Today we have a blog take over by The Yoghurt and Juice Network who will be sharing their advice around stress free meals during final term … enjoy!
Exam period can often be a stressful time, filled with late night and early mornings. This equation of stress, tiredness, a high sugar diet and a little too much caffeine can leave you feeling more stressed and more tired as a result. So what if we told you we had another solution? One which can leave you feeling less stressed, more energised, more productive and a little more on top of everything.
Ready for it?
Start looking after your wellbeing with our top nutrition tips to support stress, to help stabilise your energy levels and reduce those exam period sugar cravings.
- Balance your meals
We often hear about balancing our meals but what does that really mean? Try combining a source of good quality protein (e.g. meat, fish, tofu, beans, eggs or lentils) with a source of complex carbohydrates (e.g. vegetables, potato, chickpeas, brown rice or brown pasta) with a source of healthy fats (a small handful of seeds, hummus or some olive oil). This combination of the different food groups will ensure that your energy is much more sustained throughout the day and help to prevent those energy spikes and crashes where you end up craving your next sugar hit.
You might be thinking back to your science lessons here, although magnesium is actually a really vital mineral which is needed to help support your body at time of increased stress. Our glands that’s produce our stress hormones will draw upon magnesium and require it in higher amounts during higher stress.
Foods rich in magnesium include: green leafy vegetables, chickpeas, beans, broccoli and cabbage. Try incorporating more of these foods into your daily diet!
- Reduced caffeine
During times of stress if can feel as though caffeine is your only hope. Although, you might be surprised to hear that caffeine can actually heighten your stress response, particularly for those individuals susceptible to stress and anxiety. Try limiting your energy drinks which are high in caffeine and sugar and switch them to no added sugar squash. We also suggest limiting your tea and coffee intake by switching them to warm lemon water or herbal teas.
We’re sure you’re not surprised to see this one on the list! Regular drinking can cause spikes and drops in blood alcohol content which can leave you feeling low, anxious and stressed. Try opting for at least three alcohol free days per week (more if you can!) As this will really help to manage your mood, stress and anxiety too.
Omega-3 is a nutrient which is commonly found in oily fish. It plays a vital role in brain function which is particularly important during exam time! Sources include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring) and nuts and seeds. Oily fish can be expensive, so we recommend picking up some tinned sardines which are much cheaper!
B-vitamins are really important in providing the sugars from our food to the brain. Essentially that’s the fuel your brain needs to help you get through your exams! B-vitamins are also important in producing the feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine along with adrenaline to get you through the days!
Sources of B-vitamins include: beans, lentils, eggs, meat, fish and wholegrains.
So, there you have a few top tips for how you can use your diet to support your stress and mental wellbeing during exam period.
As this is a busy period, we’ve put together some recipes which will help to support your mental wellbeing based on our tips above.
We hope you enjoy them! Please do tag us on Instagram @theyoghurtandjuice_network with all your creations!
Check out some of Yogurt and Juice’s recipes below:
Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew –This super simple, filling and easy dish is ideal for making on a Sunday and keeping in the fridge ready for the week.
This dish is high in magnesium from the chickpeas and is rich in B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates to support sustained energy.
1 tbsp oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
1 can chickpeas
4 large carrots
1 sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp mixed spice
3 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
150ml vegan stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes (410g)
1.Heat the oil in a pot .Thinly slice the onions and crush the garlic and add to the pot. Leave to sweat for about 2 minutes.
2.Peel the vegetables, slice the carrots into rounds and cube the sweet potatoes.
3.Add the turmeric, mixed spice, paprika, salt and black pepper to the pan and stir.
4.Add the veg with the stock and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
5.Add the chopped tomatoes and cover, leave over a low to medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
6.Serve and enjoy!
Banana and Raspberry Ice Cream– this ice cream is ideal for a quick snack in between revision, it’s sweet, creamy yet packed full of nutrients!
4 overly ripe bananas
200g frozen raspberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt (exclude for vegan option)
2 tbsp milk (or dairy free alternative)
1.Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
2.Pour into a bowl, cover and place in the freezer or eat straight out the blender!
Overnight Bircher Muesli – This recipe is a really great option for the mornings when you’re in a rush. You can prep it the night before and grab it on your way to the library! It’s packed with fibre, B-vitamins, protein and healthy fats to get you through the day.
1 Apple (grated)
¼ cup oats
Handful of crushed nuts
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp yoghurt (natural or non-dairy)
1/2 cup milk (of your choice).
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl together and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning your bircher will be thick and ready to go. Yes, it really is as simple as that!
Images – Pexels