Smart snacking can be a great way to fuel a busy day, keeping you satisfied and energized between meals to keep your brain performing at its best. When it comes to improving brain health, not all snacks are created equal.
Choosing the right “brain-boosting” foods can help you stay sharp and focussed, decrease your risk of dementia, and improve your mental health.
Make the most of your snacks with this short list of 10 dietitian-approved “smart snacks”:
1. Trail mix: Mix together a variety of nuts, seeds, and a bit of dried fruits for a snack that’s high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Walnuts are higher in omega-3 fats if you’re looking for that extra advantage when it comes to brain health (ever notice they’re actually shaped like one?).
2. Hummus and veggies: Dip carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers in hummus for a snack that’s rich in protein to keep you fuller for longer. A mix of colourful vegetables will give you important vitamins and antioxidants your brain and body need. Try prepping this Roasted Red Pepper Hummus at the start of the week – it’s a flavourful twist on a classic recipe with extra antioxidants from the red pepper.
3. Greek yogurt with berries: Mix plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries for a snack that’s high in protein, calcium, and antioxidants. Greek yogurt with a bit of fat will help your body absorb more vitamins and minerals from the berries. Sprinkle with this Seed Granola for added omega-3 fats, protein, and fiber, or try this Frozen Yogurt Bark for a fun frozen treat.
4. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which can help improve brain function. Snack on this Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola filled with dark chocolate, dried cherries, and almonds to satisfy a sweet tooth.
5. Avocado toast: Top whole-grain toast (important for extra vitamins, minerals, and gut and brain-friendly fiber) with mashed avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of sea salt for a snack that’s rich in monounsaturated fats (good fats) and fiber. For a heartier appetite, try our Poached Eggs on Avocado Toast.
6. Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a great (and convenient) source of protein and choline, which is another nutrient important for the brain. Store them for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge for an easy grab-and-go snack. Try adding a sprinkle of Everything Bagel Seasoning for extra flavour.
7. Edamame: Soybeans are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants: and so fun to eat! The frozen microwavable bags from the grocery store are a great option to keep on hand for a quick snack. Top with a sprinkle of flakey sea salt or your favourite seasoning.
8. Nut butter and apple slices: Who doesn’t love the combo of apples and nut butter? Spread natural almond or peanut butter on apple slices for a snack that’s high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. If you need a nut-free option, try sunflower seed or another seed butter.
9. Blueberry smoothie: Blueberries contain the antioxidant anthocyanin which helps protect nerve cells from damage. Blend together frozen blueberries, Greek yogurt or protein powder, and your favourite milk for a nutrient-dense snack. Add a handful of spinach or kale for extra nutrition. For a packable snack – try these Blueberry Breakfast Cookies (perfect to enjoy any time of day).
10. Tuna and whole-grain crackers: Top whole-grain crackers with tuna mixed with a bit of mayo for a snack that’s high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Top with a slice of tomato for extra vitamin C or cucumber with brain-friendly flavonoids.
For more recipes and snackspiration – check out our snack library on Fraiche Table.