Brain food – great food, good sleep and fitness all play their part in getting the family through the marathon that is the summer exam season! We have several blogs about family fitness and our last blog was about beating exam stress. (We also have a popular online shop full of authentic and beautiful crystals and fossils) Here’s a store cupboard shopping list for great brain food!
Brain food for exams – Lay up a store in the snack cupboard!
The brain uses way more calories than the body, so assume they are training for a marathon. All good foods for you too, in moderation. Great brain food to have in:
1. Fish: Tins of oily fish and/or fresh fish, particularly salmon and mackerel – both are a good source of Omega oils, which the brain needs for smooth functioning.
2. Seeds: the vegetarian answer to fish. Great for snacking eg pumpkin, sunflower seeds etc. They are a great source of Omegas. As are nuts. Omega Oils = Brain Food
3. Eggs: also a source of Omega oil, lots of protein and good things. Up to 1 or 2 when they are working. And can always be served up as pancakes – they never go cold!
4. Butter, wholemeal bread and toast: good for long-release energy. A moderate amount of honey or jam can work but avoid over-dosing on sugar.
5. Avocados: are high in fats that are great brain food. Half to one a day if they are burning it up. Buy the cheap ones and mash with olive oil, lemon juice or mayo in a wholemeal wrap or on toast. Tomatoes, chillis, chopped onion or spring onions if you want to go all down Mexico way.
6. Milkshakes: mash a banana, strawberries (optional) with milk and agave syrup (longer release of sugars) or a small spoonful of honey if you must. Add a dollop of yoghurt (live, natural and naturally free of sugar are all good options. Put the ingredients into a clean, empty jam jar, shake and drink from the jar. So trendy.
Psst: for older teenagers, adding slug of coffee can get them out of bed, but not too often – we don’t want to add a coffee or tea habit to their troubles do we?
7. Fresh fruit: bananas, apples, pears, mangoes, kiwis… all good to have around. Quite high in natural sugars so easy tiger. Great for easy snacks though.
8. Leftovers: Cook plenty of their favourite foods and have them in the fridge.
9. Cheese, wholegrain rice cakes, good cereal bars (check the sugar load), yoghurt, dark chocolate, marmite, wholemeal peanut butter, all good in moderation.
10. Brain Bars: Nicola Morgan writes fantastic, cheap and easy guides about children, teenagers and their brains. She has devised a wonderful recipe for Brain Food Bars (click to access) which I can thoroughly recommend!! They taste delicious and importantly, contain all the right foods for keeping the brain on track!!! Do check out Nicola’s publications – I find them unbeatable for explaining the developing brain to children and teenagers. Thank you for your amazing books and blogs Nicola!
11. Regular meals: include plenty of protein. Steak and fish are brilliant are expensive brain food obviously, and not for everyone. Lentils are cheap and can be very tasty indeed! Wholegrain carbohydrates give slow release energy – perfect!
12. Eat up your greens: … oranges, reds, yellows – a good variety of fresh veg is the secret of a long life. That and good luck.
13. Plenty of water: the brain NEEDS IT!!!! So does the rest of the body.
If your exam candidate won’t eat these things, do what you can. They need to eat f ‘sure. Good luck!!