Spinach for a Saturday by Bri Alexander

Hello ladies and gentleman! Are we enjoying the fruitful possibilities of summer?! I know I took a brief hiatus from writing, but I had an exam to prepare for and well- I am back in action now and happy to introduce you all to more ideas and recipes! Now, I know we are all still summering-ing (I totally made that up), but today I would like to share with you all some recipes on brain foods and how to assure yourself maximum energy for, say, an exam! Let’s take a look into the night before and the big day, shall we?
The Night Before: Baked Salmon and Spinach with Brown Rice

Ingredients: * makes 1 serving 

Salmon​​​​ Spinach​​​​​ Rice

  • 1 cut, clean piece of salmon​​1 handful fresh spinach leaves ½ cup of brown rice
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil​​¼ cup of vegetable oil​​ 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp parsley​​​​1 tsp garlic​​​​ ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp garlic​​​​¼ cup of water​​​ ½ tsp pepper 
  • ½ tsp salt​​​​½ tsp salt 1 chicken bouillon
  • ½ tsp pepper​​​​½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ diced onions

For the salmon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, place your salmon, (should be thawed). Drizzle the vegetable oil over it and next add the spices and diced onions. Toss lightly with hand, making sure each side of the fish is seasoned. Next, take a small baking pan (adding cooking spray is optional) and place the seasoned fish and contents in. Bake for about 20 minutes, making sure to flip fish after 10-12 minutes until golden.

Why salmon: Salmon, like many other fish, is a great brain food because it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These belong to a special group of amino acids that are essential for our bodies especially because we cannot produce them on our own. These oils have been shown to improve brain function and plasticity as well as heart health.

For the spinach: Turn on a frying pan to medium heat and add vegetable oil. Let warm and add fresh, cleaned spinach to pan along with spices. Sautee, making sure that there is no burning. After about 5-7 minutes, reduce heat and add water to soften spinach and balance flavors.

Why spinach: Besides the fact that spinach is a vegetable, it is also a source of antioxidants which serve to preserve brain cells and improve memory.

For the rice: Boil 1 cup of water in a pot, add parsley to boiling water and bouillon cube. Add rice once water boils and then reduce to medium heat and place lid over pot. After 10-12 minutes, season rice with salt and pepper.

Why brown rice: Brown rice, like several other whole grains/wheats, is an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. Carbs are essential because they metabolize into glucose that is used to fuel our bodies later.

The day of: Toasted whole grain bagel (peanut butter is a nice add) or muffin, dried fruit trail mix and scrambled eggs. *Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

On the day of we want a source of grains, glucose and protein, all of which can be achieved here with these simple makings. Now, I know on test day we’re filled with anxiety and can barely figure out how to get the stove on, let alone make a big meal. But that’s okay, we don’t need these heavy things on test day. It’s best to keep it light and simple.

The toasted bagel is an excellent source of carbs and protein (if you add the peanut butter), the scrambled eggs also provide protein and the dried fruit trail mix contains nuts and fruit which supply both glucose and protein.

If you avid readers are eager to find out more about brain foods, visit these websites:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthy-foods-eat-brain-power?page=2

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_exercise_tips/6_reasons_you_should_be_eating_carbs

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower

Stay tuned because next I’ll be coming at ya with quick and easy meals for college students!

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