We have talked on the blog before about how important food is during the exam week. You don’t want a nutrient deficient lunch or a sugar crash to prevent you from focusing and finishing the afternoon portion of the exam (click here for some recommendations of what to eat during bar exam week)!
As everyone is ramping up the studying, though, I would like to extend this discussion to how you need to eat while studying for the exam. Sure, perhaps all you are craving is pizza and brownies … but is this really the best idea?
What you eat can either help or hurt your anxiety.
If we only lived in a world all of our favorite foods made us feel great. But for many of us, that is just not the case (for example, I love bread in a very serious way. Bread makes me feel sick. So I don’t eat bread anymore — but I still love it!). If you are struggling with anxiety relating to the bar exam, is that hotdog going to make you feel better? Well, perhaps not. Turns out there are actually foods that can help and hurt our anxiety (and here is a second list to check out). Bummer, no? You actually need to eat healthy foods to better your emotional health.
The right foods can actually help you focus.
Many foods can help you focus and perform at your best (here is a list to get you started). Notice what is not on these lists? Most of our favorite things (except dark chocolate, man do I love dark chocolate). But it is important to note that these healthy nutrient dense foods can help your brain work better. They can also help you study smarter and be more efficient. And who doesn’t want that as part of your bar prep.
The right foods can help you sleep.
Many bar studiers complain about being too tired during bar prep or having trouble sleeping. Do you know that what you put into your body can influence sleep patterns? That there are actually foods that can help you sleep?
Don’t forget to eat.
One thing that many bar studiers do (especially those working while studying) is that they forget to eat. They grab a coffee instead of food and just spend all their time at their desk. Again, listen to yourself. Do you feel good? Do you feel fueled? If not, you may want to set aside time to find some heathy food to eat. If you are unable to focus because your blood sugar is all wacky and you are starving, you aren’t getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to your study time. And who wants to waste study time?
When it all comes down to it listen to your body (unless all your body wants is crappy food).
Turns out food cravings really have little to do with what we actually want. In fact, they can make us feel worse. But if you are thoughtful during your study period, you may find that you can tell that you feel better or worse based on what you eat. Perhaps that burrito you had for lunch put you in a food coma — probably not the best thing to have for lunch on a regular basis. Or the spicy Indian food you had for dinner kept you up late at night. Perhaps the bar isn’t the best time to eat at your favorite Indian place. Your body will tell you what it likes and doesn’t like if you just listen.
And the bar prep period is a great time to experiment with what to eat before exam day! Test out different breakfasts, lunches and dinners that make you feel energized and full so you won’t be sitting in the exam hungry and tired.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do during your bar preparation. Don’t ignore the fuel you put into your body — it could actually be the difference between passing and failing. Remember, I am not a nutritionist or any kind of medical professional, so if you are worried about what you are eating or how you feel, talk to an expert about it! You may be glad you did.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
- Optimal Nutrition for Bar Exam Success
- Bar Study Tip: Food is Fuel
- Taking Care of Yourself is a Critical Part of Your Bar Exam Preparation
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