Take a low calorie, high-energy diet of fruit, vegetables, salads, plenty of water. And ensure good sleep.

The final lap is on. Students of class X and XII are busy preparing for their Board examinations.

As the going gets tough, weekends and study holidays are mostly spent munching away oily snacks and biscuits with books in hand, remaining awake late into the night.

As the examination fever gets high, many just go for a mug of lassi instead of a breakfast.

Here's some good counsel from dieticians, doctors and teachers:

While preparing for examination or during examination days, take a low calorie, high energy diet of fruit, vegetables, salads, plenty of water. And ensure good sleep.

Sheela Rajendra, correspondent, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan group of schools, says, students should go for fresh fruits and nuts and drink plenty of water. "When examinations approach, we tell them not to feel guilty about six - eight hours of sleep." When the examination hype goes up "we talk to the students about health issues involved."

Meena Suresh, senior principal, Kavi Bharathi Vidyalaya, says that in the lower classes, the teacher has lunch along with the students and they are expected to bring a fresh vegetable or fruit every day. "We also prepare salads in school, just to promote the habit of eating right," she says. Student in Class X must get a signature in the diary from their parents marking the time they sleep and eat, she says. Chandra Venkatasubramanian, Reader, Department of Home Science, Queen Mary's College, says it is important that no child misses breakfast. A study reveals that children who do not have their breakfast show fatigue, lethargy and disinterest towards sports and studies. A child that has had a light breakfast is alert, active, interacts well with people, has a high IQ and a better cognitive response skill.

Children who feel terribly hungry when they get back home after school can try the nutritious sundal, vegetable cutlets, custards with fruits, milkshake with fruits and eggs.

During stressful times, students should be given plenty of protein and calcium.Vitamin C with its anti-oxidant properties helps to absorb calcium for good skin and alertness.

Dr. Lalitha Janakiraman, Paediatrician, CHILDS Trust Hospital, says that during study holidays, students have the habit of munching chips, murukku, mixture or chocolates. They can substitute that with plenty of fruits, fresh vegetables, grated carrots and cucumbers.

"It is better to avoid eating out during exam time and particularly ice creams, unless it is a standard brand," she says. Almonds are a good source of energy, besides sprouted beans and boiled channa. Coffee, tea and aerated drinks can be avoided. Lack of sleep can kill a person than lack of food, she says, emphasising the need for fresh air and brisk walking.