Three brain-boosting recipes for better school days

Try these nutrient-packed recipes that improve children's mental focus

Time Out Shanghai Family teams up with chefs from Sproutworks, Egg and Lizzy's All Natural to break down three easy to make dishes that make use of super foods and other brain-boosting nutrients, to further improve kids' focus and productivity at school. 


By Camden Hauge, founder and head chef at Egg

‘The combination of brain-fueling oily fish, good cholesterol packed egg, and healing turmeric makes this cosy comfort classic a secret super food!’ 



• 2 tbsp vegetable oil 

• 1 large onion, finely chopped 

• 1 tsp ground coriander 

• 1 tsp ground turmeric 

• 2 tsp curry powder 

• 300g long grain rice, eg basmati, rinsed under cold water 

• 300g smoked oily fish fillet, eg haddock 

• 300ml whole milk or cream 

• 2 bay leaves 

• 4 eggs 

• 1 handful chopped parsley and/or coriander




1 Heat oil in a large, covered pan. Add the onion and gently fry for 5 minutes until soft and clear. Add spices, season with salt, then continue to fry until the mixture starts to brown and smell fragrant; this should take around three minutes. 

2 Stir rice into a large, heatproof pot. Stir in 600ml water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Take the rice off the heat and leave it to cool for 10-15 minutes. Be sure not to lift the lid to check on the rice until after 10 minutes!  



If uncooked, poach the fish in milk with bay leaves for around 10 minutes or until fish flakes. 



Poach eggs in boiling water with a swirl of vinegar until yolk is to desired consistency. 



Gently mix the fish and most of the herbs into the rice in the pan. Finish with a glug of whole milk or cream or a knob of butter for richness. Spoon into bowls and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and the remaining herbs.


Kale, cranberry, almond and Parmesan cheese salad

Kale, cranberry, almond and Parmesan cheese salad

By Leo Yao, head chef at Sproutworks 

‘Not all kids love kale – in fact, many hate it. But by adding in dried cranberries, you give this dish a candy-like flavour, which children won’t be able to resist. With this vegetable everywhere these days, many parents are already aware of the benefits of kale. Just one cup provides recipes with a high dose of vitamin C and K, potassium, calcium, dietary fiber, and folate, which is key for brain development. Kale also has extremely high amounts of brain-protecting antioxidants like betacarotene, avonoids and polyphenols.’


• 300g kale 

• 100g slivered toasted almonds 

• 100g dried cranberries 

• 50g shredded Parmesan cheese 

• 100g breadcrumbs 

• 30ml apple cider vinegar

• 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice 

• 90ml extra-virgin olive oil 

• 10g garlic 

• 1 and a half tsp honey 

• 1 1⁄2 tsp salt 

• Pinch of pepper for taste 


 1 Remove the tough inner ribs of the kale. Slice what’s left into ribbons and place in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, Parmesan cheese, almonds and breadcrumbs to the mixture. Toss to combine. 

 2 In a food processor, blend the garlic until it’s minced. Now add the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper and process until combined. Add more seasoning ingredients, if desired. Pour the dressing onto the kale and mix it in with your hands or toss using spoons. Keep mixing for about one minute to ensure all ingredients are coated perfectly. 

 3 Garnish the salad with the remaining breadcrumbs, almonds and Parmesan cheese when you are ready to serve.

Creamy greens smoothie

Creamy greens smoothie

By Elizabeth Schieffelin, founder of Lizzy’s All Natural 

‘Almonds are great for the heart and brain and with good fat fibre and protein, avocados contain some of the best brain boosting fats.The dates in this recipe are also high in fibre and help regulate blood sugar. While banana is used as the sweetener, this recipe is overall low in sugar for kids.’ 


• 3⁄4 cups almond milk 

• 1⁄4 medium avocado 

• 1 medium bunch of kale 

• 1 banana 

• 1 medjool date 

• 1⁄2 cup ice 


1 Soak the date in water for 10-20 minutes 

2 Pour in the almond milk then add the kale. Blend for 30 seconds. 

3 Add in the pitted, soaked date and then the avocado and banana. Blend for 45 seconds. 

4 Add in the ice, processing for 20 seconds before serving. 

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