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Super Boost Your Teen's Brain Power
As a parent, your anxiety level rises upon hearing how poorly your teen performs in school. The latest parent-teacher consultation reflected minimal concentration in class and failing grades in most of her subjects. Additionally, the teacher noted your child's mood bounces up and down, at times leading to bouts of frustration, internally and externally.
You are questioned about her eating habits. Does she eat well before school? What types of foods are provided for breakfast? Upon reflection, you can't recall what she consumed that morning, let alone the rest of the week. Your teen is quite picky and getting her to eat some mornings is quite impossible. The teacher believes your adolescent's eating habits may be the cause of her inability to focus and maintain alert during the day. How can you change this for the better?
Your brain is the command and control center of the body. If you want a healthy body the first place to always start is by having a healthy brain.
Dr. Daniel Amen, American Psychiatrist and Self-help author.
Protein and Your Child's Brain
The old expression "you are what you eat" applies to teens and brain development. What a person eats affects how they feel, think, and act, especially at this stage of life. Providing a teen with a nutritious, healthy diet improves the brain's ability to perform at home and in school. A diet filled with empty calories, high sugar content, and processed foods has a negative effect on a child's mental and bodily functions.
The teen brain needs the proper fuel to function properly. The best energy comes from a diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, glucose and minerals. When it comes to protein, the brain uses it to communicate, strengthen hormones and enzymes. It also helps keep the mind alert via amino acids (the building blocks of protein).
Protein, along with complex carbohydrates, is vital to the adolescent brain development. Neurons in the brain make use of protein to communicate and alert the body how to react to outside stimuli. According the the World Health Organization, the most damaging habit to the brain is "no breakfast". Furnishing an adolescent at the start of his day with protein balances or stabilizes blood sugar, which helps neurotransmitters to function properly. When the blood sugar is properly balanced, the child's emotional responses to outside stimuli improves and this boosts the brain's ability to reason, resulting in positive learning experiences.
Photo Image of Protein Molecule
Time For A Morning Pick-me-up?
What's Your Favorite Food Energy Source?
Feeding The Brain
Because I tend to need protein to keep my motor running all day, I stash healthy food snacks in my purse or briefcase. When I feel myself a little low on fuel in the morning, I reach for a protein snack. Now, I don't know about you, but I find that most of the protein bars available lack flavor and have the texture of chewy rubber. And, I imagine teens have little interest in eating these treats as a source of energy.
In order to satisfy my palette, I played around with a brownie recipe until I came up with a healthy, sweet, edible protein treat that even a young adolescent would enjoy. This moist brownie-type bar has all the nutrition a body needs to jump start a morning. It is filled with healthy ingredients such as dates, coconut, peanuts, cocoa, and black beans. Believe me, the black beans are disguised within the contents — if your teen is picky about eating veggies, he or she won't notice.
On a side note, my hubby and I tried these bars after dinner the first night and discovered the energy provided in the brownie kept us up until well past midnight. Lesson learned: eat them early in the day unless you need to stay awake through the night. However, this little delicacy is just the thing your adolescent needs to keep the mind working properly throughout the day.
The Food Highlights
Vitamins, Minerals & More
Invert sugars easily absorbed and processed. Provides energy.
1 date provides 2g of fiber. Also provides niacin, magnesium, phosphorus
Contains antioxidant (flavinoids). Keeps blood pressure down and reduces blood's ability to clot. Low amounts of caffeine.
Provides iron, zinc, potassium, manganese, Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E.
The fruit is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Contains Vitamins K and C, magnesium and fiber
The flesh helps control blood sugar and lower cholesterol. It helps the body feel full.
Provides iron, potassium, and fiber.
The higest benefit is protein.
Gives the body good cholesterol, phosphorus, niacin, manganese and potassium.
Gluten free, easy to digest, low in fat.
Rich in carbohydrates, potassium, protein.
Has a light taste, lowers cardiovascular disease, provides natural energy, helps prevent asthma and arthritis
Provides folic acid, zinc, Vitamins B & E.
Black beans are low in saturated fats, high in fiber. Provides protein and aids the digestive track.
Folate, copper, iron, and Vitamin B1
Source: nutritiondata.com; livestrong.com
Rate This Recipe
Super Fruit Brownie Treat
Packing and Storing
- 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, low-sodium, rinse and drain
- 1 cup pitted dates, chop in half
- 1 cup rice flour, or whole wheat
- 1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips, dairy & glutten free
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea-salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sunflower oil, grape or safflower oil
- 1 cup raspberry preserves
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla
- 1/4 cup agave syrup, (optional: adds taste)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 X 8 inch baking pan with the sunflower oil.
- Combine black beans, dates, preserves and vanilla in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste-like consistency.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, and salt. Process in the blender.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
- Cool completely. Cut into squares. Serve.
Extra Recipe TipsClick thumbnail to view full-size
|Serving size: 1|
|Calories from Fat||99|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 11 g||17%|
|Saturated fat 7 g||35%|
|Unsaturated fat 4 g|
|Carbohydrates 30 g||10%|
|Sugar 9 g|
|Fiber 7 g||28%|
|Protein 9 g||18%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 5 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
The Proof Is In The First Bite
The information is made available with the understanding that the author is not providing medical, psychological, or nutritional counseling services in this article. The information should not be used in place of a consultation with a competent health care or nutrition professional.
The information on dietary factors and supplements, foods, and beverages contained in this article does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, and interactions. It is not intended as nutritional or medical advice for individual problems. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the contents of this article is expressly disclaimed.
© 2014 Dianna Mendez