Brain food baking

img136Now that the new term has started, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s time to get your head down and start studying over those lecture notes or for your prelims later this year. Although that’s vital, there is one thing that’s maybe even more important (and definitely more interesting) than all the academics – your snacks for studying.

These days, it seems to be all about protein bars and energy drinks or turning to fast food to keep you going through those long study sessions. Although this is a quick and easy way to you’re your brain active when you really just want to be asleep or out with your friends, it’s really not the healthiest or most effective way to keep yourself motivated. I’ve put together some easy to make recipes for tasty sweet study snacks and tips on what food you should be stocking up on instead of binging on McDonalds.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

We start our journey to getting that A with one of my favourite snacks: peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Not only are these delicious and simple to make with only four ingredients, their main ingredient is peanut butter so they’re a great source of protein to keep your energy levels high while studying.

Ingredients:

  1. 340g peanut butter (normally a medium sized tub from the supermarket)
  2. 200g granulated sugar + extra for dipping
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1-2 bags chocolate chips (depending on a scale of normal to me)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C
  2. Grease or flour a baking tray
  3. Combine the peanut butter, sugar and egg in a bowl by hand or with a mixer
  4. Add in the chocolate chips
  5. With a teaspoon, scoop the mixture and create a ball by rolling it in your hands
  6. Roll in sugar and flatten to about 15mm thick and place on baking tray
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies look cracked on the top
  8. Leave to cool completely on tray before removing (and demolishing)
Blueberry muffins

Next on the list is a classic: blueberry muffins. With their memory-enhancing properties, blueberries are the perfect study buddy, or breakfast you can make the night before.

Ingredients:

  1. 110g butter
  2. 250g plain flour
  3. 250g sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 125ml milk
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. 225g fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Line a muffin or cupcake tray with cases
  3. Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  4. In another bowl cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  5. Add eggs and mix well
  6. Add in milk and flour mixture
  7. Beat until combined
  8. Stir in blueberries
  9. Fill cases ¾ full with mixture
  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes
Chocolate espresso mug cake

Last but not least is something quick and tasty: chocolate espresso mug cake, because what’s better to pull you through a study session than caffeine and chocolate?

Ingredients:

  1. 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  2. 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  3. 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  4. 3 tablespoons sugar
  5. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  6. 2 tablespoons milk
  7. 1 egg
  8. 2 tablespoons oil
  9. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Grease mug
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder
  3. Add the milk, egg, oil and vanilla extract
  4. Pour mixture into the greased mug and microwave on full power for 90 seconds or until cooked through

 

What you should eat while studying and why
  1. Fish – fish is filled with omega 3 fatty acids, which are a vital compound for enhancing memory. If like me you’re not a fish lover, why not take an omega 3 supplement or add fish oil into your coffee or milkshake – after all, it does come in vanilla flavour.
  2. Coffee – this may seem like an obvious one but not only will coffee keep you awake but it has also been proven that caffeine can help you form new memories 33% faster.
  3. Eggs – as well as being a great source of protein eggs also contain the nutrient choline, which has the nickname ‘memory vitamin’.
  4. Cherries – cherries are the only natural food source of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone – and a well-rested brain helps you learn more.
  5. Bananas and almonds – both bananas and almonds contain magnesium which promotes muscle relaxation giving you a better, and necessary, nights sleep.
  6. Dark chocolate – not only is dark chocolate delicious, it is also packed with flavonoids which improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, hence reducing stress.
  7. Avocados – avocados are packed with vitamin E, a key ingredient to strengthening the immune system and keeping you healthy through tests and exams.
  8. Garlic – garlic’s antioxidants help battle immune system invaders as well as relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow.

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