Food for Mood 1: Breakfast for focus and concentration

Our first Food for Mood recipes focus on breakfast! Breaking our fast is good for our focus and concentration. Follow these two simple recipes to make two breakfasts which are great for your brain and will keep you fuelled to focus on your revision.

Rolled and jumbo oats are a great start to your day. They contain protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats plus B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc and some trace minerals. They are rich in fibre and antioxidants to support your gut and immune system and their beta-glucans help balance blood glucose, reduce inflammation, feed your healthy gut-microbes and support your vascular system. The addition of the lower sugar apple and kiwi adds in more antioxidants, fibres and phytochemicals to give your brain the nutrients it needs to focus and concentrate. Walnuts are great for your brain as they contain omega 3 fatty acids, prebiotics, protein and an impressive range of polyphenols shown in research to be neuro-protective.

Oatmeal with chopped kiwi, apple and walnuts

  • 50g Jumbo or Rolled Oats (no sweeteners, flavours or pre-packaged oat products)
  • 100ml water
  • 250ml of milk of your choice (if plant milk opt for unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon if you like the flavour
  • Your choice: 1 pear or 1 apple + 1 kiwi (chopped)
  • Optional: 10 walnut halves or 1 tablespoon of hulled hemp seeds or tablespoon of your choice of nut butter
  • Optional: Natural yoghurt / plant-based yoghurt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of raisins or maple syrup

Method – takes 15-20 minutes to prep and cook

  1. Put 40g of oats (1/2 cup or 3.5 heaped tablespoons) into your saucepan
  2. Pour in 250ml of your milk of choice (unsweetened if plant milk)
  3. Bring to boil then put onto a very low heat
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes until you reach the texture you prefer (you have the 100ml of water to add if thickens too much – you can add more if you like a runnier texture)
  5. Once cooked, add to your bowl
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon
  7. Then top with your chopped fruit and your walnuts.
  8. You can add different nuts, seeds and fruit each week to increase the diversity of your diet to support your gut and mood

Eggs with colourful veggies are a wonderful start to the day. Eggs are full of protein and nutrient dense and work perfectly when combined with the anti-inflammatory phytochemicals from the cooked tomatoes and mushrooms and the vitamins and minerals from the spinach. This will keep you fuelled to focus on essay prep or exam revision. You can batch cook and keep in fridge for breakfast or a snack the next day.

Herby Omelette with Spinach & Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms

  • 2 large eggs
  • Splash of milk (of your choice)
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Fresh herbs (your choice: chives, parsley, basil, coriander, dill – choose a mixture or your favourite)
  • You can use a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs if you can’t find fresh: add a pinch of paprika too
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Small bag of baby spinach
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • Olive oil for cooking

Method – takes 20 minutes to prep and cook

  1. Start by chopping your mushrooms into halves or quarters and cover with the cherry tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper – you can add a dash of balsamic vinegar if you have some or some lemon juice. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes: 180 fan assisted / 200 or gas mark 6.
  2. Whilst the veggies are roasting: put two eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk well. Add a splash of milk of your choice, season well with salt and pepper – you can add paprika or some chilli if you like a bit of heat. Add in the dried herbs here if you are using them. Set aside.
  3. Chop the range of herbs you have as roughly or as small as you prefer. Ignore if using dried herbs.
  4. Check on the mushrooms and tomatoes. When they are done take them out of the oven. They will have a bit of liquor you can top the spinach with later.
  5. Put your non-stick frying pan on the stove, put in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and put on a medium heat (not too hot – you don’t want to burn the oil!)
  6. Pour in eggs. Let them cook until the bottom has firmed up but the top is still liquid. Only 2-3 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the herbs liberally over the runny top – press down gently to immerse them into the runny egg. Then put the frying pan under the grill for a minute to firm up the top.
  8. Put the omelette on your plate.
  9. Then put your washed and chopped spinach into the same pan as the eggs. Put on a medium heat and stir until wilted. This will take 1-2 minutes. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice or the juice of your roasted vegetables at the end of cooking.
  10. Cut the herb omelette into quarters and separate so there’s a space on the side or centre of your plate.
  11. Add the mushroom & tomato mix and spinach. Enjoy.

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