Exam comfort food
These choices are a happy medium between the extremes of steamed kale and sweets
Parents and children often have a difference of opinion on what to eat during exam times. Last week, I talked about brain food and nutrition but I am constantly reminded by my daughters that we all need balance and there is always room for comfort food. This week I have asked my daughter, Ellen – who has done her Leaving Cert twice and is a big promoter of comfort food – to share her views with you.
“My mother wrote last week that nutrition is important for exams, that mid- Leaving Cert, students should cling desperately to brain foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep things healthily moving along as they sludge through exams. She’ll also tell you that adequate hydration is the difference between a clear head for English Paper 1 and a frenzied attempt at trying to spell “onomatopoeia”. I can verify that, scientifically, she’s dead on. I can’t negate those facts. “But let’s talk emotions. “The Leaving Cert is one of the strangest situations you’ll ever find yourself in, and while it is important to adequately nurture the body, the soul, now more than ever, needs intense nurturing, too. I’d recommend doing that with frequent walks and food ( and I’m not talking pumpkin seeds).
“For the next two to three weeks, sixth- year students try to earn points in order to access their future. If that saddens your soul a little bit, I know your strife, for it was once mine too. When I did my Leaving Cert, my year group survived on bags of raspberry bonbons, and only a cheeky stuck- out blue tongue in the midst of a physics paper lifted us out of our study ruts for a few brief seconds.
“I can’t possibly recommend surviving off the sweet counter for the exams; however, I can’t be a total advocate of steamed kale, either.
“Thankfully Mother and I, being constant compromisers, have found a sweet spot. It lies in the middle of the spectrum between confectionary and pak choi. and that place is comfort food. We’ve discovered several things that blend the desirable with the nutritious. Find the foods that bring some brief reprieve from the monotony and hold them dear. If they have something healthy in them, that’s just a happy coincidence. These are challenging weeks, and students need to be good to themselves.”