As the cold winter season approaches we have limited time to focus on ourselves and to ensure that we are taking care of our bodies. Food is a key component of nurturing our brain so that it can function properly. We usually neglect our diet when we are under a lot of stress because we feel like it takes time away from what we should be focusing on. In some extreme cases, we lose our appetite altogether due to stress.
It is super important that we focus on our nutrition because it is what gives us the energy and capacity to properly allow the brain to continue with its imperative functions.In such circumstances, the question arises of what are the most beneficial chemicals that should be in the food you are consuming. Five vitamins you want to ensure you are receiving are
- Proteins: Create chemicals that help improve overall mood
- Antioxidants: Prevent aging of the brain
- Omega-3s: Help the brain work harder and can have a positive effect on mental health
- Dietary cholesterol: Used to make brain cells that transmit messages to the body
- Monounsaturated fat: Helps memory improvement
It is important to incorporate balanced foods into your meal plan because it can have benefits on your productivity. Cooking is also a great mental break that lets us focus on something else while ensuring that we are nurturing our bodies. Here are three recipes that are nutritional and simple for when you are stressed this finals season.
Shakshuka on Toast
The traditional dish, Shakusha, originated from the Maghreb region consists of poached eggs cooked in tomato sauce with peppers and spices. This version of Shakusha uses whole-grain bread and avocado to add fiber and omega-3s to your diet while adding contrasting textures for the palate. This is a simple, flavorful dish that is filling and nutritional. This dish makes many servings, which means you can have it in your fridge ready to heat up for the week while you study.
- 3 bell peppers (can be any color)
- 2 cups Tomato sauce
- ⅓ of a large white onion
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 3 eggs (can be substituted with chickpeas)
- 1 Avocado
- Whole grain bread
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- ½ cup of water
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Honey
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Crushed cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- Heat a pan with olive oil to medium heat. In the meantime, slice bell peppers into long strands, and chop the onion and garlic clove into small pieces. Once the pan is warm add chopped veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes. Once veggies are slightly browned add salt pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and honey. Mix for 2 minutes.
- Add to the pan the tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt and pepper if needed, and water and let simmer for two minutes. Crack eggs into the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the eggs are cooked, and you can add water if the sauce is too thick.
- Toast bread and slice the avocado into thin slices. Assemble the toast by putting the Shakshuka on top, garnishing it with the avocado, and enjoy!
Cheesy Broccoli Soup
A classic soup for those chilly nights in Madrid. You only need a few ingredients, most of which are probably on hand in your pantry. The unnamed cough/ cold that is going through our university right now can only be beat by this epitome of comfort food.
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 bag frozen broccoli
1 bag of shredded cheese (cheddar recommended)
2 stock cubes
2 tbsp Butter
2 cups Milk
Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil water with stock cubes and frozen broccoli.
- At the same time, melt butter and incorporate onion. Once onions are tender, mix in flour to create a paste-like consistency. Add milk and shredded cheese until well- incorporated.
- Finally, combine the water and broccoli to the soup base. Mix until incorporated. Top off with extra cheese and enjoy!
Eggplant Tomato Pasta
This is the perfect dish to fulfill a pasta craving while making sure that you are getting plenty of vitamins. This pasta leaves you feeling satisfied as it is rich with vitamins and protein. The recipe is quick and doesn’t require too much attention, so it’s perfect for a fast meal. If you are someone who needs a lot of protein you can also add grilled chicken or a meat of choice.
¼ of a large white onion
1 garlic clove
10 red cherry tomatoes
10 yellow tomatoes
½ cup of spinach
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp of oregano.
1 package of fresh mozzarella
- Heat a medium pot to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Chop your tomatoes in halves, dice the shallot, onion, and garlic, and add to the pot. Once tomatoes are cooked, crush them, and add spinach. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano.
- Heat another pot with 4 cups of water and salt. Once boiling add spaghetti and cook until andante. Reserve some pasta water.
- Chop your eggplant into large cubes and add them to the pot with a cup of water. Cover with a lid and simmer for five minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, uncover the and let cook for 5 minutes or until the eggplant can also be easily crushed. You can blend the sauce if you do
- Once pasta is cooked add to the pot that has the sauce, and add pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
- Slice the mozzarella and serve on top of the pasta
Taking care of your body will increase your chances of performing well wherever you go, so don’t put it off. If you are someone who loses appetite due to stress make sure you are paying attention to how much food you are consuming and plan it out so you have time to cook/eat. Cooking is a great way to give yourself a break and make sure you are eating. Hopefully these recipes will help you!