The Best Foods To Eat Before A Test

Diet is important when it comes to learning. Besides knowledge, you do need actual “brain food” to keep the mind sharp, attention span up, and be cognitively flexible.

Let’s take a look at the best foods to eat before a test, so you know what to have for dinner and breakfast to get ready.

Besides eating right on the morning of, use these SAT test day tips to get your mind right before entering the testing center.

best foods to eat before a test


Fish are a great source of Omega-3s.

Omega-3 protein is great for boosting brain functionality, making you alert and concentrate more easily. However, not all fish are created equal.

The best fish to get Omega-3s from are cold-water fish. Wild Alaskan salmon is the absolute best source, and a great dinner too.

Other fish worth eating include:

    • Herring
    • Mackerel
    • Sardines
    • Trout

All of them contain Omega-3s. These fish are great to eat for a meal the night before taking a test. If you’re adventurous, you can take some sardines with you for a snack.

Complex Carbohydrates

Many diets today ignore most carbohydrates, but you should eat some carbs before a test.

Here’s why. Your brain is like an engine. It needs fuel to properly function. The main fuel it uses is sugar.

Not all sugars are equal. Simple sugar, like what’s in candy and soda, burns up fast and doesn’t provide consistent energy.

Complex carbohydrates provide more energy and are healthier than simple sugars. There are plenty of options to choose from too:

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans / Legumes
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal

Pairing some of these options together into a healthy breakfast before a test helps.

Helpful Protein

Protein is your best friend before a test.

Protein-heavy foods contribute to increased mental clarity and concentration. Eating a healthy dinner the night before, or breakfast the morning of, a test will help tremendously.

Great breakfast choices include:

  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Lean bacon / Canadian bacon
  • Sugar-free muesli

Other snack foods include:

  • Blueberries
  • Flaxseed
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dried fruits
  • Walnuts

For dinner, fish paired with any of the following vegetables help too:

  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bell peppers
  • Raw carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

There’s plenty of room for delicious yet helpful protein meals before tests.

Energy Snacks

Depending on the test, you may have time to snack during breaks.

Take advantage and bring food that keeps your energy up. Again, use complex carbohydrates.

Great choices to bring include:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Fresh fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Protein bars
  • Energy bars

Don’t bring:

  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Soda

They all contain simple sugars that will cause crashes. Remember, if you do bring snacks, make sure to only eat them during designated breaks. If you try to eat during the test, the proctor will take them away.

best foods to eat before a test


Don’t ever underestimate the importance of water.

Water is essential for a healthy body and mind. Just like the rest of your body, the brain needs consistent hydration in order to perform.

Get ahead of the curve and drink plenty of water in the morning before a test. Also, take a water bottle with you to the testing location. On a break, don’t be afraid to drink a bit.

Don’t wait until you feel overly fatigued to drink. That symptom means dehydration has kicked in. Dehydration itself can:

  • Diminish concentration
  • Cause feelings of faintness
  • Drain physical energy

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Best Foods To Eat Before A Test FAQ

What kinds of fish are good to eat and why?

Fish are a great source of Omega-3 protein, which is great for boosting brain functionality, making you alert and concentrate more easily. Great fish to eat include wild Alaskan salmon, herring, trout, mackerel and sardines.

Is it okay to eat carbohydrates before a test?

Yes, as long as they are complex carbohydrates and not simple sugars like soda and candy. Complex carbs that will help include fresh fruits, vegetables, and steel-cut oatmeal.

Which proteins should I eat before a test?

Whole-grain cereal, Eggs, Low-fat milk, Oatmeal, Lean bacon or Canadian bacon and Sugar-free muesli are all great breakfast choices with plenty of protein.

Are there any helpful snacks I can eat?

Almonds, Walnuts, Fresh Fruit, Trail mix, granola bars, protein bars, and Energy bars are great snack choices to take with you on test day.