The 10 Best Brain Food Snacks for Studying
Put down the all-dressed chips, poutine, nanaimo bars and timbits – they might be delicious, but healthy study snacks are much better for your brain.
The right snacks can boost your ability to focus, make you more productive and help keep your mind sharp. Plus they won’t lead to a sugar crash followed by an emergency nap (unlike way too much ice cream).
So for all the undergraduates, postgraduates and high school students who need something to nibble on while they study – this is our roundup of the ten best healthy and affordable study snacks:
An easy-to-share infographic is located at the bottom of this post.
Almonds are a satisfying but healthy snack.
A handful can give you a quick energy boost while you study, but stick to buying the unsalted kind and adding any salt yourself at home (otherwise you’ll be eating more salt than is healthy).
And if you’re not a fan of almonds, other good options are peanuts, cashews, walnuts and pistachios.
2. Dark chocolate
This is a snack for all the chocoholics out there…
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and natural stimulants. It improves blood flow to your brain, helping you focus better. And it increases your body’s production of mood-boosting endorphins, making you happier.
Just remember, this is a snack to eat in moderation.
3. Air-popped popcorn
Popcorn isn’t just for movie theatres!
It’s easy to make popcorn yourself on the stove top, or you can use a popcorn maker if you have one. Then drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle on some salt. Or go for cinnamon and sugar, if you’re craving something sweet.
Making popcorn like this is much healthier than using microwave popcorn and it’s tastier too.
4. Fruit salad
It’s time to raid the fruit bowl.
Apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, the pineapple chunks from the back of the cupboard and that slightly bruised banana you don’t know what to do with. They’ll give your brain a boost of energy and fill your body with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Plus, you can save yourself time with this snack: make a big batch and you’ll have enough for breakfast the next morning, too.
5. Greek yogurt
This is great if you need a more substantial and filling snack (hello, all-nighter).
It’s higher in protein than regular yogurt (it contains twice as much per serving!), which will help fill you up and curb your hunger. And it’s also full of bone-building calcium and gut-friendly probiotics.
To mix up the flavour, try adding a drizzle of honey or some of your leftover fruit salad.
6. Frozen grapes
This snack needs overnight prep, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
Buy a bunch of grapes, pop them into a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer – they’ll be ready for you to snack on while you’re studying the next day.
Stick to refreshing and delicious frozen grapes while you study, and save the ice cream and popsicles for post-exam celebrations (when you don’t need to use your brain any more).
7. Veggies (and hummus)
You can snack on just veggies… but they’re better with hummus.
Hummus is high in protein, calcium and brain-boosting Omega 3 fatty acids. Which makes it the perfect partner for vitamin and fiber filled veggie sticks!
Eat your hummus with carrots, cucumber, red pepper, celery, sugar snap peas or your fingers.
8. Homemade trail mix
Pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds,dried cranberries, raisins… or any other mix of dried fruit, nuts and seeds which takes your fancy!
You can keep your trail mix in an airtight container (like a ziploc bag or a mason jar) for up to a month, so make yourself a big batch to have on hand.
It’s definitely better to make your own trail mix – the shop-bought kind is usually loaded with salt and hydrogenated oils, plus the dried fruit is coated with added sugar. And it’s overpriced, too.
9. Apples with peanut butter
This is a very very good combination of two great snacks: apples and peanut butter.
Cut your apple into slices and spread a little peanut butter onto each one. If you’re feeling fancy (or you need something to put on your Instagram) you can create adorable mini sandwiches.
Here’s something to try in your next study break : https://www.thekitchn.com/snack-recipe-apple-sandwiches-recipes-from-the-kitchn-183079
10. Crunchy roasted chickpeas
If you’re looking for a crunchy salty alternative to chips, this is it.
Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber (unlike potato chips) and surprisingly tasty when you roast them in the oven with salt and chili powder for 45-60 minutes.
You can also try making them with garlic and parmesan or honey and cinnamon.
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17 Power Snacks For Studying
Snack smart and study hard. That exam will be a piece of cake.
1. Banana Dog Bites
Here’s a reason to get excited about a classic-old combo: bananas — a darling energy-boosting carbohydrate — wrapped in wheat tortillas and peanut butter. Recipe here.
2. Mason Jar Hummus and Veggies
Mason jar fanatic or not, you can’t deny that this method syncs with gravity: It’s a mess-free way to transport your high-protein hummus and veggies in one container. Hummus recipe here.
3. Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter and Granola
You’re already carrying a backpack full of heavy books — the last thing you need is a load of bulky snacks. These sandwiches, already compact and ready to go, solve the problem. Recipe here.
4. Frozen Yogurt-Covered Blueberries
Like bite-size frozen Go-Gurt with real fruit! Just coat fresh blueberries with yogurt and freeze. Full directions here.
5. Roasted Chickpeas
Roast them in the oven for 45–60 minutes — just enough time to get through a chapter of notes — then select your seasoning, eat, and charge up for the next chapter. Recipes here.
6. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Good chocolate? Boosts energy levels. Tricking yourself into eating healthy chocolate pudding? Boosts endorphins levels. Recipe here.
7. Multigrain Flatbread Cracker Snacks
Lightly spread goat cheese on a flatbread cracker and top with almonds, dates, and a drizzle of honey. Or sprinkle feta cheese over tomato slices. Or. you have seven more options. Recipes here.
8. Blueberry Yogurt Parfait with Granola
The timeless healthy snack. Let frozen blueberries thaw in yogurt. Then top with crunchy granola. Recipe here.
9. Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip with Apples
Apples and Greek yogurt fortified with peanut butter is a power couple snack. AND you should use the apple slicer you bought but are always too lazy to pull out — because right now you need a reason to procrastinate. Recipe here.
10. Avocado Toast
One of those simple recipes with an output greater than the input. Smash some avocados on whole grain bread, drizzle with olive oil, and season. Recipe here.
11. Steamed Broccoli with Miso Peanut Butter Sauce
A NEW SIMPLE WAY TO EAT BROCCOLI? Yes. Steam and eat with a five-ingredient dip: miso, peanut butter, rice vinegar, mirin, and sesame oil. Make the sauce in bulk ahead of time and keep in the fridge. That way you get several snack/study seshes out of it and you don’t have to eat boring broccoli just because you’re under pressure. Recipe here.
The best pre-homework snacks
It’s 3 o’clock: is your child hungry, tired, and irritable? The right afterschool snacks can get them through homework time with energy and focus.
In the book Harriet the Spy, the heroine eats the same snack every single day after school: a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk. Cake and milk, every day! As a kid, this struck me as pure genius. As a mom who has seen her kid melt down between the hours of 3 and 6 pm (and who experiences her own 3 pm slump every day when there’s still work to be done), I’ve learned that some foods are better than others when it comes to getting through the afternoon with energy and focus.
Make afterschool snacks filling, nutritious — and snack-sized
If you want your child to be able to focus on homework and also eat well at dinnertime, don’t let him fill up on non-nutritious snack foods after school. “Dinner” foods like last night’s leftovers are great. So are mini grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, carrots, or eggs.
Go easy on the sugar
Sugary snacks after school give kids a short-lived burst of energy, followed by a blood sugar crash — which means they’ll be hungry, tired, and grumpy when it’s time to do their homework. Avoid candy, cookies, and soda or other sweet drinks, and even “energy” bars, which are often packed with sweeteners.
Pack in the protein
Instead, go for something high in protein (without a lot of added sugar). Some good choices are cottage cheese or plain yogurt with fruit, tuna with crackers, sliced apples with nut butter, or ham and cheese. Pair high-carb snacks like popcorn with cheese or a glass of milk to provide some protein.
Have breakfast for snack
Hard boiled eggs, a whole grain frozen waffle spread with peanut butter (sorry no syrup), or a bowl of whole grain low-sugar cereal (like O’s, plain corn flakes, or oatmeal) with milk are just as good for midday as they are in the morning.
Dip it in something healthy
Dip sliced fruit, baby carrots, cucumber sticks, crackers, and pretzels in something that adds protein and calories, like plain yogurt, hummus, bean dip, or peanut butter.
Finally, encourage drinking water. Most kids forget to drink water during the day, and a big glass of water after school can help fend off homework headaches and fatigue. If your child refuses water and begs for sweet drinks, add a little juice to their water to get your child drinking.