So you’ve memorized the special properties of an isosceles triangle and you can use “deleterious” in your sleep. But getting yourself ready for the SAT involves more than reading the three or four prep books you bought at Barnes & Noble. What you nosh on while studying, on the morning of, and during the SAT can have a huge impact on your score.
Usually, focusing on “excitement-challenged” topics like subject-verb agreement and table analysis can make you want to reach for the Ben and Jerry’s. Anything to spice your study session up, right? Well put down that spoon, sista. This is the time for balanced snacks, which, unlike sugary noms, will keep you energized and on-task. Eggs with avocado on whole-grain toast is an excellent choice, as it will provide you with the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Another macronutrient trifecta is oatmeal with fruit and a nut butter drizzled on top. My favorite combo is berries and dark chocolate hazelnut butter, because it tastes like pb&j in a bowl.
2. After studying.
Now it’s time to reward yourself! That bowl of half-baked ice cream is officially back on the table. If you still want to be a little healthy, eat Greek yogurt-dipped almonds or Goji Berries covered in dark chocolate. These nutrient-rich foods will satisfy your sweet cravings while dosing you with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins — just to name a few benefits. No matter how you indulge, thinking of the delicious dessert you’ll dive into once you’ve finished working can be a powerful motivator.
3. The morning of.
It’s no secret caffeine can make you feel more awake and pumped up, which is why you may be tempted to guzzle a Venti from Starbucks before you take the SAT’s. However, this will backfire, making you jittery and less focused than you’d otherwise be. Stick to your normal routine. If you usually drink coffee, have your regular amount; if you usually don’t, keep abstaining. Now’s not the occasion to weird your body or brain out.
For breakfast, it’s again important to skip sugary options, like muffins or waffles, in favor of full meals. An omelette, cooked with olive oil and veggies, is tasty and filling. If you’re not feeling like a savory meal, try a sweet potato topped with granola and peanut butter.
4. Right before.
A study conducted by St. Lawrence University has found that chewing gum right before a test stimulates mental blood flow, which can help your memory. Worth a try!
There are three five-minute breaks, so pack three snacks. You may not eat them all, but there’s nothing worse than trying to bubble in answers while your stomach is growling. Small, portable bites that can be eaten quickly are ideal, for obvious reasons. On your way to the testing center, you can stop by the grocery store and buy a Sabra pretzel and hummus pack, a nutrient bar, fresh fruit, baby carrots, or a bottled smoothie. Or prepare snacks from home, like hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, and sliced veggies.
Making the wrong choices about nutrition can have a deleterious effect on your SAT results (see what I did there?) Fortunately, with a little foresight, you’ll be on your way towards that 2400. Good luck and bon appetit!