Brainfood: snacks to help you study this assessment period
As you prepare for and undertake your exam replacement tasks, remember that eating healthy can help you stay focused while you’re powering through your study sessions.
Research has found that dietary nutrients are critical to the structure and function of your brain, so eating well could have a profound impact on your mental robustness. Maintaining a healthy diet packed with brain-boosting foods to support you through your day is a must.
When it comes to selecting the best ingredients for your health, Samantha Dawson, who completed a PhD at Deakin University’s School of Medicine, promotes a whole-of-diet approach. ‘Let’s consider someone who eats a lot of processed food – consuming one serve of a “superfood” is unlikely to make a noticeable difference to their overall health.’ Instead, she suggests focusing on improving overall diet quality and fibre intake by regularly eating plenty of fresh plant-based ingredients, and cutting down on sugar and processed foods.
So if you’re worried about losing your study momentum, we’ve got you covered. Try these brainfood recipes:
Half an avocado, chopped and drizzled with lemon
1/3 cup cooked black beans
1/3 cup sweetcorn
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup carrot, ribboned
1 handful baby spinach mixed with chopped coriander
1 small handful of smashed unflavoured tortilla chips
1 16oz mason jar/other large jar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice
Put the dressing ingredients in a bowl together and whisk to combine, then put aside.
Wash, chop and prepare all other ingredients.
Layer items in your jar so that the dry and wet ingredients stay separated until you eat.
Layer 1: dressing
Layer 2: black beans
Layer 3: corn
Layer 4: avocado
Layer 5: tomato
Layer 6: carrot
Layer 7: spinach and coriander
Layer 8: tortilla chips.
Keep your salad jar upright until you are ready to serve, then turn the jar upside down on a plate, tapping the bottom to remove all the ingredients. Toss and eat.
Cocoa: raw cocoa appears to be packed with brain-boosting compounds that improve cognitive function, as well as being one the world’s most antioxidant-rich foods, full of minerals like magnesium, iron and copper, which are great for overall health and vitality.
Banana: rich in healthy vitamins, minerals and potassium, bananas contain tryptophan, which research has found helps us relax, improve mood and reduce depression when converted into serotonin in our bodies.
300g skinless salmon fillet
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into matchsticks
small red capsicum, cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
1 handful of chopped cashews and sesame seeds
1 small handful of coriander and mint, chopped
6 x 16cm rice paper rounds
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chilli sauce
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil, and add a pinch of salt. Place fillet in the water, ensuring it’s covered with water, and cook for eight or nine minutes (until opaque) with the water just below boiling.
Prepare and chop your other ingredients.
Flake the salmon fillet into small pieces.
Get a large bowl of warm water, then place one piece of rice paper into the water for 10 seconds. Place on a clean surface and allow to soften for a further five seconds.
Place a few avocado slices in a thin row down the middle of the circle, then layer a little salmon, cucumber, pepper, nuts, onion and herbs on top.
Enclose ingredients, starting by folding in the top and bottom of the circle, and then tightly roll.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make six rolls.
In a bowl, mix the peanut butter and hoisin and chilli sauces together. Serve with dipping sauce.