Midterms aren’t an excuse to skip meals

The stress from midterms can sometimes cause us to prioritize our work over our health.

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Gabby Lozano

Dining Editor Gabby made some dal last week. Midterms are a stressful time for students, but meals should not be skipped. (Staff Photo by Gabby Lozano)

By Gabby Lozano, Dining Editor

We’ve all been there. It’s 9 a.m. and you have an eight-page paper due in the afternoon. You haven’t started yet, but it’s okay. The time crunch gives you the rush of adrenaline needed to complete the assignment. Bring it on. 

3:30 p.m. rolls around and you finish the essay. Sure, there are a couple typos and some run-on sentences, but you don’t care — you finished the darn thing. You turn it in and log onto Zoom for your online class, except, instead of listening to the lecture you’re preoccupied with your growling stomach. It’s almost 4 p.m. now, and you realize you haven’t eaten anything all day. Uh-oh.

The scenario described above is one that is too often experienced by students. It’s midterm season and many of us are overwhelmed with upcoming exams and essays that make up a significant portion of our grades. And if you’re like me and thinking about applying to grad school, grades are vital to your future.

But so is our health.

Skipping a meal to write an essay or study for an exam can cause your blood sugar levels to decrease, clogging our ability to think clearly. Our brains rely on glucose, a type of simple sugar found in carbohydrates, to function. One study found that students who skipped breakfast received lower scores on their exams than those who did not. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the waves of stress and anxiety brought about by midterms. I can certainly relate. As midterms end, I can feel my mental health deteriorating, knowing that I have to jump back into readings soon.

Instead of powering through study sessions, why not prioritize our health by taking time to eat? At the end of the day, good grades or bad, we’re stuck with our bodies, so we might as well take care of them the best that we can. 

I’d like to make a disclaimer: I understand that the action of skipping meals is sometimes made out of necessity due to financial reasons. That being said, I’m linking an NYU webpage that contains resources to help students experiencing food insecurity.

I’m not going to stand up here on my soapbox without offering you a solution. I’ve listed some of my favorite recipes to make as a semi-broke college student during exams. If cooking isn’t your thing, well, I’ve got one word for you: Mamoun’s. I know it’s simple, but a warm falafel sandwich always hits the spot when you’re low on time and money.

  1. Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast was Ron Swanson’s favorite meal of the day for a reason. When you’re in a time crunch and need a quick, nourishing meal, you can never go wrong with a bowl of cereal, oatmeal or scrambled eggs.

2. Fried Rice

Eggs, rice and soy sauce. Add leftover protein or vegetables if you want, but this meal is delicious as is.

3. Dal

Who knew such a comforting dish and popular restaurant menu item could be made in 30 minutes?

4. Quesadilla

Cheese and tortilla. Tortilla and cheese. Add vegetables and a protein source if you want, but you can never go wrong with a quesadilla.

5. Mujadara 

This Lebanese dish only requires rice, lentils and onions. I like to add greek yogurt for extra protein but you can’t go wrong with making this meal, especially if you’re low on time.

6. Ramen

No college food list is complete without the infamous instant ramen. Sure, it’s not the healthiest, but eating something is better than nothing. 

Whatever your situation is, remember that you are more than a student: you’re a human being. Take the time to nourish yourself.

Email Gabby Lozano at [email protected]