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).
- Nut butter (almond butter or peanut butter) and crisp apple slices or celery stalks
- Guac cups or roasted salsa with Siete Tortilla Chips or vegetables like sliced cucumber, cauliflower, and broccoli
- Hummus cups with baby carrots or sliced bell pepper
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):
- Lärabars are the OG of good snacking, and you can find them in just about every flavor imaginable. I’m partial to Mint Chip Brownie, but you do you. All Lärabars are vegan, and you can even find paleo options.
- IQ Bars are vegan AND keto-friendly, which means they’re clean, healthy, and great for keeping your brain sharp. They also contain lion’s mane, a superfood mushroom known for its positive impact on brain health.
- That’s it. bars are delicious and contain only two ingredients--talk about clean eating! They contain nothing but fruity deliciousness, and are perfect to reach for when you need a sweet, brain-boosting jumpstart.
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:
- Frozen mixed berries for fiber + antioxidants
- Pumpkin seeds and/or hemp hearts (GREAT for brain health!)
- A spoonful of local honey or maple syrup
- Almond butter
- A dollop of fruity jam
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:
- Veggies! (Some fun ones to grab: bell peppers in allll the beautiful colors, purple carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, jicama, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and cucumbers.)
- Kale chips
- Roasted seaweed
- Terra Chips (so yummy)
- Hardboiled eggs (you can make them yourself using this little guy or buy them already made; eggs contain choline, which is a vital nutrient for brain health) (
- Epic Jerky (made right here in Austin--grab the salmon varieties for powerful brain nutrients!)
- Wild Planet Sustainably-Caught Albacore Tuna
What are your favorite snacks? Share in the comments below!