This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.
With the final school exams quickly approaching, hundreds of thousands of Aussie students are counting down to the end of school, for good. Before the final end however are some pretty big exams that require plenty of energy to ensure brains and bodies are well fuelled. So, if someone in your family is currently preparing for a busy exam period, here are the super foods to build their diets around.
Oats are one the best breakfast options nutritionally, especially for those who need sustained energy as they have an exceptionally low glycemic index. This means that they release their energy into the bloodstream relatively slowly, helping to keep blood glucose levels controlled for 4-5 hours after eating. Even better, team breakfast oats with banana for an extra energy and vitamin boost. For the non-breakfast fans, oats can even be blitzed into a nutritious smoothie and sipped on the way to an exam.
Natures energy food, bananas are not only a rich source of carbohydrates to help fuel the brain and the muscles, but their rich Vitamin B content makes them the perfect energy food that is also exceptionally easy to eat. Bananas are extremely versatile and can be used in healthy baking, in pancakes, smoothies or as a quick snack on the run for busy, studying teens.
One of the richest natural sources of omega 3 fats, oily fish is a nutritional must to maximise omega 3 intake and the benefits it offers. A natural anti-inflammatory, omega 3 rich foods will help to keep the immune system functioning optimally, have a positive effect on mood, and support brain function. Aim to include oily salmon in the weekly food repertoire at least twice each week during intense periods of study.
Not only does sweet potato taste great, making it the perfect vegetable choice for teens but it is also packed full of low GI carbs, dietary fibre and beta-carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A, which plays a key role in immune function. This makes sweet potato the perfectly nightly vegetable to boost nutrient intake in exam time.
Lean red meat
While eating enough fish is important for our overall health so too is getting adequate amounts of well absorbed iron for those who eat meat. This means that including lean mince, sausages, steak or lamb on the menu at least 3-4 times each week is crucial to tick the box on your teens intake of dietary iron, the key nutrient involved in energy production, as it transports oxygen around the body.
Not always a favourite on the dinner plate, leafy greens including kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and broccoli contain important nutrients we all need to optimise immune function. Leafy greens are also a rich source of B group Vitamins which play key roles in energy production. This means that including at least one leafy green on the menu each day is an important step in optimising nutritional intake during the exam period.
Recipe: Banana & Ricotta Pancakes
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 banana, mashed + 1/2 for serving
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey for serving
- Mix egg, ricotta cheese, banana, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl.
- Heat a small amount of the olive oil in the frypan and in 2 tbsp. Batches, spoon mixture into the pan.
- Cook until mixture starts bubbling then flip.
- After 1-2 minutes, serve with slices of banana and a drizzle of maple syrup/honey