Southern Illinois University Carbondale

SIU Logo

Eating Under Stress

College can be a lot of fun! The drawback is the load of stress that comes with it. Stress can wear you out and has been linked to weight gain. Finals week is coming up and everyone is thinking about a thousand things at once. That being said, it is still important to nourish your body properly, especially your brain. Remember that your brain needs fuel, water, and electrolytes to keep going strong! Eating well and staying hydrated might even help you deal with stress in a more manageable way. Here are some tips to keep you and your brain going strong through finals week.

Healthful Eating: Trying to dig through all those lofty health claims in the media can be difficult. In order to simplify eating a healthy diet, aim for a balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Focus on eating carbs in their most natural state, unsaturated fats, and lean sources of protein to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake.

Ace Those Finals: Foods high in antioxidants are great for brain function! Try to eat foods rich in antioxidants like, berries, walnuts, red beans, and artichokes. Those exams won’t know what hit them ?

Exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and calm your mind. Whether you like to run, play sports or do yoga, it is important to get your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times per week. Activity can help you channel your stress away from the daily mundane and can help you focus when it comes time to study.

Hydration: Water and electrolytes support a healthy brain and body. Proper hydration helps you digest your food and increases your feeling of satiety. So slow down when eating meals and drink plenty of water during meals and throughout the day.

If you are someone who likes to eat to improve your mood when you are stressed, keep these tips in mind. Just going for a moderately paced walk can significantly improve your mood and help you tackle your stress in a more healthful way. No matter your stress level or eating habits, these tips are good to use every day to help you be your best.

Stay Stress-Free Salukis

Your University Housing Nutrition Team,
University Residence Hall Dining

Michele Stoeppelman
Dietetics Graduate Assistant

Stephanie Nehrt
Undergraduate Nutrition Intern