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22/10/2017

Boost Your Brain!

Last week we mentioned the importance of healthy food choices in this stressful exam period. Smart snacking can enhance studying and help you retain more information. As grown-ups, we are well aware of the difference in energy levels after eating pizza when compared to a grilled piece of fish.

In order for the brain to focus for longer periods of time you have to look at what fuels the brain to help with concentration for longer periods of time.

Fruits like blueberries are high in antioxidants. Bananas are high in protein which stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Darker vegetables have a higher concentration of nutrients. Snacks that are high in magnesium, copper and iron, help maintain a healthy nervous system and help you feel less tired. Hazelnuts and cashews are a great source of these minerals. Zinc and omega 3 contribute to the normal cognitive function and can be found in cashews, pumpkin seeds and linseeds. Omega 3 is also found in avocados and oily fish.

So, as promised last week, here are a few recipes to keep your brain cells firing:

Salmon Goujons – serves 4

Ingredients

4 slices gluten free bread

1 tsp paprika

Milled black pepper

½ cup mayonnaise or egg whites

1 TBSP lemon juice

400g salmon fillet, sliced into bite size strips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Dry out the bread slices in the oven. Pulse in a blender along with paprika and seasoning

Transfer to a shallow bowl or plate.

Stir the mayonnaise and lemon together.

Brush the fish strips, one at a time, with the mayo mixture and then dip into the breadcrumbs

Place on a baking tray and lightly coat with coconut oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes until cooked through.

Served with steamed broccoli, carrot sticks and crisp green side salad.

Strips of chicken fillet are also perfect for this recipe.

Broccoli salad with pumpkin seeds and cashews

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli, florets removed

Handful pumpkin seeds and cashews

Handful of fresh nuts, roughly torn

Handful dill, roughly torn

5 – 6 radishes, sliced

Lemon infused olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Method

Cook the broccoli florets in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Refresh in ice cold water to retain their colour.

Make the dressing with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

Tumble the broccoli into a bowl and sprinkle over the sunflower seeds, mint, dill and radish

Toss in the dressing

Here are some healthy snacks for between meals when moods are low. They’re quick to prepare and will give kids a boost. These snacks are a good way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Cooking with your children is a lovely bonding experience and will also give them the confidence to be self-sufficient, creative cooks when they get older.

Pita pocket

Stuff pita (gluten free if necessary) with chicken breast, cucumber and sweet rosa tomatoes.

Red pepper humus paired with crunchy courgette, carrot and cucumber batons is a simple quick snack that is dairy and gluten free. These vegetable batons can also be served with guacamole.

Red pepper humus

Ingredients

400g can chickpeas, drained

1 garlic clove

1 large roasted red pepper

1 TBSP tahini paste

Juice of ½ lemon

4 walnuts halved and chopped

Method

Blitz together chickpeas, garlic, pepper, tahini and lemon juice to make a thick puree.

Stir in walnuts

Pack into containers, if you like, and serve with veggie sticks.

Guacamole

Ingredients

2 Ripe avocados

½ tsp salt

1 TBSP lemon juice

2 TBSP greek yoghurt

2 TBSP minced red onion or sliced green onion

2 TBSP chopped coriander (optional)

Method

Blitz together avocado, lemon juice, coriander and Greek yoghurt

Add the onions and salt.

Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit and lime drizzle

Ingredients

100g strawberries, halved

8 grapes

100g mango chunks

100g melon chunks

2 kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into chunks

100g pineapple chunks

For the drizzle (everything mixed together)

Ingredients

4 passion fruit, halved and seeds removed

1 tsp coconut palm sugar / honey / maple syrup

Method

Sliver the fruits onto wooden skewers and pop into the freezer

Serve with the drizzle

Instant frozen berry yoghurt

Ingredients

250g frozen mixed berry

250g greek yoghurt

1 TBSP honey or agave syrup

Method

Blend berries, yoghurt and honey or agave syrup. Scoop into bowls and serve

Remember that consuming the correct amount of brain food cannot simply commence the night before. You should be eating these nutrient dense brain foods long before the night of an exam.

Good Luck and all the best for the upcoming month.

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