Fuelling Your Brain

By Sam Harrison @samfornutrition

Some of you may be sad that Freshers’ Week is over, but by now you’ll have hopefully made your room cosy and homely, made a good group of friends and begun to find your feet on your new course. Here at MetMUnch, we thought we’d give you a few cost effective top tips on getting the most out of yourself on any given uni day. We believe one of the best ways to reach your potential is to feed yourself good quality brain food! This will hopefully give you the mental edge in those long days of lectures and seminars.

A good wholesome breakfast can set you up perfectly for the day. Certain choices like white toasted bread or sugary cereal will only leave you energised for a short time before your glucose levels decrease and you find you can’t quite keep track of what your lecturer is saying to you! A great, quick brain boosting breakfast is a bowl of oats. Classed as a low GI food, oats release energy gradually. They’re also packed full of B vitamins, which is handy because a lack of these water-soluble vitamins has been shown to result in poor concentration and memory. (Oats are so versatile too! – why not add some honey, berries or nuts?)

Bringing your lunch to uni can not only save you money in the long run, but it also ensures you won’t be tempted to reach for those quick, sugary snacks come lunchtime. Some simple lunch ideas include eggs, cooked how you like (except fried). Eggs are an incredible powerhouse of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. How about a yummy tuna or salmon salad? Mix in some diced apple for a great dose of natural sugars. If you’re pushed for time in the morning, then the cafeteria offers some great soup options, which teamed with a slow releasing carb like wholemeal bread will leave you raring to go in the afternoons.

For those days where you have back-to-back classes without the appropriate time for a proper lunch, having healthy snacks to hand can really help. A bag of mixed seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower will give you a great dose of protein, potassium, zinc and selenium. All of these are great for concentration and keeping us calm. An added tip – eating protein and carbohydrates together slows the release of sugar into the blood stream – so having some fruit with your seeds will do wonders in keeping you alert and energised. There’s also great news if you happen to be a chocoholic! In its simplest form, cocoa contains tryptophan – which elevates the mood. This means a couple of squares of dark chocolate (look for a minimum of 70% cocoa) will certainly be of benefit in keeping you happy and eager to learn.

Well, there you have it. A few simple ideas, which will hopefully help you feel your best on those busy days. Good luck and happy learning from all at MetMUnch!