This recipe is a great one for prepping you for a good study session or an early morning exam, especially if you’re bad at eating breakfast before you head out to do tests as you should have proper fuel before you begin.
There’s no refined sugar, it’s full of fibre as well as brain nourishing ingredients and I share some additional ones too that also have benefits, so feel free to add these into your daily diet leading up to exams in order to make sure your study sessions are maximised.
Brain boosting ingredients
Firstly I’ve used walnuts in this recipe as they’re packed with omega 3 beneficial fats which your brain loves, along with antioxidants such as Vitamin E for stress and brain protection.
The blueberries (also called brain berries by some) are great for focus and concentration as well as containing antioxidants. The cinnamon provides steady blood sugar levels meaning sustained, focused energy as does the high fibre wholemeal flour and oats that are providing slow release energy.
I’ve suggested using either avocado or coconut oil to add some moisture into the recipe as these oils provide good fats such as the MCT’s and ketones from coconut which are types of fat that the brain loves to use for fuel, while the avocado provides monounsaturated fats and vitamin E protection that helps blood vessels stay supple and flexible meaning good blood flow to the brain.
Finally the egg provides a source of choline which is essential to good brain function.
Served with nut butter
Other recommended foods
Turmeric-increases oxygen uptake to the brain
*Cacao– antioxidant protection and theobromine as a mild source of caffeine for energy
*Matcha (green tea powder)- provides a mild source of caffeine energy but also high in L-theanine which aids concentration and helps maintain a calm state
Oily fish– such as wild salmon are full of beneficial omega 3 fats
Water/hydration– your brain needs adequate hydration to function properly so make sure to drink plenty of fluids during studying and before an exam
*Note:Cacao, matcha and green tea contain only a small amount of caffeine so are suitable for older teens but high consumption should be avoided in young children and anyone with thyroid issues or on codeine painkillers should consult their doctor before high intakes of green tea/matcha.
I love using the MissFits nutrition pea protein powder sachets but it got even better when I combined their chocolate flavour with some avocado and peppermint extract because the result was a creamy, sugar free, high protein smoothie that tasted like the After eight chocolates!
A great choice for breakfast before a workout or as a recovery snack between the gym and your dinner later on that day.
Why I like this protein
This brand of protein is naturally sweetened with stevia meaning you don’t need to add any fruit or sugar so it’s a great option for anyone looking for a low sugar smoothie and also a good option for when there’s no fresh fruit in your kitchen or you have a ripe avocado begging to be used up.
Also, it contains added green tea extract for an energy boost which is great in the morning but it also acts as an antioxidant that can help protect the body from any exercise induced stress, great for those who workout hard or regularly. Their added vitamin B12 is the natural and more bio available form (methlycobalamin) compared to most varieties that are not (cyanocobalamin). Another added bonus is the digestive enzymes which help you digest the protein and other compounds in your meal.
Where to buy
These single serving sachets are really easy to get in Holland & Barrett and allow you to try each flavour out for yourself which I really recommend, so give this one a go and see what you think. They’re only 1.99 each and usually some kind of deal on them at the same time making them quite affordable to try before buying anything bigger. You can also get them online or at certain Tesco stores.
What better way to have a delicious, nourishing, quick breakfast ready to go when you are than by baking these brownie breakfast bars the night before!
bursting blueberry breakfast brownies
They are made from jumbo oats, fresh blueberries, ripe bananas and a touch of cacao powder to give a decadent, chocolate taste and once baked they’ll provide you with a quick, healthy breakfast option in the mornings meaning it’s easier to get out the door. They’re also a great recipe to use up any overly ripe bananas you have hanging around your fruit bowl.
These taste best when slightly warm as the cacao chocolate flavour comes through more and with your favourite yogurt to contrast with the berries and rich cacao.
-No oil or eggs
-vegan & gluten free
-No sweeteners, fruit only
-High fibre & portable
Top with yogurt, fruit & cinnamon
Ok, so let me start by explaining for anyone who doesn’t know what a shamrock shake is, it’s an American based minty green milkshake that a certain, highly famous burger chain created a while ago in celebration of St Patrick’s day.
If you missed it last year, check out my green St Patrick’s day omelette here.
As St Patrick’s day is approaching, I thought I’d create a healthier version using wholefoods and even better, make it sugar free!
After having to change up my diet to ease my gut issues it’s made me realise even more that not everyone can use standard ingredients or recipes which can be very frustrating and is why I’ve been wanting to create more sugar free recipes here for anyone who can’t, for whatever reason, tolerate traditional sweeteners, even the unrefined ones I tend to use such as honey or coconut sugar.
Plus, most shakes/smoothies tend to have a banana chucked in, which again, some people may need to omit or would like to change up every now and then so I’ve used liquid stevia drops in this recipe, reasons include:
-sugar free (so diabetics can use it)
-doesn’t cause digestive flare ups like other natural sweeteners may do
-doesn’t negatively alter gut bacteria like certain artificial sweeteners
-easier to measure out than uncut, green powdered stevia (which is the preferred form but as I mentioned harder to use and source)
As stevia is over 200 times sweeter than sugar you only need a little bit so measure it out carefully anytime you use it. You can find it online or in health food shops, try to find ones that aren’t diluted with other sweeteners and that are alcohol free.
creamy mint chocolate goodness
I absolutely love the soft texture and spices of these flapjacks, they’re delicious!
Flapjacks are one of my favourite snacks but most are full of refined sugar or other ingredients that aren’t good for you so swapping them out for these is a great choice.
My favourite way to eat them is slightly warmed, so either a few minutes out of the oven or else gently heat them up a little before tucking in will give the best results.
Nourishing gingerbread flapjacks
I used molasses in this recipe as it’s a key ingredient in traditional gingerbread recipes due to its rich flavour, it’s also a highly nutritious sweetener containing good amounts of copper, iron and chromium, however not many people tend to use it because of the intense liquorice like flavour, but when you mix it in the right quantities with other flavours you can get the best of both worlds. It is very affordable and in all big shops but if you can’t get your hands on it then you can use barley malt (contains gluten) or honey etc but obviously the flavour won’t be as traditional.
With the weather yet again turning rubbish in the UK and the “beast from the East” coming soon, all this cold weather makes me really crave spices and hot, hearty food and this porridge recipe really is hot!
This may sound like a weird combination but chilli and chocolate is one of my favourite flavour combos ever!
If you like these flavours too then check out my chocolate chillana porridge recipe.
I really wanted the heat from the chilli and rich dark chocolate flavour from the cacao to come across so I haven’t overly sweetened this recipe, keeping the overall sugar quite low so adjust the recipe to your tastes.
Oats are a great heart healthy ingredient as they contain beta glucan which can lower cholesterol, the flaxseed provides anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and the cacao powder, particularly this brand contains a very high amount of antioxidants and has an EFSA approved heart health claim attached to it as well.