What are the Best Foods to Feed Your Brain?
If you’re hungry for knowledge, then you are constantly researching and reading to get the information you crave. But you can help feed that hunger by eating the right brain foods. We all know about foods we should or shouldn’t eat if we want to stay fit and healthy. But did you know there are also certain products which help to boost your brain power?
When studying a language, you’ll want to stay alert so the information sticks in your head and so you can concentrate better. There’s nothing worse than feeling that your grey matter is like a sieve where information goes in but falls straight out again. We want that information to stick so that you are quickly conversing on holiday or your new life abroad.
Basically, you need to:
- get your five fruit and vegetables a day,
- avoid sugar,
- drink lots of water and
- make sure your meal is made up of many different colours.
You need to get at least seven hours’ sleep every night, eat well and live well if you want to be on top of your game.
To help you, here are some of the best foods to feed you brain, boost your memory and with a few ideas how to cook them:
1 egg / 1 huevo
Scramble eggs not your brain
One top tip is to go to work on an egg. Having an egg for breakfast is a healthy way to start the day as long as you don’t fry it. Either have a glass of milk or a milky hot chocolate or coffee with it because both are high in protein which boosts your brain power. Eggs are also rich in vitamins B6 and B12 to improve concentration and memory. You could try using free-range or organic eggs to make a quick omelette. Simply grease a frying pan, put in your beaten eggs, cook, add cheese or chopped herbs such as parsley or chives, fold your omelette and serve. Another favourite is scrambled eggs, or huevos revueltos as they are called in Spain. Again, beat the eggs – you can add milk if you wish – and cook in a small, greased pan. Stir the eggs so they scramble. You can add anything you wish such as tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, or a little chilli if you want to spice it up a little.
Put fish on your dish
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fats in the form of EPA (essential fatty acids) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) so include salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, herrings, sardines, pilchards and kippers in your diet. Low DHA levels have reportedly been linked to an increased risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory loss. You could have a grilled kipper for breakfast or try tinned sardines in tomato sauce on toast for a snack, if you aren’t too keen on oily fish. Otherwise, just grill or pan-fry your fish and serve with salad or new potatoes and greens, especially spinach or broccoli to get even more brainy food inside you.
In Mediterranean countries fish cooked in vinegar or citrus juice with paprika or saffron is a popular and tasty way to eat fish. It’s called ‘escabeche’ and you can find it in restaurants or canned fish such as mackerel, tuna and sardines.
For non-fish eaters, we would suggest flaxseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, linseed and chia or take an omega-3 supplement.
Popeye knows best
Spinach doesn’t just give you muscles, it also boosts your brain-power. Dark-coloured vegetables like spinach, broccoli and beans are great for learning, concentration and memory. You can add them to stir-frys or they make great, warming soups.
Broad beans, which are found in abundance in Spain and the UK, are packed with nutrients including fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus and folate. A lack of iron can lead to low productivity, poor memory and apathy so it’s advisable to tuck into broad beans. Habas con jamon (broad beans with ham) is a tasty tapas or side dish. Fry up chopped onion, add ham and garlic. Once the ham starts to brown, add the beans and a glass of white wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then add a large glass of vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes. This is lovely reheated the following day so you can make extra.
Sage can be used as an essential oil or sprinkle some fresh sage to your savoury dishes. Just add it to the end of your cooking to protect the oils it contains. Sage, which means wise, improves memory and concentration. It has a strong flavour, so don’t go overboard. Sage and onion stuffing goes well with poultry such as turkey or chicken or you can add sage butter to gnocchi, pasta or fish. Otherwise freeze chopped sage in ice cubes for summer drinks, such as Pimms or sangria, or make sage tea.
Snack to it
If your energy levels are flagging, top snacking fruits to tuck into are apples, bananas, avocados and berries, especially blueberries. Nuts and seeds are great to munch on too as they are rich in different nutrients. You can wash it down with a cup of coffee as the Italian Longitudinal Study on Ageing found people who regularly drink one cup of coffee a day were in better mental shape than those with more erratic coffee habits.
What good food habits do you have to share with us? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Get your kids in the kitchen and watch them grow!
It’s time to get your kids in the kitchen!
Young children love to copy what other people are doing. They gain great pleasure out of helping their parents wash the car, tidy up or even put the shopping away. A positive way to put this curiosity to good use and satisfy their inquisitive minds is by teaching them a new language whilst performing theses activities.
Get your kids in the kitchen and they can bake cakes, make pasta or play with pastry dough while you feed their mind with new words.
By having fun getting messy in the kitchen, they won’t actually realise they are being taught a new language.
Learning a language often means learning by rote and repetition, as words and phrases need to be repeated to be remembered. But repetition does not have to be boring. Making the experience fun helps to keep young learners curious and keen to carry on.
[bctt tweet=”Repetition need not be boring! Make it fun and watch them learn #languagelearning” username=”cooklanguage”]
Children are sponges. They are easily excitable. When they are excited and interested in something they absorb more. They learn without realising.
No matter what age your child is, they can have fun learning languages through cooking or simply playing with food.
Children use all of their senses while cooking. By helping them learn to cook and to know about food, you help them to be more comfortable with different foods and can even make them healthier eaters.
Pressuring young children to eat vegetables at the dinner table is known to be counterproductive – it actually increases resistance to healthy foods.
Download FREE materials and great gifts …
In a nutshell, kids like what they know and they eat what they like. So, making food and cooking fun has many benefits.
In addition to using food and cooking for learning languages, you can use them to help with:
- Improving motor skills in younger children: start with soft foods that they can add/mix/grate/cut with plastic scissors or child-friendly knives …
- Mathematical skills: from number recognition, basic sums, to learning weights and measures,
- Reading and comprehension: encourage your child to read the recipe to you, ask them questions that spark their imagination eg. How do they think the food will look? Taste? smell?
- Telling the time and measuring time
- Boosting vocabulary: ingredients, using descriptive words to describe how food looks, smells and sounds while it’s cooking,
Children, of all ages, have fun while using all five senses which is why cooking is so entertaining. First, they’ll be using their eyes to find ingredients and read the recipe. Then they will be touching the food as they chop it or mix it. After that comes the sound of the cooking as the food sizzles, bubbles or makes a popping noise. This gives off the lovely smells which help to get the mouth watering as they finally get to taste their delicious dishes.
As well as new words, you can introduce some simple maths while you cook. Your children can weigh out ingredients on the scales or use measurements such as litres and grams. If rolling out pastry or pasta, they’ll need a ruler to measure the length too. They’ll be learning to tell the time as they stir the pot for two minutes or bake a cake for 40 minutes, for example.
Then there are the words they will use. It’s not just learning about ingredients but they will be boosting their vocabulary with new verbs such as basting, boiling, rolling or roasting; and adding adjectives like bitter, sweet, delicious, juicy, salty, smooth or lumpy. You can encourage them to communicate by asking them how the food feels or to describe how it tastes.
By getting children involved in the cooking process, it’s a sneaky way to get them to try new things. If they’ve cooked it, they’ll want to try it so think about introducing different ingredients or spices as you go along. Hopefully, this will encourage them to be more experimental with flavours. Most children go through a fussy eating stage but getting them to help prepare the family meals can be one way to get them to taste new foods. They’ll feel proud and excited at helping and should be more likely to eat something they’ve helped to make, especially if you say how yummy it looks.
To sum up, children can learn new words, a new language, simple maths, the time and communication skills by helping prepare a meal. Bearing that in mind, we think cooking with children is a fun way to teach while you also get a little helper in the kitchen. Now, we just have to persuade them that washing up is a great game to play too!
Try these simple activities, in your target language, for starters…
(These ideas can be adapted to whatever language you are introducing.)
- Using your fruit bowl …
- Can you name the fruits in your bowl?
- What colour are they?
- How many are there?
- What do they smell like?
- What do they feel like?
- Open your cutlery drawer …
- Can you name each utensil?
- How many are there of each item?
- What is each item used for?
- Create stickies (and if you are artistic, add drawings too) of Kitchen items …
- E.g. fridge, freezer, sink, cupboard, drawer, tea towel, dishcloth …
4. Play the “hot/cold” game …
- The idea is that your child has to guess which word (in the target languages) is the correct name for the items in your kitchen. As they get closer to the item, you say “hotter” (in your target language) and as the move further away you say “colder” (in your target language)
5. Use out Activity Cookbook
- If your target language is Spanish or English, choose one of the recipes from our Activity Cookbook and work together with your child.
- Before you start cooking:
- Look at the ingredients, practice the words together (listen to the audio on our website for help)
- Make a shopping list together, for the required ingredients
- Visit the supermarket and purchase the ingredients, with your child, repeating the words and quantities as shown in our book
- When you are ready to cook:
- Tell your child (in the target language) what they need to get ready, item by item (using the book for reference)
- From the fridge, we need …..
- From the cupboard, we need …
- Follow the instructions, step by step and make the simple and scrummy recipes.
- Practice phrases and expressions to say what you love, like, don’t like …
There are so many ways how children learn a language in the kitchen, these are just a few simple ideas. We have many more to share with you!
Introducing Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge! Designed to get Kids in the Kitchen and Learning New Languages!
We have a simple and scrummy recipe to share with you. It is really easy to follow.
This is one of the recipes in our Activity Cookbook that we funded thanks to YOU on Crowdfunder.
125gr plain flour
Your favourite fillings: sugar, lemon, Nutella, fresh fruit, honey…
How to make the pancakes …
- Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
- Make a hole in the centre of the flour and add the egg and some milk.
- Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth liquid.
- Add the remaining milk and whisk again.
How to cook the pancakes…
- Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.
- Remove the excess oil before adding the pancake mix.
- Add a large spoon of mix to the frying pan and spread it over the base (the easiest way is to rotate the frying pan slowly).
- As the pancake sets, loosen it with a spatula and flip over (use a plate if you are not confident flipping).
Arthur’s Perfect Pancake Tips:
- For skinny French style pancakes, make sure your mixture is nice and runny.ie. add lots of the milk
- For fatter American style pancakes, use less milk to make a thicker mixture.
- BEFORE entering the Pancake Challenge, experiment with the mixture to get your best pancake.
- Loosen the pancake with a spatula before flipping.
- HAVE FUN!!!!
How Do You Enter Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge?
- Once you have perfected the art of making simple and scrummy pancakes, you need to practice flipping them.
- For the challenge, you can flip your pancakes wherever you like … in the kitchen, in your garden, on the beach, in the snow … let your imagination run wild!
- When you are ready, ask somebody to video you flipping your pancake, as many times as you can.
- At the start of your video, tell us your name, age and where you are from.
- Count out loud, in whatever language you can speak, whilst flipping your pancakes.
- Post your video to our Cooking with Languages Facebook Page (Pop over to the page and see the wonderful video Bodhi and Himani sent to us!)
What other ideas do you have for using food and cooking for introducing new languages?
We’d love to share your ideas on our Facebook page and here on our website.
There are many reasons why learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success …
Cooking is very fashionable at the moment with millions glued to the television to watch shows like MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off and Hell’s Kitchen with the straight-talking Gordon Ramsay. Celebrity chefs are also making waves in the kitchen with the effervescent Jamie Oliver changing the way we view food and the lovable Hairy Bikers making great dishes with local produce. So it makes perfect sense to use this tremendous interest in food to help people learn a new language. They can do something they enjoy while learning new words in a fun and creative way.
It is something that all ages can try – from tiny tots helping to make cakes or biscuits through to older people who fancy cooking something different while practising a new language, such as Spanish. You can join classes or go it alone through books or apps. For instance, if you’re learning Spanish you could find a recipe in the original language for a traditional dish like paella, gazpacho or rabo de toro (oxtail stew) and follow it. You will learn a lot of vocabulary such as ingredients, verbs and different verb tenses.
[bctt tweet=” Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success! #bilingualbooks ” username=”cooklanguage”]
Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success on so many different levels. The most important being that you get to cook and taste a gorgeous meal, so that’s an incentive in itself. It also uses all five senses:
Sight: Reading the recipe, looking at all the gorgeous ingredients and watching your food take shape
Smell: Wonderful aromas of individual ingredients plus those sensational cooking smells as you prepare your food
Sound: The noise of food as you chop and cook whether it is sizzling in a pan or gently bubbling away.
Touch: The different shape and texture of your food – kneading dough, or getting stuck into making cakes or pasta.
Taste: The best bit! Trying your food as you go along and then sharing your finished dish with family or friends.
Download FREE materials and great gifts …
Learning languages through cooking has so many advantages.
First of all, reading through the recipe, looking up words you don’t understand and trying to commit them all to memory. Then, not only are you reading new articles, but you are understanding what you are reading. If you are a newbie in the kitchen, it might mean you find out what blanching, clarifying, deglazing or searing mean. It’s a crafty way of making sure you understand what you have just read because you can’t wing it when you’re cooking. If you don’t know your meuniere from your marinate, you could be in trouble!
For younger people following a recipe helps you to follow instructions. You need to go through the recipe step by step so your food turns out as it should. Obviously, this is another useful tool to master because there are so many situations in life when you have to follow the rules.
Finally, you should be having fun while you learn. You’re adding to your vocabulary, increasing understanding while learning more about the culture and history behind the language through gastronomy.
If that isn’t enough to get you cooking up a storm in the kitchen while learning a new language, Newcastle University also uses this method of learning. French language students have been taught through cooking. They have instructions on the computer to guide them along with motion sensor technology integrated into the cooking utensils and other equipment which are linked to the computer so it can be clearly seen if the student is understanding the instructions properly.
We firmly believe the best way to learn something is by doing it for yourself. By cooking and learning about foods, you will learn more about a country while those new words sink in.
Help us to bring the love of food and cooking into more households and classrooms!
Let’s have a look at some Fun Food Phrases from around the world!
From angels tiddling on your tongue to sliding on a prawn sandwich, food has played a starring role in sayings around the world. No celebration is complete without food, so let’s play tribute to the wonderful way our cuisine helps to shape our culture and literature.
From the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland to the romantic film “Chocolat”, food has stirred the emotions from comic moments to sheer horror .(Can anyone hear the words liver and Chianti in the same sentence without conjuring up images of Hannibal Lecter?).
So it’s no wonder that food also features heavily in phrases and sayings around the world. We’ve heard some strange ones in our time and we’ve picked our top 10.
Here Are Our Top Ten Fun Food Phrases Which Get Lost In Translation
Saying it like it is
In France they say ‘les carottes sont cuites’ meaning ‘the carrots are cooked’. It’s a curious way of telling people to move on. What’s done is done, it cannot be changed so accept it. In English, we would say ‘there’s no use crying over spilt milk’ to indicate you can’t undo what’s happened.
‘Att glida in på en räkmacka’ is Swedish for ‘to slide on a prawn sandwich’. It refers to someone who’s lived on Easy Street making money and rewards without having to work for it. It reminds us of when former Manchester United captain Roy Keane hit out at the prawn sandwich brigade who turn up to football matches to sit in the corporate boxes, enjoy the hospitality but not get behind the team.
Food is often used to describe being in a crowded place – jam-packed or to be packed like sardines which are tightly squashed into those little tins. The Japanese turn to tubers to describe the sensation by saying ‘Imo wo arau y?’ – ‘like washing potatoes’.
The Spanish shrug
‘Me importa un pepino’ literally translates as ‘a cucumber is important to me’ but what someone actually means is ‘I couldn’t care less’. It’s similar to the English saying ‘I don’t give a fig’. We suggest when you try this in Spain, you shrug your shoulders for extra emphasis.
Landing butter side up
In Poland, they like their sayings short and sweet. ‘Bulka z maslem’ means ‘bread and butter’ and signifies easy work or a walk in the park as we’d say in Britain. I suppose it’s as easy as spreading butter on your bread.
If someone is not seeing what is plainly in front of them, they’re said to have tomatoes on their eyes in Germany – Tomaten auf den Augen haben. It means you’re not aware of a situation or paying attention.
It gets wurst!
Even stranger is the German saying, ‘alles hat ein ende, nur die wurst hat zwei’ – ‘everything has an end; only a sausage has two”. This is an old saying which became even more famous through a song by German musician Stephan Remmler in 1986. It means everything comes to an end (except the sausage of course).
[bctt tweet=”Check out these Really Funy Food Phrases Lost in Translation #languagelearning ” username=”cooklanguage”]
‘Iets voor een appel en een ei kopen’ translates from the Dutch as ‘buy something for an apple and egg’ to imply you’ve bagged yourself a bargain and bought cheaply.
Even more expressive is the Dutch phrase ‘alsof er een engeltje over je tong piest’ – as if an angel wees on your tongue. It’s a delightful way of saying the food tastes divine. We think this is a naughty but nice way to describe the sensation of eating quality food.
You would expect the Italians to have plenty of sayings referring to food – and you’d be right. A common saying is ‘in mezzo come il prezzemolo’ meaning ‘to be in the middle of everything, like parsley’. You would use it to describe someone who is always meddling or in the way. Parsley is sprinkled liberally over many dishes and is the top garnish in many restaurants, therefore it makes perfect sense to use this herb as a metaphor in this manner.
Learning about different countries, cultures and customs is a really fun way to help us learn languages.
What other fun food phrases do you know? Please share them with us!
THANK YOU for bringing our fun language learning project to life by supporting our Crowdfunder campaign. !!!
Download FREE materials and great gifts …
“How do you say “la huerta” in English?
No lo se.
You don’t know?
No. ¿No sabes tú?
No. I don’t know either.
Entonces, ven conmigo. Vamos a la huerta.
Good idea! Let’s go to La Huerta”
Our bilingual book … Coming soon!
This is an extract from a book that I am currently writing. It is a book that I am really excited about.
With our Cooking With Languages family project, not only are we helping children to learn languages, we will also be encouraging to learn about growing their own food and cooking it too.
Today, I want to give you a gentle reminder that, when learning a language, you do not need to try to learn and translate everything you hear or read. Aim for general comprehension and the rest will follow over time.
Admittedly, some expressions can easily be translated word for word and then reproduced in the target language, but it is often not the case. If you get into the habit of asking your children what every word means, you may inadvertently lead them to believe that this is important.
For example, a classic word for word translation in German:
Mein name ist Klaus = My name is Klaus.
However, a classic basic phrase in French, that is not as it literally translates:
Qu’est-ce que c’est? = What is is that it is? = What’s that?
When we are learning a language, we can gain ground by learning the meanings of expressions and phrases rather than breaking them down and translating them as individual words.
[bctt tweet=”Is La Huerta a non-translatable word? Or, is it simply a word with several translations?”]
Remember this when you are teaching your children. Encourage them to understand expressions and phrases as well as individual words.
Oh, and if you want to know what “la huerta” is, simply click here to … Keep updated with exciting developments and new ideas!