Examinations - Eating to Support Concentration

To a large extent concentration is affected by the last meal eaten - so breakfast is particularly important for children writing exams. They should go to school on a breakfast containing protein such as egg, tuna, sardines or chicken. Serve it on toast, potato or rice. Or they could even have leftovers from the night before.

For those who don't want that much in the morning, try a smoothie made with yoghurt, fruit and nuts (optional). Vegetarians can get the protein they need from eating rice or legumes (beans, peas, lentils,chickpeas etc) mixed with nuts or seeds.

The protein is broken down into amino acids. These in turn are used to make neurotransmitters which carry messages from one brain cell to the next, and are essential for the best levels of concentration. We must also consider blood glucose levels because if they are too high, concentration becomes impossible. Protein helps to stabilise blood glucose levels. I haven't come across many cereals that can give the same benefits. Also keep sweets to a minimum during the exams - rather give plain biltong or other suitable savoury snacks.

Plain water is also important - encourage children to drink it while writing exams.