Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.
That 4pm slump is real, but you know what else is real? The 10am snack craving--especially now that I’m home all day, sitting at my kitchen table, literally within arms reach of my pantry.
I’ve learned the hard way that my snack game can totally tank my productivity but fortunately, there are lots of great snacks that help me sail right through those morning (and afternoon) slumps so I can be the productive and creative pro I want to be!
Snacks That Are Brain Food?
Harvard nutritionists know that the best foods for a healthy, productive brain are those that have lots of vitamins and minerals--especially omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants--as well as healthy fats. Avoiding added or refined sugar is also important, as sugar contributes to the notorious “brain fog” so many of us feel.
1. Fruit & Nut Board
Nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts are packed with heart-healthy, good-for-your brain fats and nutrients, plus they’re a delicious boost of protein. Pair them with dried or fresh fruit like dried apricots, apple slices, and berries for natural, sweet-salty deliciousness.
Want to beef up your nuts and fruit? Add a piece of dark chocolate to take things in a sweet direction, or go with a few pieces of naturally cured salami, turkey breast, or cheese for something more substantial.
2. Dip It
Dipping just makes snacking a little more satisfying, doesn’t it? Nut butters and guacamole have the kind of healthy fats that keep our blood sugar levels stable so we can stay focused and productive.
Plus, vegetables are filled with vitamin C and antioxidants--great for immunity and overall health, are packed with hydration (even moderate dehydration seriously lowers your mental performance) and contain fiber, which helps feed your gut’s microbiome (more on how that helps our brains below).
If bars are still our snacking go-tos, it’s for a good reason: they’re easy, delicious, filling, and even great for your brain health (when you choose the following):
Yogurt, you ‘ol standby. A recent study has confirmed what scientists have begun to suspect: gut health impacts your brain. The science behind it is barely understood, but what we do know is that yogurt has an extremely positive effect on gut health, and it’s full of the protein that helps your brian keep on keepin’ on.
Make sure you choose a variety that doesn’t have added sugar! Here are some great extra add-ins:
5. Ready-to-Go Snack Packs
I’ll admit, this snack category is inspired by my favorite snack box at Starbucks! I’ve found that when I prep my snacks ahead of time, I’m 100% more likely to choose something healthy over, say, potato chips. On Sundays, I just wash, cut, slice, and dole out my snacks into mason jars or small containers, so they’re ready to grab straight from the fridge.
Here are some great snacky things that will keep your brain working productively: