A balanced lunch helps a bunch!
Now that you've aced breakfast, it's time to make your noontime noshing more nutritious. As with breakfast, eating the right food at lunch gives you energy so you don't crash before the day is done. And the right food will feed your brain, so your brain can feed you all the right information for your test!
With all the studying you have to do, it may seem easier to buy your lunch in the cafeteria than to worry about packing a lunch at home. But some of the choices you might find in the lunch room ? pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, French fries, and the candy machine ? are high-fat or high-sugar foods that will leave you sluggish and not at all in test-mode. For the healthiest, smartest meal, you should break out the brown bag.
Thinking Inside the Lunchbox: Do's and Don'ts For Packing a Brain-Boosting Lunch
Do balance your box with selections from the food pyramid. Pack some whole grains (brown rice, an English muffin, whole wheat pita bread), fruits and veggies, dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk), and meat (turkey, ham, chicken) or meat substitute (tofu, tuna fish, peanut butter).
Don't forget to pack a snack: a baggie of pretzels, a cookie, Jell-O pudding, or a handful of Wheat Thins.
Do pay attention to what you're drinking. Water and milk are good. Sodas and high-sugar fruit juices are not.
Don't discard your thermos. Bring hot soup or chili to school with you during cold winter months so your brain doesn't freeze.
Do dip in! Put some ranch dressing, honey mustard, or salsa into a Tupperware container and zip some baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery sticks, and broccoli florets into a Ziploc bag to add crunch to your lunch.
Don't leave out your favorite tastes. If you love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, just substitute the white bread with wheat bread ? it's better for you.
Do make a fruit salad. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, and raspberries (all full of fiber) are the best choices for boosting brainpower.
Don't go to the vending machine when you finish eating. If you feel like you must have a snack, wait at least 20 minutes. That's how long it takes for your stomach to realize it's full. And if you go into a study session or test with a too-full stomach, you probably won't be able to concentrate.
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