There’s lots of conflicting evidence as to what’s good for us to eat and what’s popular one year may not be the next. However, clearly what we eat affects how alert we feel and how healthy we are. What goes into our bodies affects our brains too so choose food for your learners wisely.
Often caterers and hotels are quite open to suggestions and we’ve found some venues take it on as a badge of honour to provide appropriate food for learning.
Brains definitely need glucose so eating slow release carbohydrates is probably a really good way to do this. Sadly chocolate, though it contains a precursor of a neurotransmitter,serotonin, may not be entirely useful because the fat in it stalls the energizing effects of glucose.
Here’s an example checklist for you;
Red, orange, green, yellow peppers / broccoli, cauli florets / small (cherry / plum) tomatoes / mushrooms / celery sticks / radishes / cucumbers / carrots / beetroot / green beans
Tomato salsa / hummus / vegetable, nut, bean pates / guacamole / salmon pate / tsatsiki / cottage cheese
Wholemeal, pumpernickel, rye, organic white breads / pittas / wraps / any flat breads. Fillings: Free range egg & watercress / tofu & avocado / salmon or tuna & cucumber / turkey & cranberry / chicken & mango / grated cheeses & salad leaves
Brown or white & wild rice, peppers, sweet corn / greek salad / tuna provencale / tuna nicoise / semi-wholewheat pasta with any vegetable combination / tricolore (mozzarella / avocado / tomato) / mixed lentils / mixed beans incl. green, french, butter, chick peas, etc. / north african couscous or bulgur / mixed salad leaves incl. spinach / sprouting seeds e.g. alfalfa, cress / mackerel salad / cold roasted mediterranean vegetables / beetroot / waldorf / tabbouleh
Dressings: Olive oil / balsamic, wine, cider vinegars / light mayo / tamari (all served separately) / mixed fresh herbs
Vegetables / finger food (hot & cold)
Root vegetable (incl. sweet potato) wedges / stuffed peppers, mushrooms, marrow, aubergine, vine leaves / fish platters / fish & vegetable sushi / rollmop herrings / chicken drumsticks (grilled, roasted) / roulades / falafel / crostini / cheeses incl. goats & sheep / wholewheat quiches
Desserts / snacks
Fresh fruit – as many colours as you like / fresh fruit salad / natural yogurt / carrot cake / walnut cake / flapjacks or oat-based / blueberry muffins / mixed dried fruits (preferably not sulphur-dried) / fresh unsalted unroasted nuts (avoid peanuts) / pumpkin & sunflower seeds / wholegrain or low sugar biscuits / cereal, nut, seed, fruit bars / dates / root vegetable crisps
Chilled water (from dispensers or jugs) / otherwise, bottled water with ice / all fruit juices with minimum sugar and sweeteners / cordials e.g. blackcurrant, elderflower / ‘health’ drinks such as Ame, Aqua Libra / fresh coffee, tea, herbal teas / hot water with lemon / semi-skimmed or alternative (rice, soy, oat) milks
For more ideas like this, come along to How to be a Brain Friendly Trainer