As we finish up the first semester of the school year and head into finals, it is important to avoid falling into habits that may be detrimental to our health and grades. From working late nights to waking up early mornings, many of us turn to literal “fast foods” to save time. While they may be convenient and even delicious, fast foods can hurt our health and be costly in the long run. “A lot of my students say that they don’t feel good when they eat junk food, they have stomach aches, and they don’t have too much energy. When they eat fast food, they eat a lot of sugar, and they crash after having coffee with four sugars,” said Ms. Leah Stern, a Nutritional Science teacher at Bronx Science for the past nine years.
So, if not fast foods, what then should we eat? Superfoods, or foods with the ability to affect our mood, memory, and concentration, are the way to go. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers, superfoods indefinitely boost diets, overall health, and as a plus, grades as well. Here are some superfoods that won’t swallow too much of your time:
Blueberries: Blueberries are plentiful in antioxidants which help increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This can increase concentration for up to five hours! As flu season approaches, eat more blueberries, as they help fend against sickness.
Eggs: Eggs have six grams of protein each and a low calorie count, depending on size. They also improve overall heart health using their supply of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocados: Avocados also accelerate blood flow throughout the body to help with organ function as well as focus. Their fiber content helps to decrease hunger, making them a good part of a light meal or snack.
Leafy green vegetables: These superfoods contain antioxidants, which boost and protect brain power with both Vitamin B and folic acid. The greener the vegetable, the better it is for health.
Apples: An apple a day really does keep the doctor away; apples have plenty of fiber and few calories, depending on apple size. They’ve been known to reduce the risk of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Dark chocolate: While satisfying your sweet tooth, dark chocolate also helps to destress and to boost good moods.
Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt can satisfy hunger, improve digestion, and help fend against attacks on the immune system. It can also substitute for other foods, like sour cream and cream cheese as well. (Tip: add some of the other superfoods, like dark chocolate, blueberries, or apples, as toppings to eat with the yogurt!)
“It’s easier to go out to the food trucks when you’re free. What I do is to bring my own lunch, and I pack it the night before, carrying some fruit with me. Fruits are easy to pack, especially oranges and apples,” said Stern. Remember that healthy diets make for healthy students and grades, so make smarter decisions the next time that you reach for a snack.