Brain Food: 5 Essential Brain-Boosting Recipes

The foods kids eat impacts the way that their brains function. When kids eat healthy, they are calmer, less irritable, and more able to focus. Healthy eating promotes stronger mental health. 

Understanding kids’ relationship with food and its tie to their mental health helps determine which foods can accommodate a kid’s healthy lifestyle and can promote mental health. Helping kids develop healthy eating habits, teaching them to avoid trigger foods, to exercise self-determination in food choices, and to understand the socio-emotional role of food. 

GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection is teaming with Max Pact Health to offer you five suggestions for healthy meals and snacks that support maximizing brain functionality and mental health. 

  1. One Pot Taco Pasta, 2 servings, 40 minutes prep time


1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

5 ⅓ oz extra lean ground beef

1 ⅓ stalks of green onion finely chopped

⅓ tsp cumin – ground

⅓ tsp chili powder

⅙ tsp sea salt

⅓ tomato, large, diced

2 ⅔ tbsp frozen corn

2 ⅔ tbsp black beans, cooked from the can

⅓ red bell pepper, diced

¾ cup chicken broth

⅓ cup salsa

⅔ cup brown rice pasta shells, dry, uncooked


Heat oil in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks. Once it is cooked through and no longer pink, drain any excess drippings.

Add onions and garlic to the pan with the beef and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add cumin, chili powder, salt, diced tomato, corn, black beans and bell pepper to the pot and stir to incorporate with the meat. Cook the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the broth, salsa and pasta. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked through and tender. Stir every 3 to 4 minutes as it cooks, to ensure the pasta isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat, divide into bowls and serve immediately. Enjoy!

One serving equals approximately 1 1/2 cups.

Use ground chicken or turkey instead.

Swap the ground meat out for cooked lentils.

Grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, fresh lime, cilantro or extra

Stir in a chopped jalapeno and a pinch of cayenne with the other vegetables and spices.

Use any other type of pasta or pasta shell instead like whole wheat penne or chickpea fusilli.

  1. Honey Chili Meatballs, 2 servings, 30 minutes prep time


8 oz. Extra Lean Ground Chicken Yellow Onion (medium, chopped)

¼ yellow onion, medium, chopped

1 garlic clove,  minced) 

½ egg

½ tsp sea salt (divided) 

⅛ tsp black pepper

 1 tbsp coconut oil 

¼ cup chicken broth

 2 ½ tsp tomato paste 

2 tbsp raw honey

1 ½ apple cider vinegar 

¾ tsp chili powder

⅛ tsp paprika

⅛ tsp ground mustard


Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC)

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, garlic, egg, half the salt, and black pepper. Form mixture into meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Melt coconut oil in a large oven-safe pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth, tomato paste, honey, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, paprika, ground mustard and remaining salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Remove meatballs from the oven. Evenly coat meatballs with sauce and divide into bowls. Top with chopped green onions (optional). Enjoy!

Refrigerate in an air-tight container up to 3 days or freeze up to 2-4 months (cooked or uncooked).

Add formed meatballs with sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  

Serve them with Brown rice pasta, quinoa, couscous, rice or rye bread to make it a

meal. Or serve them alone as an appetizer

A 4-serving recipe yields about 16 meatballs. This can be stretched to 8 servings if using as an appetizer.

  1. Herbed Chicken Tenders with Honey Dijon, 2 servings, 40 minutes prep time


8 oz. chicken breast (skinless, boneless, sliced into strips)

1 tbsp avocado oil (divided) 

¼ cup oats (quick)

1 ½  tsp Italian Seasoning 

¼ tsp sea salt

3 Carrot (medium, peeled and sliced into fries)

2 tbsp Dijon Mustard 

1 ½ raw honey


Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush chicken strips with half of the avocado oil.

Combine the oats, Italian seasoning, and sea salt and spread over a small plate. Press both sides of the chicken strips into the oat/spice mixture to coat, then lay on baking sheet.

Toss the carrot sticks in remaining avocado oil. Spread across the other baking sheet.

Place both pans in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken and tossing the carrot fries halfway through.

Meanwhile, combine the Dijon and raw honey in a small bowl to make the sauce. Mix well and set aside.

To serve, divide the chicken tenders and carrot fries between plates and serve with honey Dijon dipping sauce. Enjoy!

 Vegan/Vegetarian Option: Use tofu strips instead of chicken.

Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  1. Hummus Dippers, 4 servings, 15 minute prep time


1 yellow bell pepper 

1 carrot

4 stalks of celery  

1 cup hummus


Slice your pepper, carrot and celery into sticks.

Line up one small mason jar per serving (we like to use size 250 ml). Fill the bottom of each with 1/4 cup hummus. Then place the veggie sticks into the hummus so that they are standing vertically. Seal the jar and place in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy!

  1. Deli Snack Box


¾ cup pumpkin seeds

5 ¼ oz whole grain crackers

1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes

2 ⅔ cups cheddar cheese, cubed

10 ½ oz sliced turkey breast

3 hard boiled eggs


Place pumpkin seeds in a small container, and wrap the turkey slices into rolls. Assemble all ingredients into a storage container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Feeding your kids’ minds, not just their bodies, will help them to become confident, productive students. Teaming with GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection and  Max Pact Health, your kids will maximize their intellectual, physical, and socio-emotional potential.


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