With the exam season under way, GPs at Hemel healthcare clinic One Stop Doctors have issued 10 tips for parents to ensure their teens eat for success.
This comes after recent research by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that the dietary habits of UK teens had a negative effect on their brains and behaviour.
1. Eat at regular intervals. Regular meals keep the energy levels stable and prevent hunger from building.
2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Oats are great for energy and eggs are great for the brain, containing choline, thought to help cognitive performance and improve memory.
3. For lunch, students should eat foods with a low glycaemic index to keep them alert until their next meal. A peanut butter sandwich on brown bread is hard to beat.
4. Snack on berries, which are full of vitamin C and thought to help improve mental agility.
5. Avocados are a super-food, containing vitamin K and folate, so they help improve memory and concentration. Try them in a smoothie.
6. For dinner, a good idea for those using their brains is oily fish. Salmon is a good source of omega-3, which is great for brain function.
7. Eat foods containing iron, including red meat, cereals and spinach. Chilli is a great meal idea for teens studying. The beef and kidney beans are a good iron combination.
8. Chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa will contain flavonoids, which can improve blood flow to brain and heart.
9. Don’t forget water. Keeping hydrated is essential for energy levels and brain speed.
10. Remember to get enough sleep. Fifteen-year-olds should be getting about nine hours’ sleep a night.