breakfast would be a great start to your day. If you’re not a fan of omelette, you can also make egg bhurji, both of which can be had with chapati or bread.

Sandwich (Avocado or Chicken Club Sandwich): A sandwich can come in handy when planning the food to eat during exams. A sandwich can be layered with healthy ingredients such as avocado, a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, or chicken, which would help provide protein and choline.

Broccoli soup: A warm bowl of soup can make for a good study partner, and what better than opting for broccoli as its main ingredient, given the vegetable’s ability to boost brain cell growth. This is a great food to improve memory during exams and is also quite easy to prepare and can be enhanced by adding powdered nuts.

Apple chia seeds smoothie: Seeds may be small-sized ingredients but serve as food to improve memory during exams. Not only are chia seeds delicious, but when prepared in smoothies along with fruit and yoghurt, the drink can also help improve gut function. As proven, our gut health is related to the health of our brain. Several gut hormones that enter the brain can influence cognitive ability.

Banana chocolate cookies: Some people may feel hungrier than usual during exam time. Instead of devouring empty calories, a wiser act would be to opt for healthier snacks such as cookies made with banana and cocoa, as they are power-packed with several nutrients that can improve cognition.


It is no secret that a wholesome diet can deliver amazing results when preparing for exams, as high amounts of certain nutrients can affect cognition and emotions. Interestingly, feeding can modify cognitive processes, and food may be one of the determining factors for the final result. So, it’s about time we stop neglecting food while working for success, and instead pay special attention to our meals to achieve our goals!