My friend with three teenagers describes their daily food intake equivalent to that of a Sumo wrestling team. And we’ve all witnessed the spectacle, or the ensuing debris, of a teen’s after school foraging through the kitchen in search of sustenance. It could make a great mock-u-mentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
There is a very clear positive correlation between what we eat and academic performance. And while as a parent they may not listen to your advice on homework you do have control over what is available for them to eat. So by stocking the cupboards with brain supporting foods you can support their learning.
Since the brain solely metabolizes glucose to function, it’s important to start the day right with a low GI breakfast. This gives the brain a powerful start to the day as it takes longer for the body to metabolize the low GI foods, thus providing a more consistent source of glucose for the brain as it’s building new neural connections while learning.
Homework involves more learning and shouldn’t be done on an empty stomach. A good
afternoon snack will kickstart the metabolism and get that glucose flowing to the brain. My favorite after school snack is the smoothie. The combination of fruit and yoghurt is a good source of both quick and slow glucose. It’s easy to make, can be done unsupervised and who doesn’t love a smoothie. It just feels decadent but is really health.
What you need:
A good blender. A teenager is going to be using this and experimenting with how much they can force the thing. They will burn the motor out so you want a good warranty so you can return it for a replacement. To that end I like the Cuisinart Portable Blender and Chopping System. It has a 2 year no questions asked warranty on the motor. It also comes with smoothie cups.
Make it foolproof. With a sharpie mark lines on the smoothie cups as to the levels of frozen fruit, yogurt, banana and air. Label if you must. Divide the cup into thirds and draw a line at the bottom third. Then divide the remaining ⅔ of the cup into thirds again. The top section is the air space needed to ensure mixing.
Stock the freezer with frozen berries, the fridge with plain yogurt and the counter with ripe bananas.
Invest in some straws as that is part of the fun of drinking them.
Basic smoothie recipe
- Frozen fruit: berries and mango are nice
- Plain yogurt. Be sure and check that the sugar content is not too high. If you use a pot set yogurt you’ll be getting in some gut health too.
- Juice, apple and orange are good just be sure it’s preservative free
- Really ripe banana – start a rotation system of eat now and use for smoothies. Keep smoothie ones separate.
- Fill smoothie cup ⅓ of the way with frozen fruit. Cover with juice.
- Spoon in yogurt
- Break up banana into the cup and then top with more juice.
- Add base and blend until smooth.