You’ve heard the saying – you are what you eat. If this were possible, it’d never have been more likely than when I discovered fro-yo and lived off of it for a week. As I am not bearing any traces of being a delicious dairy product dessert, we must admit the old saying isn’t true.
What is true – brain function is linked to nutrition. My case study on the effects of poor nutrition? Honey Boo Boo and Go Go Juice. ‘Nuff said.
You probably already know of this correlation. The real question then becomes how to get the nutrients your brain needs on a schedule so busy you barely have time to think about your thinking. Picmonic to the rescue with 4 med school food hacks!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not eating breakfast is like starting your car on E, with the promise of filling the tank later. You wouldn’t get very far, right? So how do you eat breakfast without robbing yourself of precious sleep?
- Combine daily smoothie ingredients into Ziplock bags and store them in the freezer. In the morning, toss one baggie’s contents into your Magic Bullet or off-brand one-serving blender, blend for 20 seconds and rush off, breakfast in hand. Excellent ingredients include sliced bananas and other fruit, spinach, protein powder, peanut butter powder, plain yogurt and mixers such as almond milk, Rice Dream or water.
- You can cook eggs in a microwave. In fact, you can prepare them many different ways. Saves you the hassle of standing over them in the pan. And the best news? You can eat them out of the dish you prepared them in. Let’s be honest, nobody likes cleaning the egg skillet and spatula!
- Grab a breakfast bar. While we don’t recommend eating processed foods every morning, in this case, something is better than nothing. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own bars!
Trade Chips for This.
Commonly referred to as the chips of the fruit world, once you pop a carton of blueberries, you often can’t stop. We’re okay with this gluttonous approach to these small antioxidant-rich berries. Research shows compounds in blueberries called polyphenols are like Match.com for neurons; they get lonely neurons talking to one another and may even enable the brain to grown new neurons.
- If you have time to eat a bag of Cheetos, you have time for a serving of blueberries. Or throw frozen blueberries into a blender for a delicious, nutritious smoothie.
Not a Crock.
This ain’t yo Grandma’s kitchen, but we’re about to suggest you borrow from her recipe book. Picture this: 10 minutes prep time before bed includes chucking a bunch of ingredients into a crock pot, then you wake up from your customary 6 hours of sleep to find a week’s worth of meals awaiting you. Is it kitchen faeries? No, but it’ll feel magic when you feast on healthy, home cooked meals for a week for the same labor it’d have taken you to stack a towering Lunchable sandwich. (Note: If you’re still eating lunchables, see us after class.)
- Our favorite recipes are here.
Don’t cut the fat.
The brain is the fattiest organ of the body. Thus, it needs healthy fats to thrive. Load up…
- One healthy fat comes in bitesize morsels perfect for on-the-go munching: Almonds. A small handful is your daily serving size (about 7-10 almonds).
- Other polyunsaturated (healthy) fats are found in fatty fish (such as salmon), avocadoes and seeds. Feel the benefits of these omega-3 and omega-6 powerhouses.
- My favorite way to get my seeds for the day and satisfy my carb cravings is Dave’s Killer Bread, also high in omega-3. You don’t know it yet, but I’ve just changed your world.
About the author: Jenna Lee Dillon writes about the topics that interest her most: food, women’s health, food, how to be a Super Brain Hero, food, travel, books and food. She was once called a Grammar Nerd and thought it was a compliment.