An LSAT coaching student of mine emailed me:
“Any tips on what to eat for breakfast the morning of the LSAT? I know you say to have a big breakfast, but what? And what do you suggest for the break and to drink?”
At least one of the items pictured above is not part of a healthy LSAT breakfast.
If you guessed beer, you’re on your way to a top LSAT score. Congrats!
(McDonald’s probably isn’t part of any healthy breakfast, but there’s a reason I didn’t go to medical school.)
More about food in a bit, but first, coffee and cigarettes (breakfast of champions?).
Should you drink coffee or have cigarettes in the morning before the exam?
Answer: Do whatever you normally do. If you normally have coffee or cigarettes in the morning, don’t try to go cold turkey now or you’ll almost certainly find yourself with a pounding headache.
I don’t know why you’d suddenly take up smoking, but now’s not the time to start (if there ever was). Coffee will probably empty your intestines in the middle of the exam if you haven’t had it in a while, so it’s probably not a good idea for folks new to it.
You want to be fully alert, so a pre-test wake and bake isn’t a good idea. What you do after the test is up to you (assuming it’s for medicinal purposes, of course)
Oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or cranberries is probably about as healthy as it gets, while mild enough that it shouldn’t give you any stomach issues. Eat it well before the exam starts so that you’ll have time to go to the bathroom (oatmeal has lots of fiber).
Perhaps I misspoke – yogurt and granola might top oatmeal and fruit for “healthiest breakfast of the year.” Again, it’s mild and has carbs, but unlike oatmeal, yogurt has lots of protein as well. (Perhaps the nutritionists can chime in with their recommendations.)
Eggs have a lot of protein. However, depending upon how you cook them, you might also end up with lots of fat. Fat can make you sleepy. For this reason, lay off the butter and oil. Consider eating them hard-boiled, perhaps with a little salt for flavor. Alternatively, you can go the Rocky route and drink them raw, but don’t blame me if you get salmonella.
Pancakes, waffles, muffins, bagels, cold cereal, etc. are also all good, just make sure you have also some protein.
Cold (or warm) pizza is probably good too (cheese has protein), but this is coming from a guy who sometimes eats leftover burritos for breakfast, so you may not want to listen to me on this one.
The bottom line is that you’ll want to eat some carbs to give you energy, and some protein to improve your mental performance.
(This site appears to have some simple, yet comprehensive, nutrition advice. This link on it is also good.)
LSAT Snacks For During The Break:
Here are some more practical alternatives that you can eat during the 10-minute intermission:
Granola bars: quick to unwrap, easy to eat, sugar
Bananas: quick to peel, easy to eat, sugar
Water: reduces thirst
Juice: reduces thirst, sugar
Coffee will likely be cold by now, but I suppose it’s ok if you don’t care about that sort of thing.
With all beverages, don’t drink too much in order to avoid bathroom breaks. If you don’t check in before the break is over, your test session may be terminated and you’ll have to register again. Don’t worry, you are allowed to bring a water bottle.
Discuss the best breakfast foods and snacks in the comments. I’m sure that most of you know more about nutrition than I do. If you know something, please comment!