It’s a funny old time, the revision season. Feeling somewhat helpless becomes a standard state, particularly if you’ve got kids in Year 11 or in sixth form. Here Lisette, from our Let’s Get Cooking team, explains that in her experience the one thing we can do is feed ‘em well.
I know we say it all the time, but it’s worth repeating: research proves that when kids eat better, they do better. They’re more focused on learning after a good meal, while some smaller studies we’ve done found pupils got better results in schools offering healthy breakfasts compared to those that weren’t.
You don’t need science to tell you that you’re in better shape to revise when you’re keeping your energy levels up with good food; that much is common sense. We all know how grotty we feel if we don’t get lunch til late afternoon because a meeting’s run over.
But health benefits aside, there’s also something about how a good meal can give kids such a great break from the books. Sitting down with you to talk about something completely different over a tasty dish can be the tonic they need for a final push.
So if ever there was a time to be thinking about what’s in your cupboards and putting a bit of extra thought into meals that will make your kids feel good, it’s now. Italian Chicken Pasta Salad is one of my family favourites – it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until needed. Any leftovers can be used for refuelling stops or lunch the following day. Oaty Salmon Fishcakes can also be made ahead of time, chilled and then cooked when required.
Here are my tips:
It’s important to try and have a routine as this can avoid a sense of panic and that everything revolves around exams and revision. Building proper mealtimes into this routine helps as they can act as markers for breaks. This said, it’s also useful if there’s some flexibility around mealtimes – after all, you don’t want to interrupt someone when they are on a roll!
Stopping for a snack can be a tempting distraction from the task in hand, especially when the going gets tough and in my experience they will grab whatever is to hand. Keep a supply of chopped veg (maybe with a Cheese and Chive Dip) and prepared fruit for grab ‘n’ go snacking.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep yourself well fueled too – as a parent it’s easy to overlook your own well-being when you’re worrying about your offspring!
So, don’t under estimate the power of good food over the next month or so. Those home cooked meals provide welcome breaks, motivation and fuel – and can help you feel anything but helpless.