“We all LOVE the relaxed vibes of summer holidays. For most of us, that carefree time has come to an end and we are well and truly back to business. Whether it’s back-

to-work or back-to-school, it’s that time of year that requires focus, energy and concentration. To get the most out our day, our lunchbox needs to be packed with meals

that are not only delicious but provide fuel to sustain energy levels and boost brainpower!” Leah and Danae

What are the best foods to snack on for energy and brain function you might ask?

Well balanced meals containing protein, carbohydrates and fats are a great place to start.

Combining these three macro nutrients will help to:

  • balance blood sugar and optimise energy production throughout the day
  • keep you feeling full and prevent binge eating
  • provide a steady release of glucose for your brain – the most energy demanding organ in the body!

The type of food you choose is important. Selecting minimally processed whole foods will ensure an abundance of nutrients.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for the body, so always choose low GI and high fibre whole grains, fruit and veg for sustained energy.

When including fats with your meals, keep saturated fats to a minimum and increase omega 3 fatty acids from fish and plant sources, like chia, to support memory and brain function.

Eat a variety of protein rich foods to ensure you are getting all the essential amino acids. Meat and eggs provide these, however, combining foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains will also supply you with all the amino acids your body needs.

There are also many important micronutrients we need to consume to maintain physical and mental energy throughout the day. Here are a few of the essentials:

B-vitamins play a major role in energy production, brain function and overall metabolism by helping to break down protein, carbohydrate and fat.

Food sources include:

  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds

Antioxidants protect the brain from cognitive decline as we age, so it’s pretty important to consume them on a daily basis to protect against oxidative stress and maintain a healthy brain.

Some food sources are:

  • Berries and grapes
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes, broccoli, carrot, capsicum
  • Green tea

Iron transports oxygen around the body and is essential for energy production. Adequate brain iron levels are also crucial for memory and learning.

We can get iron from animal sources (haem iron) which tends to be more easily absorbed:

  • red meat
  • eggs
  • fish

Or from plant sources (non-haem iron) including:

  • kidney beans
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • cashews

Iodine is a trace mineral that is an integral component of thyroid hormones. Iodine also plays a critical role in the intellectual development of children and deficiency can lead to a lower IQ.

Marine sources are the best option for adequate iodine intake:

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • seaweed

Choline is an essential nutrient that supports energy levels and assists brain cells in the production of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter for mental focus and learning.

Dietary sources include:

  • egg yolks
  • beef
  • salmon
  • chickpeas
  • cauliflower

It’s important to pack healthy food that you look forward to eating. Consider the following easy to prepare snack suggestions to help you get all those important nutrients to nourish your mind and body throughout the work day.

  • Chia pudding with fresh blueberries and Paleo Powerfood
  • Trail mix
  • Frittata with leafy greens
  • Wholegrain muesli bars
  • Beetroot hummus with veggie sticks
  • Veggie Quinoa Nori Roll: one of our favourites, we use quinoa for and extra hit of protein with a sprinkling of chia seeds to help bind it. Simply press cooked quinoa and chia mix onto a flat piece of seaweed paper then add colourful veggies of your choice. We like a colourful combo of avocado, carrot, red and yellow capsicum and beetroot hummus.

Eat the rainbow!

 

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