Brain food

How can we as parents help our children study and revise for exams, now that they’re back in school? Chef Kanika Hughes from DinnerTime has the answer


How can we as parents help our children study and revise for exams, now that they’re back in school? Chef Kanika Hughes from DinnerTime has the answer.

To get smarter, just eat right, it’s as simple as that. Feast on foods which stimulate healthy brain function, boost memory, and aid cognitive development and prevent mental decline, no matter your age.

Chef Kanika has created a brain power menu that everyone in the family will love and it includes a superfood smoothie with kale, herb-crusted salmon with sweet potato puree, pumpkin seeds and steamed broccoli, Mexican brown rice salad and messy summer fruit crumble. Sound yummy, right?

A green Superfood Smoothie packed with kale will enhance memory and hone the brain’s problem solving abilities. Add some bananas, vital for concentration, as they promote strong signals between brain cells, and pineapple which is bursting with vitamin C to enhance mental alertness.

For a main course, serve up salmon which has a high level of Omega 3 to improve brain function and mood. Sage and parsley in the herb crust prevent against cognitive decline. Even the pumpkin seeds sprinkled over the dish provide zinc to safeguard memory and boost thinking skills.

The veggie option is a spicy Mexican brown rice, avocado, caramelised walnut and roasted cherry tomato salad, served with a dash of lime. This is a one stop wonder meal to help with exam preparations. The lycopene in tomatoes protects brain fat, which leads to improved cognitive function, particularly memory and concentration. The healthy fats in the avocado boost brain areas responsible for critical thinking and planning. Whole grains like brown rice supply a steady release of energy to sustain mental alertness throughout the day. The vitamin E in walnuts and brown rice safeguards against cognitive decline and this benefit accrues only through vitamin E rich foods, not supplements.

And finally, dessert. Yes, even dessert can make you smarter!

The sweet treat is a mixed summer berry crumble. Blackberries and blueberries promote mental agility and prevent short term memory loss. Blueberries are also one of the most powerful anti-stress foods. The crumble contains no refined sugar as that would make the system sluggish, but instead is sweetened with stevia, a natural herbal sweetener that does not spike blood sugar levels, to prevent the sudden surge and subsequent dip in energy levels that comes with eating regular sweets.

The crumble topping contains oats, another whole grain to strengthen the brain against decline, flax seeds to increase brain function and decrease depression and chia seeds. The super grain chia seeds contain five times more calcium than milk, three times more antioxidants than fresh blueberries, three times as much iron as spinach, and twice as much potassium as a banana, plus plenty of protein and a huge amount of fibre. Chia seeds are little champions to give a big boost to your little champion!

And there you have it, from drink, to dinners, to dessert. The ultimate meal plan to boost smarts when your children need it most. Oh, and did we forget to mention that they are delicious too?


DinnerTime is a local UAE company founded in 2011 by three Swedish entrepreneurs, pioneering the popular concept of a dinner box containing groceries and recipes delivered to your doorstep in the Middle East. DinnerTime delivers four set family, couple or gluten-free dinners a week, complete with fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes.

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