ALMOST six in 10 parents claim to feel 'helpless' in the lead-up to the stressful exam period for senior secondary school students, according to a new survey.
Whilst parents have little, if any, control over their kids' stress levels and study habits, the survey did reveal one main area where they could realistically contribute - meal times.
According to the survey commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia, 55% agreed that their teens make unhealthy eating choices when stressed and when prompted, an overwhelming 86% agreed that they could in fact help their children by making sure they are eating well.
Dietitian, Geraldine Georgeou, said: "What our teenagers need right now is nutrient-rich brain fuel - foods which will help them feel energised, sharp and focused during exam time".
"Lean meat, such as beef and lamb, is the best source of iron for Australians, and the ultimate source of iron for tired and stressed out teenagers studying for their final exams".
While the report revealed parents are generally aware of the link between iron-rich foods and brain function, it also highlighted the lack of understanding on what actually constitutes an iron rich meal.
"I was shocked to hear that nearly half of all parents (47%) wrongly believe that one cup of spinach contains more iron than 100 grams of steak,'' Ms Georgeou said.
"You would need to eat five cups of spinach to get the same amount of iron".
"The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend 3 to 4 serves of red meat such as beef and lamb every week.
Parents during this exam period need to ensure they've done their homework so that they're correctly refueling their teenagers".
Iron is not only important for brain function, it's also contributes to a healthy immune system. Whilst many foods contain iron, not all are created equal.
100 grams of red meat, such as beef and lamb provides the same amount of iron as:
- Five cups of spinach
- 342g of tofu ( approx 2 x packets)
- 948g of chicken breast (approx 3 x breasts)
- 364g canned tuna (approx 4 x small cans)