Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brain Food

Hey friends!

Sorry if posting gets a little sporadic this week—it’s midterm week already and I have to dedicate 80% of my time to studying. (10% eating, 10% sleeping). So basically no time left to do anything else—thankfully on Friday it’ll be all good till finals!

Whether you’re in school, out of school, or in between, there’s always going to be a time you need to use your brain for things other than everyday easy tasks. Tests, problem-solving at work, multi-tasking, planning, etc all require your brain to be working top-notch. How to make sure it will work for your advantage? Well ample sleep and good food are priorities.

I like to call it brain food!

How to eat to best benefit your brain?

  • Breakfast: If you’re strapped for time in the morning, as we all tend to be, a bowl of fruit is a much better energy source that will start the brain working. Later on in the morning something with more protein, a cereal, will do the same to keep energy in the brain all day. A piece of toast or sandwich does the same, directly improving memory and attention.
  • Snacks: Energy bars with not a lot of sugar such as Lara bars provide a steady stream of good for you ingredients that will satiate you and stop stomach grumblings from disrupting you until your next meal.
  • Lunch: Vegetables do much of the same good as fruit. Glucose levels alter during cooking so sticking to a salad may be better. Think about adding an egg to the mix. Egg yolk is a leading source for choline, a nutrient that, recently, has been proven to boost brainpower by speeding up the sending of signals to nerve cells in the brain. Complementing this with nuts [particularly walnuts] balance omega-3 acids with omega-6’s while neutralizing blood sugar levels.
  • Drinks: While eating food for the brain, it is important to keep hydrated. At least 80 ounces of water every day reduce stress hormones. Drinking non-caffeinated tea, like green tea, relaxes the brain and induces mental alertness. A juice, such as grapefruit juice, has the same affects for the brain as fruits and vegetables along with the hydration benefits.
  • Dinner: Let your dinner contain some carbs because when eaten with protein or fat they may indeed be mentally soothing. Pizza is a good example because it contains a lot of carbs, but protein and fat as well. Soothing for the mind. There are times when we all need some of that!

Here’s my brain food I am eating this week to power me through this studying and tests!

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Fruit, yogurt, and granola parfaits. The perfect balance of protein(yogurt), carbs(granola), and natural sugar(fruit). Also easily packed for lunch!

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Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal. Not only is cereal a breakfast food, but it can be put in a small baggy to eat as a pre-portioned snack, which is what I like to do for in between classes or a test snack! :-) This cereal reminded me of Captain Crunch, but with a honey touch instead of PB—now it’s a definite staple in my cereal stash.

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Nature’s Valley Nut Lovers clusters consist of cashews, pecans, peanuts, granola and a smidgen of honey. Such a good snack to hold you over—not only are nuts super good for you in moderation, these are a little tastier than your average plain nut! (Watch for the review on the whole line in the near future!)

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Okay, so a lollipop is a lollipop, but lets just say Yummy Earth takes it to a whole new and healthier level. Their lollipops are handcrafted and the flavors are made with real fruit extracts.  They even use organic black carrots and
organic pumpkin for fabulous color!! Be sure to check out their 21 YUMMY flavors! Studies show that students who chew gum or suck on candy concentrate significantly better.

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These Meteor Bites are from Galaxy Granola are super hard to find. But they are worth the hunt! The flavor I had this time was Blueberry Yogurt Flax—I’ve tried em’ all and this is my favorite! It even has a delicately sweet icing over the top of the quarter-sized granola snack! Most granola contains good for you fiber to keep you satiated. I buy these here.

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I received these yummy Nature's Path toaster pastries from the company itself awhile back to review. I used to be a Pop-Tart fan when I was younger, so I was up for the review! Looks similar to a Pop-Tart? Check. Tastes like a Pop-tart? Not so much. But in fact it was much better than a Pop-Tart, and much healthier as well. The Wildberry Acai filling was rich along with the decadent frosting and perfect flaky crust. A must for a healthy breakfast to keep that brain fueled! Acai berries are ranked in the Top 5 Brain Health Foods!

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And lastly, to keep myself fueled with a guarantee for no rumbling tummy, I reach for Special K protein shakes in three yummy flavors—Vanilla(favorite), chocolate, and strawberry. With  10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, it’s a surefire way to satisfy your hunger.

Time to study!

9 comments:

Kelly said...

Nutrition was definitely NOT on my brain when I was a student. You remind me that I've been meaning to try making homemade pop tarts. When I was a kid the cherry and brown sugar (I think that's what it was) varieties were always favorites of mine.

luckytastebuds said...

I've definitely been curious about both the Pop tart imposters and the special K protein drink! Now that i know they have your endorsement, I guess I'm gonna give it a go the next time I need some quick brain food! Good luck on your midterms and try not to stress out!!! :)

Erica said...

First off- good luck this week! I'm sure you'll rock it. Second- what a fabulous post. Everyone needs to remember that during busy/stressful times...your body needs good foods more than ever!

stephchows said...

good luck on your exams!

Krista said...

Great ideas to keep you alert. Dry cereal is a fave of mine to pack in baggies as snacks for the kids lunches.

Jenny said...

great post -- it's so crucial for us students to fuel those brains :)

Stacey said...

Every student needs something they can eat fast and fuels the brain as well! Great ideas. Good luck on your midterms!

katecooks said...

thanks for all the great suggestions!! good luck on your tests!!!

Kim said...

I love all your snacks! My kids love those yummy earth lollipops. A yogurt parfait sounds like perfect brain food. Good luck with your midterms!!