Put the kids on a brain diet

The kids are back at school now. Interestingly, the papers are reporting that this is the time of year most mums try to lose weight. It’s all about making a fresh start isn’t it, but what about your children? To be at their best, eating the right food is important for them too. Did you know, for example, that the brain is the hungriest organ in your body? It demands the most energy, both in terms of glucose and oxygen, and it responds mostly keenly to the amount of nutrients you are feeding it.

It’s more than just making sure that the children have enough Omega 3 – the brain requires a lot of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals for its growth, efficiency, energy and defence. Fatty foods are out. Iron, magnesium, vitamins B and E, and antioxidants are all really important. Water, eggs, avocados and bananas are some of the helpful things I could think of, but there’s a book that lists many more…

Brainy food competition
The book is called: The Top 100 Recipes for Brainy Kids‘ by Christine Bailey, and it’s only a fiver. What’s so great about it is that it’s full of wonderful recipes with explanations on how each food helps as it goes along. I got interested in it because every recipe also comes with a quick allergy guide; and there’s also a useful introduction on what foods help the brain work well too.

I’m just about ready to give my copy away, so if you want to save a little cash, email me (before the 9th October 2009) and I’ll pick a winner. In the meantime here’s a sample recipe:

Chocolate & Cranberry Brownies

(Vegetarian, no dairy, seeds, citrus fruits or soy.)

Prunes are an active ingredient here. They replace the fat and sugar used in other recipes. Not only a great source of fibre, prunes are also a concentrated source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, B vitamins, iron and potassium.

Makes 10-12

Olive oil, for greasing
100g soft prunes
50g caster sugar
125g plain chocolate, chopped
100g dried cranberries
25g pecans chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g self raising wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
25g wheat germ
3 eggs, separated

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and grease line the base of a square 15cm/6in cake tin. Blend the prunes, sugar and 3 tbsp water in a blender.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir in the prunes, cranberries, pecans, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, wheat germ and egg yolks.
3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and, with a metal spoon, fold them into the chocolate mixture.
4. Spoon the mixture into the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Leave in the tin to cool. Cut into 10-12 squares and serve.

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