Food Prepping For Exam Week And Exam Snacks

So after this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, my life is going to change. I’ll either be the girl who everyone is expecting me to be…the one that whines before exams, tells everyone a million times that she’s scared to death and then passes with flying colors anyways. Or, I’ll be the girl that surprises everybody and has her worst fears come true: to fail those horrifying three tests, four hours a piece.

Yes, my life is going to change. I’ll either succeed, or I’ll fail, and the rest of this year depends on it. If I pass, I’ll start teaching in September, if I fail…I’ll start teaching next September.

When put that way, it really doesn’t sound too bad, does it. Yeah. I didn’t come up with that myself…my smart-ass boyfriend told me that as I was freaking out this afternoon.

Which brings me to my point: Eventhough it feels as if my life depends on passing these three tests, it really doesn’t. And for right now, that takes off some of the pressure. Let’s talk again tomorrow, though. 🙂

From my exam-week experience four weeks ago, I can already tell you that food prepping is the only way I’ll be eating well this week. I no longer keep any fresh food at my apartment in Würzburg, as I am rarely there anymore. When I took the first round of my exams in February, I brought some fruit with me from home, and figured I’d enjoy cooking as a balance to taking exams. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. I was just wiped out after each test, and lay around my apartment in the afternoons, trying to cram some more for the following test. Food was necessary, of course, but I just didn’t do a very good job at preparing it, so I ended up eating a whole lot of crap.

So, this week, I am going to be smarter. I have it all planned out, and will prep all the necessary parts, so that all I need to do after my tests is throw something (healthy) in the microwave.

Exhibit A: Bought (I know, shocker, but if you can’t make it fresh, this is the next best thing) Basil Pesto And Whole-Spelt Spaghetti Plus Carrot Spirals

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All you need to do is run your carrot through a spiral cutter, zip it up in a zip-lock, and that’s it: you’ll be prepared with a quick and easy lunch, filled with veggies (carrot, basil) and fibre, filling you up healthily even though this is “fast food”. You could precook the spaghetti if you’re really desperate, but I trust I’ll be able to heat up some water even if I have spent four hours writing.

Update: This is what it looked like when I finished making my carrot-spirals pasta mix. I added some grana pardano, olives, chopped green onions, and stuffed my face after my tests.

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Exhibit B: Strawberry-Banana-Soymilk Smoothies

I have been feeding ( 🙂 ) on smoothies for breakfast as the weather has been getting better, and as I really have trouble eating at 6.30 am, especially when I’m nervous, I figure that a smoothie is the way to go before my tests, each of which starts at 8 am. I prepared double the amount of my normal smoothie this morning and poured it into a glass jar, sealed it immediately and refrigerated it. It kept well overnight, I just have to give it a little shake in the morning.

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This smoothie is made up of 1/2 a frozen banana, 5 strawberries, and 1-2 cups of soy milk (depending on how liquid you like your smoothies).

Exhibit C: Paper-Thin Crêpes

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Check out this recipe for my healthy paper-thin crêpe rolls. I like preparing a batch of these at the beginning of the week, so that I can use them for a quick and easy lunch. I have some smoked salmon in the fridge as well, so I am good to go for some salmon-rolls:

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(This picture is from instagram account. Come check it out if you haven’t yet: @hitbycoconuts)

So, that should be more than enough (with some fresh fruits and veggies) to fuel me throughout the week.

As for fuelling me during the exams themselves, I want to make it very clear that I am not a believer of using dextrose/glucose to keep myself focussed. There are many who never go into a test without it, I know, but I feel like after a short high, the only way to keep your mind up and running after snacking on glucose is to keep eating glucose, otherwise you’re heading for a big sugar crash.

I believe in the following snacks during exams (eventhough I have to admitt I rarely feel hungry throughout, I tend to eat snacks straight after or towards the end of test, prior to proof-reading what I’ve written…before that, I rarely feel hungry or depleted. I guess I have a pretty good adrenaline-system going…):

Snack A: Bananas

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Unless you dislike bananas per say, these babies are the absolute best thing to take to an exam. They are filling, sweet, and contain loads of minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium and potassium and Vitamin B! The most valuable part about eating bananas is that they maintain your bloodsugar levels, therefore NOT resulting in a sugar crash. If I pass these exams and do end up being a teacher, I may introduce a “no dextrose – eat bananas”-policy for tests and change the world. Yes, that’s definitely happening.

Snack 2: Special Exam Trail Mix

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There are lots of trail mixes out there, but I’ve found this one to be one of the best (especially since I feel it’s a bit more innovative than your typical store-bought nut-raisin-mix). I am loving soft dried apricots lately, and my boyfriend just bought me some dried goji berries, which are an absolute super food: Goji berries don’t taste more spectacular than other dried berries, in my opinion, but they are an extremely good source of iron (needed to carry oxygen through your body), zinc (needed to regulate stress levels) and have loads of other benefits which would take much too long to list here. Add some cashews to the mix, for some subtle nut crunch, and, finally, some 85% chocolate, which has been said to improve brain function due to the highly concentrated cocoa.

And, well, you know, chocolate’s always great. Let’s not pretend we need health reasons to eat it.

For this particular mix, I used 1/8 cup dried goji berries, 1/2 cup soft dried apricots (I prefer the soft ones, but you could use normal dried ones), 1/3 cup cashews, and 50g 85% dark cholate. It amounted to about 1 1/2 cups of trail mix…and I had to resist not to eat the whole thing as I am writing this post.

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Snack 3: Berry-Infused Currant Ice Tea

I personally like drinking plain water during exams (and I usually try not to drink too much during a 4 hour exam, as I don’t want to have to be accompanied to the bathroom more than once), but if you’re not a big water-drinker, I’d suggest making some tea (I like fruittea for extra flavor, like currant tea) the night before and allowing it to cool. Infuse with some berries, and you’re good to go with a flavorful drink loaded with antioxidants, keeping you alert and awake throughout the test!

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This picture was obviously not taken during a test – no phones allowed!IMG_1392

Okay, that’s it for my exam snacking and prepping wisdom. I hope I’ve been able to help some of you, and am looking forward to blogging AFTER my tests. My life-altering tests. 🙂

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