If there’s an ideal scenario for ordering takeaway in, then studying for exams might be it! When it comes to putting our heads down to tackle assignments and revision notes, going out to buy groceries and cooking at home can often feel like a monumental task, which is why online food delivery apps like Menulog can be super convenient.
You may also be all too familiar with the study-time binge on junk while stressed. Anxiety around study periods can have a negative impact on nutrient intake, which in turn can affect your concentration and mood.
While there’s no superfood to cure stress and anxiety, there is a link between certain foods that could improve mood and brain health so you can maximise your study sessions! Here are the best foods to eat while studying and plenty of brain-boosting takeaway options to fit the bill.
What’s the link between food, mood and brain function?
Diet patterns that are plant-based are high in antioxidants, fibre and healthy fats and have been consistently linked with improved health including mood and brain function. Research has shown that B vitamin intake may help to improve feelings of stress and conveniently, many plant-based foods are also good sources of B vitamins, including wholegrains, nuts and seeds, fresh and dried fruits and green leafy vegetables.
Choosing takeaway meals with plenty of plants will help you to boost your micronutrient intake during exams and support your mood and brain function! Another brain booster to include during exams is oily fish, such as salmon and trout, as these are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been linked with improved brain function, and also help the body to circulate serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that help to boost mood and reduce anxiety.
Worried about a tight student budget? Plant-based diets are often cheaper than traditional Western-style diets. A study looking into the link between food and depression found that the study participants baseline diet was more expensive than the trial diet which was a mostly plant-based diet based on Mediterranean eating patterns. So while you study, choose plant-based meals that will not only save you money but also boost your study capacity!
How to stay on top of your studies with takeaway meals
1. Look for a meal that has at least 3 vegetables in the description
Exam time is no time to sleep on your vegetable intake! We know vegetables are a key part of the diet to support overall health, but also contain micronutrients linked with brain health. Vegetables are also a good source of fibre to help fill you up. Nothing worse than still feeling hungry after your takeaway meal! If there aren’t meals with a lot of veggies available, you can also order extra side salads or steamed vegetables to help boost your intake.
2. Avoid the deep-fried menu options
Deep-fried menu items are higher in saturated fats and kilojoules (energy) so it may leave you feeling more sluggish and affect your concentration. It’s easy for the kilojoules to add up during study periods if you are relying on takeaway and ordering energy-dense options such as deep-fried foods. Instead, opt for grilled, steamed or stir-fried foods instead!
3. Eat your food from a plate or bowl instead of the takeaway container
When your meal arrives, tip it out onto a plate or in a bowl first rather than eating out of the container! We tend to eat with our eyes first, so it can be very easy to overeat when eating straight from the container as it can often be deceiving how much food is packed into the container.
Rather than feeling overly full and sluggish after your meal, eating from a plate will help you watch portion sizes and feel energised after your takeaway meal so you can continue with your study!
Here are the best brain fuelling takeaway options from Menulog
If you’re running short on time, look out for the below menu items on Menulog to help keep your brain fuelled. With all off-peak delivery fees slashed to $1.99, getting your food fix for breakfast, lunch or during late-night study is more affordable than ever.
Student Edge members can also score up to $15 off orders each week from Mad Mex and Sushi Hub, for the next two weeks.
Japanese cuisine is a great option to choose! While you should steer clear of deep-fried options such as tempura, instead order from the following options:
- Sashimi with a side of miso soup and seaweed salad
- Brown rice salmon sushi with a side of edamame
- Grilled chicken bento box
- Sushi Hub Tasmanian Salmon or Seafood salad boxes
Mexican cuisine in Australia is often bright and colourful, so can be a really easy way to get in your vegetables! Choose from the following options:
- Mad Mex naked burrito bowls with chicken or veggie rancheros filling
- Salad with grilled meat or vegetarian topping
Vietnamese cuisine is full of flavoursome fresh herbs and spices as well as vegetables to fill you up. Order the following options for a nutritious meal:
- Vietnamese rice paper rolls with tofu filling
- Vietnamese salad with grilled prawns/mixed seafood
- Stir-fried vegetables with grilled fish
Thai takeaway is a classic but it can be easy to over-consume energy when ordering creamy curries. Instead, opt for these tasty options:
- Steamed fish with a side of stir-fried vegetables
- Larb Gai salad
- Papaya salad
- If you want to order curry, opt for tofu as your protein source and ask for extra vegetables in the curry or order a side of vegetables instead of rice!
Italian food is a great way to follow Mediterranean inspired eating to boost your brain health! Rather than ordering a whole pizza, choose from the entrée or main meal section of the menu and add a side of salad or vegetables. We love these picks:
- Oven-baked chicken with a side of seasonal vegetables
- Homemade meatballs with ciabatta and add a side of rocket salad