Mug Shots: Healthy Fuel for Finals
You can be prepared or panicked, but finals week looms large for everyone. Not to worry, the local baristas have your order memorized, and you’ve got a stack of crisp singles prepared for the vending machine. Sugar and caffeine will get you through these cram sessions, right? Wrong! They might help keep you awake long enough to diligently memorize your notes, but chances are, if your stomach doesn’t shut you down first, your brain will be ready to crash by the time the test rolls around.
This term, don’t let the heat of finals freeze up your decision-making skills. Take the time to prepare quick and easy meals made with body- and brain-boosting foods, and you’ll be studying smarter as you power through properly fueled. Read on for a crash course:
RISE AND SHINE
You know this one by heart: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When your brain is on overdrive from sunup ’til sundown—and long after—you can’t afford to start off feeling sluggish. We have a quick omelet you can whip up in your CW by CORNINGWARE® 20 OUNCE MUG right in your dorm room, and be out the door in minutes. Easy and deliciously cheesy, this recipe is also packed full of nutritious study aids like:
SPINACH. A brain booster that’s chock-full of folic acid, which has been proven to reverse memory loss. This can logically translate into better grades.
BROCCOLI. Cruciferous vegetables—the family that also includes cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts—have been shown to have positive effects on memory retention. This veggie will help you make the most out of your study sessions.
ONION. In Eastern cultures, onions have long been revered for their ability to improve important brain functions, particularly memory and focus. But onions aren’t just good for the here and now; research has also shown they contain compounds that can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Wake up body and mind with a super-quick and tasty omelet made with protein-packed eggs and brain-boosting veggies. Plus, you’re creating a solid base for your caffeine consumption, which will make you feel a whole lot better in the long run!
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KEEP IT UP
As the day wears on, studying on an empty stomach is not only distracting, it’s unproductive. You may not have a lot of extra time to cook, but you can still make yourself a substantial meal that’ll enhance your focus. Our hearty pasta dish only takes a few minutes in your CW by CORNINGWARE® 20 OUNCE MUG in the microwave, yet it’ll keep you satisfied for hours. Why? Along with superfood spinach, you’ll also get a pick-me-up from:
WHOLE GRAIN PASTA. Refined carbs, like white bread and pasta, can make you sleepy and lethargic. Swap in a whole grain version for enhanced memory function and a quick energy boost.
CHICKPEAS. Packed full of protein to help power brain and body, they also contain folic acid, which improves your ability to recall information. Great for test day as well as study sessions.
Need fuel to power through? Our Greek-inspired pasta gives you Olympic-caliber endurance on the double! Dig into a mugful of tender whole grain macaroni mixed with a trio of nutritious titans (chickpeas, spinach and tomatoes) and topped with a sprinkle of tangy feta.
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BLUEBERRY-WALNUT BRAIN BOOST
Blueberry-walnut yogurt parfaits make a great on-the-go study snack. Simply make one in advance in your CW by CORNINGWARE® 20 OUNCE MUG, by layering the three ingredients in your mug, refrigerate and grab it on your way out the door. The mug’s handy lid lets you take it anywhere, and the vibrant colors add a little style (and energy!) to your snack. Here’s the brain-boosting lowdown:
BLUEBERRIES. Colorful berries can significantly improve brain function. They reduce the level of toxins in your bloodstream and contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that improve blood
flow to the brain, enhancing neural activity. Not a fan of blueberries? Swap in raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, gooseberries or black currants instead.
WALNUTS. A handful of nuts packs a powerful punch. Walnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids that help your brain perform at its best. They also contain iron, which provides oxygen to the brain, increasing mental alertness and improving your ability to retain information. Don’t have walnuts handy? Swap in almonds or pistachios.
STUDY-SESSION HUMMUS SNACKERS
Fill the bottom of your CW by CORNINGWARE® 20 OUNCE MUG with your favorite hummus and stand some carrots and celery vertically inside. The chickpeas in hummus bring protein and folic acid to the table, making it a great study snack. Add some of those cruciferous veggies we discussed earlier, or whole wheat pita bread, and you’ll be ready to ace any test.
- Stay hydrated. Fatigue is one of the first signs that you need water, so keep a steady supply near you at all times. (Especially if you’re downing a lot of caffeine, which is a diuretic.)
- Take breaks to make it. Studies have shown we’re most productive when we work in shorter (60- to 90-minute) bursts, then take a short time-out to renew our focus and energy.
- Get your move on. Every hour or so, get up and walk, stretch, dance or do whatever you can get your blood flowing.
Finals are a marathon, not a sprint. While you may be able to pull off prepping for a single test on caffeine and sugar alone, surviving an entire week of finals requires a more strategic snacking strategy. Between these microwavable meals and easy snacks to eat on the go, your CW by CORNINGWARE® 20 OUNCE MUG might just become the ultimate study buddy!
YOUR TURN: What strategies help get you (or your kids) make it through finals?