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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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)
Blitz together avocado, lemon juice, coriander and Greek yoghurt
Add the onions and salt.
Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit and lime drizzle
100g strawberries, halved
100g mango chunks
100g melon chunks
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into chunks
100g pineapple chunks
For the drizzle (everything mixed together)
4 passion fruit, halved and seeds removed
1 tsp coconut palm sugar / honey / maple syrup
Sliver the fruits onto wooden skewers and pop into the freezer
Serve with the drizzle
Instant frozen berry yoghurt
250g frozen mixed berry
250g greek yoghurt
1 TBSP honey or agave syrup
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.